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Yet another snake crossover bit.



“What happened?” Jian asks softly, neck bent so he can see her arms as he tends them, using alcohol from the first-aid kit Emberley gave him to clean the wounds from the bug’s mandibles – but not the puncture marks from Dance’s teeth. Wren told him to leave those as they were, to simply bandage them.

“I was about to code,” Wren answers, and Jian doesn’t look up, but his grip on her wrist tightens for a moment, and the liquid-soaked sponge in his hand presses into the gashes harder than before. Excess alcohol runs down her arm, drips in the dirt.

“The bug’s venom,” she continues after a moment. “I think it was a paralytic of some sort, a neurotoxin. I think that when my system wasn’t able to neutralize it, my body started overloading on adrenaline instead, trying to counteract it.”

Jian nods, head still bowed. “And now? How are you doing now?”

“Shaky,” she replies without any hesitation. “I can tell I’ve overtaxed myself more than I usually do when I use…the boost…and I’m going to feel it for a while. But I’m doing better already. The feeling is starting to come back into my hands, and my vision is improving. My pulse is starting to get closer to normal.”

“I think,” Jian says calmly, voice pitched low to make it harder for their new acquaintances to understand him, “that when we get back to HQ, you should tell Laith about this new development, and have him check you out.”

Wren is silent for a moment. “I don’t like letting on more than I have to, about the alterations. Even to Laith.” It goes unsaid that telling Jian things does not count as ‘letting on’ anything.

“I know. But…this is obviously potentially dangerous. Three years ago, your body didn’t use adrenaline the way it does now. It didn’t…surge like this. I know it’s been useful, but-”

Wren nods. “Alright. I’ll talk to Laith.”

Jian doesn’t say anything else, finishes bandaging her hands and arms in silence. Wren is content to let him. When he’s done, he carefully packs up the remaining first-aid supplies and returns them to Emberley.

It takes three of them to get Dance back over to the Jeep. Wren wants to help, but Emma points out that she’d be more in the way than anything else, and she has to concede the point. In the end, she watches from the Chevy as Jian arranges things over in the Jeep, his instructions quick and sure and reminding her very much of the war, back when they were younger. A lot younger, she has to admit, watching him move and taking in the line of his back, the way he shifts when Dance vomits.

Emma is bouncing back and forth between the two vehicles, obviously concerned about Dance but also reluctant to leave Wren unattended, and Wren finally just gives in and stops trying to get the woman to go tend to her lovers. The fact of the three of them is pretty obvious, in Wren’s view. She suspected before, but after watching Dance’s tail as he woke up…well. There’s really no questioning it.

She thinks about Emberley, and the information that name brings to the forefront of her mind. She thinks about the story Darryl told her, years ago, about Eric Tseng and Martin Vail and the dustup with Zelin Corporation. She looks at Emberley, and wonders what, exactly, they have stumbled onto here.

Date: 2008-09-01 03:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
I'm also wondering if the clash of venom and antivenom is like to set off new things in Wren's system.

Wren trying to make Emma leave her alone, that's cute!

I love the way Wren is watching Jian move around, how she thinks about him.

Date: 2008-09-01 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiyakotari.livejournal.com
Yeah, I think it's very likely. The adrenaline surges have been happening for the last couple years, I think. Getting more and more common when she needs the extra speed and strength. Kind of her body starting to push itself, test its own limits, so to speak. But I think this one - the venom really set something off this time, and the antivenom may have fixed it, but I think there may have still been some changes.

Wren spends a lot of time observing, even though it's not really a conscious thing. She analyzes a lot, and still thinks, even now, in a very dry, straightforward kind of tone.

I think Wren is a bit alarmed by Emma, and I'm not sure why yet. Not that she doesn't like her or trust her or something, but...alarmed.

Date: 2008-09-01 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
You mentioned that Emma sounds like a later augmented version of Wren. Maybe Emma's mods have clearly gone off in directions that Wren doesn't approve of, dislikes, or thinks are too extreme already?

