August 10, 2008

Let the Word Take Me p.10

case and slid it across onto David's lap. "She was walking the north desert."

David hissed in a breath as the lid came open. On top was a ceremonial knife in a scabbard of intricately worked grazer-leather, with a leaf-shaped blade and a hilt wound with stone beads. Underneath was a mass of white feathers. Lifting the top layer, he found himself unfolding a hooded coat of perforated leather densely clad with yorro plumage. "Whoa, Father, is this –"

"Sun armor. Before this I'd thought it was just another metaphor."

"It's gorgeous."

David suspected it was an heirloom; the unblemished feathers were layered without gaps, but the leather inside showed that patches had been resewn, and two of the worn tie-thongs had been replaced. He might have studied its details for hours, had the shuttle not docked at last with a clank and hiss.

They followed a crewman in Allied Systems blue onto the orbiter and along to a social lounge where their host was waiting.

Officer Monroe stood before an unlidded viewportal, half-silhouetted by the dark-centered pink whorl of the McKinley nebula. She looked clean and powerful there, wearing sleek interdweller's clothing that would be totally impractical in the rainforest or on the gravel roads of Garini Base.

"Welcome back, Doctor Linden," she said. "Hello, David."

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