2.14 Inhibited

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Yellow Thomas smelled terrible, and he longed for a bath, but the Upward Governess blocked his way to the exit. May I leave? he thought.

I would be pleased if you dine with Me, she thought. I have a gift for you, which I designed. She wagged her fingers in a command gesture.

An alien slave came forward, pushing an empty hoverchair. Embossed starbursts overlapped along its sleek curves. This chair was fit for his size, more ergonomic than most of the chairs and vehicles he'd seen. Yellow Thomas sent her a formal acknowledgement of gratitude. He hadn't expected a gift, and it pleased him.

A high value (rare) (precious) gift, nearby Torth silently chorused.

More than a Yellow Rank deserves.

A uniquely designed hoverchair.

The Upward Governess gestured for a hulking bodyguard, one of the thorny nussians, to transfer Yellow Thomas to his new hoverchair.

You are already learning to stop using platitudes, she thought with approval, while slaves adjusted cushions and prepared his new hoverchair. "Please" and "thank you" are pointless slave concepts.

Ah. Yellow Thomas settled into his new seat. He usually needed hours to adjust to a new chair, but this one adjusted to his malformed body. A toggle button caused the hoverchair to float higher or lower.

He cautiously ascended into the Megacosm again, curious to learn how levitation was possible.

Thousands of Torth explored his mind, eager to fill him in. They inundated him with images of the gyroscopic magnet that supported his hoverchair. A flexible metamaterial encased the magnet, focusing the planet's magnetic field.

You can leap into the minds of the foremost experts on hover technology whenever you wish, the Upward Governess thought. But your hunger is uncouth (slave-like).

A troupe of slaves came forth, bearing platters of food. Thomas's stomach growled, and some slaves looked startled at the noise.

You ought to ease into using the Megacosm, the Upward Governess suggested. She accepted a platter of something that looked like sausages, and bit into a juicy meat roll. Have you learned the layout of My city yet?

Yellow Thomas wondered if he could find a map inside the Megacosm. As soon as he wondered about it, millions of blueprints compiled in his head. Within seconds, he knew every part of the city: every spire, every garden, every indoor street, every construction site, every inch of the labyrinthine slave quarters, even the ventilation ducts and garbage chutes. Every inch of the place fit together with intricate efficiency.

Our greatest engineer designed all of it, multitudes of minds chorused.

Torth would not make jokes, but surely they couldn't be referring to the Upward Governess. She looked like she was barely thirteen or fourteen years old.

I had this city constructed five years ago. She sent a memory of slaves laboring to build stone skyscrapers.

Yellow Thomas stared as she chowed down on sausages. Other Torth filled him in, implying that the individual known as the Upward Governess was exceptional even for a super-genius.

Like all Torth, she had been born without rank or status and reared on a baby farm. At an age equivalent to six Earth years, she'd engineered a new metamaterial that revolutionized orbital docking stations. Due to the fact that she suffered from a fatal mutation, her estimated lifespan was greatly reduced. Due to her potential for improving the Torth Empire, she was offered the Adulthood Exam at an extremely young age.

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