Date: 2008-09-01 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiyakotari.livejournal.com
Very possible! Maybe it's not even that complex - maybe it's just that Wren is recognizing those mods in Emma, and isn't sure how to respond to them. She's never met anyone else with the information storage/processing capabilities she has. As far as she knows, she is the first (and so far only) person whose modifications (experimental) went in that direction. Most mods in the WUNPO world have focused on the physical aspect of things, and anything else that happened was a side-effect. The facility that built Wren and Darryl was very outside the norm in expanding their work from the purely physical to the mental. And of course, in their world, all of it is still very experimental and not all that well received, and prone to all sorts of failures and unpleasant instabilities (this is why Wren is so reluctant to discuss her status as an altered human, because there's so much bad press and prejudice against them).

Date: 2008-09-01 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
Clearly somebody ignored the warnings and safeguards and charged ahead anyway, possibly in the same era, and opened the damn doors labeled, "DO NOT ENTER".
Typical. And probably while waving a smug flag of devotion to duty about it, too.

Date: 2008-09-01 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiyakotari.livejournal.com
No kidding! The people who built Wren and Darryl were officially a non-governmental agency, but in reality they were funded (and run) by a branch subset of one of the WUN's programs. Darryl got...rather nasty, and took care of all their research he could find, but it's very possible that some notes survived somewhere, and became the fodder for a new generation of experimental subjects, which could have eventually given birth to Emma.

Date: 2008-09-01 10:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
Which Wren certainly *knows* will piss off Darryl no end.
Makes me think Darryl (unless he decides to head for the hills!) is going to be right there in Drin's face demanding all the data he can give, possibly using techniques to provoke memory.
I also think Jian and Wrenn might be debating the risks of handing Dance and Emma over to Laith for some lab work.

Date: 2008-09-01 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiyakotari.livejournal.com
I'm not sure Darryl is still around, actually. Getting a weird read there. He's out of contact, at least, at this point.

Remember, for this Wren and this Jian, it's been around fifteen years since the stuff happened with Zelin. For Eric and Emberley and crew, it's been maybe a year and a half. Some very strange temporal things happening, re the folding of reality.

Jian and Wren considering handing Dance and Emma over for lab work? I can see them snagging samples where possible, to send those over, but their style of investigation tends to be...well, they bend the rules a lot. Dance and Emma are people in their eyes, and unless those two do something to push them over the line into criminals, they're not going to turn them in. Both of them are pretty sensitive on the subject of humans being used for tests against their will, no matter how benign.

I get the feeling that, in the end of all of this, their official reports to their superiors are going to be very short, very circumspect, and not wholly forthcoming.

Date: 2008-09-01 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
It could be quite funny for the reader to be able to compare what happens to what they actually report it as later on.
I'm also thinking some of my story posts tend to be much more traditional-looking narrative, possibly not reportorial. They *look* like fiction, in spite of the use of present tense.

Date: 2008-09-02 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiyakotari.livejournal.com
Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm planning, with the WUNPO dossier. It'll be this kind of backwards view of the whole series of events, with some true information in it, but mostly incomplete or skewed in some way as to be nearly impossible to interpret correctly.

I think that the "traditional narrative" part is a good thing, as far as the tone of the writing itself. Obviously we're experimenting and playing around with a lot of this, but it's still a story that we're telling. It shouldn't read like reports - unless we're presenting a section AS a report, which is totally different.

Date: 2008-09-02 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
Oh good--I was a little worried that the traditional narrative third-person thing- might seem a bit fuddyduddy. I've been keeping it a fairly tight shoulder-cam viewpoint, only what the narrator could observe.

Date: 2008-09-02 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiyakotari.livejournal.com
Same here - I generally write a close 3rd person POV, restricting myself to the narrator's perceptions without actually going into 1st person. It's what I like to write, though I'll read bunches of other things.

Date: 2008-09-01 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
It would be fun to play with the results for Drin's samples.
I can see WUNPO tearing their hair out on that.

Date: 2008-09-01 04:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greenjudy.livejournal.com
Lovely. Worrisome, about the adrenaline.

How the hell can you get poetry out of Jian helping Dance vomit?!? But you do.

My only edit-query: in my perception of this timeline, the Strangeways stuff that went down is only about 15 months old. Emberley and Eric are about 36. My sense of Wren and Jian...they're hard for me to place, agewise.

I don't know why the reference to Darryl feels so haunting, but it does. Positively uncanny.

