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The journals of Lezarouth Rice, 118 to 139.

The Sun Seeker[]


There. That’s the date in the commonly recognized church calendar. I had to buy one of those clunky pocket watches to track it, because there’s no way I’ll remember at what time of what day the date changes. But I thought for this journal I needed a date that could be recognized around the Known Worlds, so I bought the f@&#! watch. I think I’ll keep it with the journal. In the Vengish calendar it is 1104, Gather 14, which means it is hot and raining and wearying. I’m sick of Saint Vengeance, but Ren-Jen says we need to include it in our encyclopedia, and we may as well get it done before we leave. Fortunately, she’s a little nervous what may happen to me here, so she’s working quickly. I’m lying low and writing as fast as she puts out the reports.


Scared Ren-Jen again today. Went to the “entity” that arranged for us to “acquire” the Sun Seeker. “They” had said she’d arrived in orbit, and had given me access codes by the usual method. I wanted to visit her, get familiar with her before we left, and hoped they could arrange the meeting. Well, their “place of business” is charred timbers now. As I was leaving, a man under an umbrella seemed to follow me for several blocks. I lost him before I made it home, but when I told Ren-Jen she was apoplectic.

“I can’t believe you were so stupid! What if he was with P&P! They could pick you up just for looking at [those people].”

“He wasn’t with P&P,” I pointed out. “P&P wouldn’t have followed me, they’d have jumped me, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

“It isn’t just you, you know,” she said. “It’s me, too. You get yourself back behind bars and we’ll never get started on this.”

You’d think after all this time Ren-Jen would have expected me to be “so stupid,” but she doesn’t. So which of us is slow on the uptake?


She is beautiful! We met the Sun Seeker today. Rode up in her landing boat, the Steel Daughter, who is able enough, but looks like a kitchen sink compared to the mother. Easily two laan[1] from nose to tail. She is shaped like a raindrop, and colored such an indigo that she could hardly be seen from the outside. When she heard the cry of the Steel Daughter, she lit a line of blue glow-bags along her side. Her eyes, 3 fiit[2] across, are jeweled a thousand brilliant blues.

Inside her color is paler, but still blue. Her floor is chitinous, rigid but yielding, the walls feel more cartilaginous, not so rigid, but everywhere she is warm. Her breath, however, is a gentle-flowing, cool current. I have heard people complain that beast-ships can have foul breath, warm and damp with a vague odor of putrifying vegetables. Frankly, I came to Saint Vengeance in a steel box-with-a-brain. The walls were too hot to touch when we were in sunshine, but even in the deep darkness between worlds it never grew cool. The breathing of the brain was positively wet, and smelled of old hosiery, and there was another smell in the aft near the brain, an old ammonia smell, as if it were leaking waste somewhere in its heaving bulk. The Sun-Seeker's breath smells of grass in the sunshine on a summer's day.

There are nine rooms, counting two that are filled with ordinance and a cannon appiece. The cannon have an 8 jhiint[3] muzzle, with a 2 eem barrel[4] and a wood-and-iron pintel and shield that I hope I have never occassion to fire. When I first saw them I thought 2 cannon didn't seem like many, if we should be attacked, but of course, 2 cannon are 1 more than we'll be able to handle.

In the head is the map room, and the throne. The Sun Seeker, being aware, does not have a stirrup[5] like b-with-b ships. Instead it has the throne, which is a focus of her awareness. If you sit in it, you and she become aware of each other. It will probably be Ren-Jen, most of the time, because I cannot comprehend the math required to do the pathfinding. She gets out the charts, sits in the throne, and plans out our course, while the Sun Seeker watches. Supposedly, she will not start a wave unless someone sits in the throne, grips the arms tightly, and chants "Fly" sixteen times.

The ordinance rooms are in the shoulders, then there are two roundish rooms down each side, a large one before the tail, and a wide, low-ceilinged room reached for either side by a stairs. It lies above what I am calling the spine. Next to the stairs to this high room are stairs down to a low room, which I didn't count as one of the nine. It is the womb for the Steel Daughter.

I don't completely understand Sun Seeker's body. Her brain is, I believe, most of the spine. There are four lungs, one before the stairs and one abaft, on each side. They look more a knot of fleshy fans gently waving than anything else. She has a mouth and snout down in the womb. We brought up a barrel of grain and suet, which she devoured in six bites, and twelve barrels of water, which she dropped her snout into and sucked dry. I think she'd been hungry. I believe her digestion is in the tail.

We've already taken the aft room as the main living space. She was decorated in Edenic style, which means rather sparely, with sitting cushions and low tables. Ren-Jen is happy. The starboard aft room is set up to be a kitchen.

Tonight we are sleeping together in the port aft room. I don't know if it will be a good idea for us to sleep together every night. Makes it too easy to quarrel. But if we have two separate bedrooms, well... that might not work either. A problem for another day.


We left orbit today, a day ahead of schedule, which throws off Ren-Jen’s calculations, so she’s redoing her pathfinding right now. Apparently, Probation and Parole found out that I had skipped the planet, and a fleet of b-with-bs came up to bring me back. Didn’t know the Vengish Corrections department was so well-funded. If they can afford half-a-dozen void ships they could certainly afford to staff their prisons properly.

Ren-Jen and I were just boiling up some breakfast when we got this sudden feeling of alarm. We both looked at each other, and we knew we were feeling the Sun Seeker’s alarm. We ran for the map room. I got there first and sat on the throne, and all of a sudden I could see through Sun Seeker’s eyes, I could see half a dozen steel needles hanging in the void above the greenish-brown arc of Saint Vengeance. Then I realized that I could feel the force of their mind-pull, and that they were closing on us fairly rapidly. I didn’t need to recognize their silhouettes to know they were police.

“Run,” I said. She folded her petals and took off so fast that Ren-Jen fell over and I slid back against the wall. A flash of light and smoke came from the lead ship. Sun Seeker twitched a zigzag, and something flashed by, missing us by several aahreet (prob. 200-500m). It was then I realized I had seen cannon fire, in the absolute silence of the void. I told the Sun Seeker to break orbit, and urged her faster. Her speed was unbelievable. It felt like she was standing on her tail, I was plastered against the wall with a cow sitting on my chest. All the charts laid out on the table fell on my face with the force of books, and I couldn’t raise my arms to ward them off. If the table were not affixed to the floor I’m sure it would have killed me. She zoomed and weaved so fast I felt queasy. They fired again, a volley of flash and smoke, but no ball came within a maul (1.7km). It took only a few minutes before the police were hopelessly left behind. I slowed the Sun Seeker until Ren-Jen and I could sit up on the aft bulkhead. We continued that way for a couple hours until we were sure we were beyond pursuit.

So now we know why the doors between rooms go all the way to the ceiling, and there are handholds on the ceiling. The kitchen was a mess, and all our belongings were strewn everywhere. From now on, we keep things fastened down.

The only other thing I noticed when I touched with Sun Seeker was that she was still thirsty. I don't know how we're going to lift enough water for her.


  1. 2ln=39m
  2. 3ft=81cm (2'10" US)
  3. 8jt=18.7cm
  4. 2em=2.22m
  5. stirrup: an intricate clockwork mechanism that translate hexadecimal coordinates into precise stimula on a sense-patch, which controls a standard ship