Part 42 Chapter 28-Kold Creek

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"Missy?" Tyee 's voice pulled me back into my aching human body.

I opened my eyes to peer out of blankets and misery.

He came toward me carrying Wulfie and dressed in Fennako green, a pacing wolf or maybe an eagle: long and lean, eyes golden, a flash of restrained strength.

The Fenrian network sparkled with joy. Happiness blazing from nexus to nexus. Here was our king.

Clutching his hand I pulled him into bed beside me. My face pressed into his life vest. He smelled of sweat, sea brine, and rich organic mud.

I was again aware of myself as a sphere cradled in my consciousness, both holding and held, this time with Tyee included in the embrace, as was right. Folded together we were Fenria, a layering of Danna and Poseidon: ionosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and the churning layers of magma below.

Fenria opened herself to him, allowing his consciousness to engulf her, but he didn't merge, couldn't merge.

My hands were behind his head, touching the scars of his damaged neural interface. I cried for our loss. I cried, but Fenria did not. She infused me with comfort. His damaged neuro was right, just the way it should be. She recalled for me years of waiting, of analysis, of planning for our next king. We'd sent Shewolf as our agent to bring king and queen together. Tyee was my fitting complement.

Through Fenria's many eyes, her cameras all over the planet, she showed the Seaguard at work: men and women in patrol boats, technicians doing repairs, night watch on her dark side, their faces lit red. None had visible neuro scars.

Tyee could lead them. They could identify with him as one of their own.

An engineer's tambour was pushed into my hands. I tried to focus on the screen, meaningless symbols and numbers.

"All translation of haptic dukagang."

Was that Thoursa speaking? What was she talking about? I couldn't translate those numbers. They weren't language, either Fenrian or Terranglic. And what was dukagang?

Stroking my hair, Tyee whispered. "Stop the viral trigger. It tags onto haptic data, feelings sent by the network."

"But that breaks us apart again. Breaks the network apart." I'd no longer be merged with Fenria. I wouldn't be able to feel or interpret for her.

"Not completely or permanently," said Tyee. "Limit haptics until we can set up a firewall."

I reached for Fenria's feelings.

Fenria had waited years to merge with me, a few more, even a few more dodecades were nothing. Her emotions matched Mama's words. Shut it down. Shut it all down if necessary.

But why, after waiting so long, had she contacted me, and in doing so triggered the illness.

We knew. With grandpa's boat capsized, I'd been stuck under the sail and sent out a cry for help. That cry had opened the connection between myself and Fenria.

The numbers on the screen went double, seemingly three-dimensional, then settled. I glowered at the codes, willing them to change them from green to orange.

They remained stubbornly green.

What was wrong? Both Fenria and I wanted them changed.

"I can't." My lips were quivering.

Tyee took the screen. "You can't consciously change network coding when under stress. Safeguard against torture. I'll do it." His tawny dappled eyes made his offer into a question.

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