Date: 2008-09-01 03:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiyakotari.livejournal.com
Yeah, I figured the Strangeways stuff was pretty recent here, for you. I've been kind of approaching this from the "folding pockets of time" point of view, sort of...these things aren't happening the same way for each of the groups, like this intersection really should not possible...except that it is. I think one of the places this is most apparent is in the difference between the time lapse for Eric/Emberly/Edward/& Crew and the time lapse for Wren/Jian/& Crew. It's like...the Principles verse is twisting around and coming into contact with their timelines, which is allowing the crossover of the characters (and worlds) to interact with events and each other, but it's not doing it quite the same way for any of the groups. Do you guys think that works, or should I adjust things?

I read you on the Darryl reference. I get the feeling Wren hasn't heard from him in a while, for one reason or another. Wren's physically about a year younger than Darryl, and I think that he was about 25-26 during the Zelin thing. I read her (and Jian) as being right on the cusp of 40 in this stuff that's happening right now. Which means there'd definitely be something strange going on, temporally.

Date: 2008-09-01 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
The folding overlap of timeframes could be very apparent to somebody like Simon.

Last night, while glancing around after checking the reference greenjudy made on an entry to music called "Beck, 'Chemtrail'", I realized that sense of "chemtrail" was different, but alarmingly still very well related, to the sense in which we've been using it.
This is partly because there are various not-so-nutty-sounding YouTube vids about chemtrails, especially with suspicion about the official line that these are simply harmless chaff spread to check on their radar instruments under different atmospheric conditions, and not some kind of intentional poisons. It doesn't convince the tinfoil hat bunches that nobody will tell them exactly what they're using, for apparently good reasons officials won't reveal what exact various "harmless materials" they might be spreading as chaff.
Sounds like a very useful mass-release tool for a chemtrail assassin who normally uses chemical traces and pheromones on the ground, though, doesn't it?

I hesitate to make use of "Turner-contaminated radar chaff" chemtrails as a sort of ticking-bomb story climax (so very Robin Cook, too predictable a usage for the likes of Turner) but as a potential red-herring threat it could be useful. Turner jerking Eric's chains, most likely.

After speculating on that one, I happened to stumble over a Jeff Beck YouTube vid where displays, maps, sidewalks, any long item, get folded up in front of his eyes so they're shorter, and quite different items that used to be there have been trunccated to look normal.

I can track these down again if interested.

Date: 2008-09-01 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiyakotari.livejournal.com
Sounds fascinating, that Jeff Beck vid does!

I'm very amused by the idea of Turner sending off a red-herring to get people into a tizzy regarding the actual, government use of chemtrails. Fun thought. I can see some individuals getting very excited about that indeed.

Date: 2008-09-01 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
Well, darn. It seems to have vanished from my browser history and I'm not finding it now. It was quite an elaborate vid with Beck himself walking around doing things. He rather reminds me of Darryl or one of greenjudy's guys, a very strange inside to go with a rather plain outside.

This kind of stuff.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBBMjbaFl4E&feature=related

Here's a Beck one that shows some interesting things for the future of bjds, I think...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1UJA94Hwgs

Date: 2008-09-02 12:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiyakotari.livejournal.com
Very cool videos.

Re that second one: I noticed the post in your LJ a bit back where you mentioned the Uncanny Valley. It's most often referenced in robotics, though I know a lot of people (myself included) are now applying to things like ABJD as well. I even brought my dolls into my critical theory course in the past, to demonstrate the Uncanny Valley (unheimlich) concept to my classmates.

Anyway, are you familiar with Boston Dynamics' "Big Dog" project?

http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww

And, in a slightly different vein but following the same ideas, a clip from the Mark Twain claymation (which I grew up on, by the way - I can quote almost the whole thing - I watched it SOOO many times).

http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=cqi5F5MqqTQ

Oh, and a new short snippet up in my LJ.
Edited Date: 2008-09-02 12:39 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-09-02 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
No, I was not familiar--and yeah, Big Dog is very impressive.
So is the claymation! The mask face on the stick is incredibly effective, a lot of punch for the minutes there. And yeah, I can see why it got banned!

Date: 2008-09-01 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nagasvoice.livejournal.com
Time has passed, when you come back out of the fairy mound...

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