Title: Tearing Down the Statues
Author: Brian Bennudriti
Publisher: Grailrunner Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction
Misling is a Recorder, having perfect memory and expected to help build a seamless record of history. That’s what the Salt Mystic taught us two thousand years ago when she came stumbling from the flats with her visions. Unfortunately he’s probably the worst Recorder ever. So when he meets a joker with an incredible secret, the two of them are soon on the run from swarming lunatics and towering assault troops in the heart of a city under siege.
As it has for three generations, the horrible Talgo family is the spark of this swelling world war; and their wily generals and scheming counselors clash their fleets in battles of shrieking steel-entrained tornados, cannonballs of lightning, and tanks the size of cities. But it’s the joker’s secret that is the most powerful weapon of all…a trigger set by the Salt Mystic herself in myth, to save the world from itself.
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THERE IS NO SELF, ONLY THE RECORD
Although thinner than in previous years, crowds of onlookers still formed to watch the zeppelin shuttles glide softly to dock with the airpark tower, framed beautifully against the jutting mountains. Many of these were sightseers in to see the blooming algae gardens terraced on the gneiss cliffs and which speckled the majestic mountain city. A mildly hallucinogenic algae wine, sana drove the local economy on many levels, but particularly drew speculation investment in the hustling days before a holiday such as this.
A young Recorder stood waiting near the cargo bins, his forehead carrying the lava red and ash black tattoo of his calling. Stepping into place beside him was an awkward and gangly fellow who’d come perhaps not to obtain packages or to greet a traveler, but rather just to see the dirigible up close. His voice was squeaky; and his stomach pouched tightly in a sharp pear shape peeking out from beneath his shirt. A girl who was perhaps his sister, younger than him but attractive and clearly not sharing the young man’s interests, was tagging along reluctantly.
“Daelin, do we really have to do this again? You’re driving me crazy.”
“Won’t take long.”
“You absolutely said that yesterday. I am not spending the rest of the morning staring at balloons again.” She smiled at the Recorder when he glanced at her tan face. He liked that but wasn’t supposed to.
“That’s one of the Corsair class coming in. You can tell by the shape of the nose. This one has some really nice enginework.” He hesitated and hadn’t yet looked at the Recorder’s face, though his tone and volume were certainly intended to solicit agreement or reciprocated enthusiasm. Instead, his eyes lingered on the mooring lines being thrown over black capstans ringing the heights of the docking tower like he was looking at ice cream.
“They used them for evacuations during the war…”
“Big toys, Daelin. Like you’ve got scattered all over your room. Let’s gooooooo.”
The Recorder glanced again at Daelin’s sister, to which she responded by smiling again and rolling her eyes, shaking her head to signal how unfashionable she felt was this conversation.
“You wouldn’t believe the lift capacity this thing has. Look at that on the tail there…” Daelin at that point glanced over as he pointed to ensure the Recorder’s eyes were following him, but at last noticed the Recorder’s forehead, recognizing him for his nature and charge.
The Recorder still hadn’t as yet said anything and remained as quiet while Daelin began to fumble a bit, “I didn’t know you were…”
Daelin still pointed upwards toward the dirigible, but loosely and awkwardly, “It’s got a uhh..it’s got a hook to connect to others like it. They can make a train. Look, we need to go.”
“That’s it?” The young man’s sister raised her eyebrows at her brother’s discomfort. It wasn’t uncommon, the fear of the Record.
“Yeah, we need to go do some things. Come on. Sorry, okay?” In a fit of escape, Daelin just turned and started lightly jogging away, glancing around himself trying to appear as if he’d intended to exercise all along and was hard at it now. He called again for his sister when she didn’t leave straight away; and she lingered an apologetic grin and waved as she at last followed her brother. The Recorder watched her leave and then watched the place in the crowd where she had left. He squinted against the morning sun and scratched the back of his head before stepping around the tower to idly watch the stevedores slough packages.
A short line of awaiting passengers stood at the base of another tower, shuffling in position or scanning the top of the stairs for a signal they could board. Colorfully, there was a tiny twig of a boy in a uniform that was yet too big for him with a stuffed duffel bag at his feet and an anxious stare on his face. He was looking into the eyes of someone who might have been his father, leather faced and tattooed on his arms, skinny and traveled, who was giving him guidance on how to behave wherever the boy was going. The Recorder hesitated to absorb the moment. Continue reading