- Small Worlds
- Chapter Eighteen
The air vent was cramped and Vaniah was getting a crick in his neck from being in it for so long. Werther was smaller than he was — he estimated that she was about 5'2" and, with her legs curled up, had no trouble in the small vent.
He knew what he had told her had come as quite a shock and suddenly felt sorry for telling her the truth. "I'm sorry about Adon," he said suddenly, trying to keep his voice a whisper.
"It's…" Werther stopped, unable to think of a reply. "It's been a while since I've been there. I was recruited when I was eleven. I had the highest test scores in my class. The SDF recruiters were impressed and immediately registered me as a recruit."
"Didn't your family have anything to say about that?" Vaniah asked.
"My family?" Werther considered the question. "No. They were loyal to the Unitary. They were proud of my achievement and worried for my safety, but they never protested."
"So," Vaniah asked, "how do you know about the blaggemol?"
Werther looked down and scuffled her feet a bit and then, with her voice barely above a whisper, she said, "One of my first assignments came in the aftermath of the Battle of Muspilli. Specifically, the Desolation of Edom."
Visstor spoke up. "Edom? I have never heard of thissss world."
"It's a black rock," Vaniah said. "Uninhabitable. They said there was an orbital bombardment. Thousands of rocks reigning destruction."
"There was no bombardment." Werther looked up at Vaniah. "It took twenty-six seconds to turn Edom into a wasteland. I saw the vids of it. There had been a settlement of ten thousand people who all died simultaneously. No one knew why or how until one day, we came upon a settler's log that had survived somehow. On the day of its destruction, all the settler mentioned was a man had come into town with a blaggemol."
"A world-desssssstroyer," Visstor said.
"Yes," Werther said. "Since then, they've had a division working solely on acquiring one. If Captain Holt knew…"
"Then we'll make sure he doesn't," Vaniah said. "Though apparently the Prophetess already does."
"Isssss it sssssafe yet?" Visstor asked. "I'm tired of sssssssweating acccid."
"Let's see," Vaniah said. "If you hear anybody around, just starting thinking, 'Tenser', said the Tensor; 'tension, apprehension, and dissension have begun.'"
"What'ssssss that?" Visstor asked.
"Old repetune from Earth," Vaniah said. "Gets stuck in Psyckers' minds. Are you ready?" He said this last part to Werther.
She swallowed nervously. "No, but we can't stay here forever. Let's go."