Novelette: Silk and Stone

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Talarohk Talarohk's picture
Novelette: Silk and Stone

The full work is a little over 9000 words, so rather than post the whole thing here and take up space, I'll post the first bit and provide a link to the full story, in case anyone wants to read the rest. It was originally written as an attempt to present the setting of Eclipse Phase to someone who I thought might be interested in the game, but ended up evolving.

Brief synopsis: A diary in which we read the account of the last days of a young woman's life, as she ends up unable to let go of something she shouldn't have seen.


<06/13/25 || 19:22:54> Okay, this feels really weird. I’m not even sure why I’m doing this, except Nemmy said it might be good for me. She said something about how keeping a journal allows for a “kind of introspection which immersion in a neverending flow of updates and flashes makes scarce”. It can be really irritating when your muse is smarter than you...but I guess that’s kind of the point, huh? Anyway, she thought I should actually be typing this journal—like with fingers on haptics, rather than neurotext—but I convinced her that dictation would be enough. I guess I’m lucky she didn’t ask for cursive (I found that word the other day when I was looking through some really old image archives—decided to look at images of Mozart’s original compositions on a whim—and had to ask what the weird squiggles were).

So I guess I’m going to be keeping this journal. Heck, she’s usually been right before. And I could use a creative kick, been kinda stuck down a musical well. I don’t think I’ve composed anything worth hearing since Fluxtube Variations . I had started on that new one, Voidwards, but I’m jammed on where to go with it. Maybe this’ll be just what I need.

<06/14/25 || 08:40:07> Had breakfast with Mayji at the SteelCut this morning. Their main fabber was having a software update, and that model has to get them direct from the manufacturer on Luna, and there’s some kind of solar storm futzing the bandwidth, so it was going to take forever. Anyway, they had their backup online, and I think the ghost running that one is a better cook anyway. The eggs were really good. She always gets the spicy just right. Plus, she said she liked Shiverlight, which was nice to hear. I’ve never understood why that piece seems to catch the AIs, but they do seem to groove it.

Mayji said that Jason had gotten a new nanotat, and he was dying to show it off to everyone. She said it was pretty slick, but there was some kind of glitch in the animation so when the dragon went over his shoulders it made his whole back look like a giant butt for a sec. She said not to tell him. I guess he’ll find out when the posts start showing up on his feed. Dawk, I hate it when I find things out that way.

< 06/14/25 || 12:00:16 > The usual traffic on the axis thruway. I barely got to class on time. It would be so much easier if we could just link in from anywhere, but the college has some pretty oldstyle takes on intellectual property, and they want everything to be inside their physical network. So we all have to actually GO there, actually physically jack in the classroom, rather than get it over the mesh like anyone else, because some geezer profs are paranoid, don’t trust crypto, and think that meatspace matters.

Oldsters. Sheesh.

Nemmy tells me I should learn to flow with it, and I guess she’s right. Plus, when Prof Halliwell gets into her zone, she does have some things to say, I admit. Today, she was walking us through a VR tour of eighteenth-century sculpture from Italia, and she showed us this one of a man lying down with something over his face. Everyone else went on, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t move. I had to keep looking at it, for some reason. Nemmy said it was called the “Veiled Christ”, by Giuseppi Sammartino. I had never heard of him—sculpture isn’t my main thrust—but I couldn’t look away. The prof came over and saw what was happening, and she started telling me about how it had happened to her too, when she first saw it. She said there was something about the draping on the face that struck her as holy and deeply creepy at the same time, which is just how I felt. Somehow, this Sammartino made stone transparent, and it was amazing but also weirded me out majorly. I kept thinking about what it would feel like to have your face trapped forever in something hard like stone but clingy like silk, and it gave me some serious shivers.

I know a little about Christ, but there aren’t a lot of Christians on my hab. Those of us who have religion usually follow the Evolutionists, like my parents. But evolution means you have to be free to move, change, and grow; if you’re dead behind a sheet of stone, you’re static. The Christians think he rose again, which they say is a miracle. I guess it would have been then. If Christ lived today, we wouldn’t be surprised if he rose after three days; we’d wonder what took so long, and whether his new sleeve had any good mods. But he looked awfully still under that marble veil.

Brrr. Halliwell does have that creepy insight, like I said. Maybe too much. I’ll ping Yoda and Rhys and have them meet me for lunch, they ought to be enough to snap me out of this.

<06/14/25 || 13:15:00> Okay, definitely in a new egospace. Yoda and Rhys were great, they always are. Yoda was in a new sleeve again this month, some kind of sylph, I think. His family can afford it (good for them), and rental on sleeves isn’t THAT much, so I guess it’s not that weird, but still. I hate resleeving. I only had to do it once, when we egocast to Titan that one time for Dad’s talk. I just couldn’t get over the fact that it wasn’t my body. Everything felt just a little wrong. I know they update the proprioceptive map when they sleeve you in, but it still felt like my arms and legs weren’t quite right. I kept having to fight the urge to look behind me, like I had tentacles growing out of my back or something. (Didn’t help that I saw a guy who did have tentacles growing out of his back right after I came out of the ‘cast port.)

Yoda seems happy, though. He always does with a new morph. And I have to admit, this one looks damned good. He and Rhys had just finished working out, so they were hungry, and when he sat down he brushed by me, and I could smell his sweat. I know that most sylphs have edited metabolism—they’re not supposed to smell bad, ever—but wow, smelling his body made me dizzy for just a second. Here, I will freely admit that I did indulge some thoughts of sharing a workout with Yoda, and not at the gym. But only for a second. Maybe this sylph he’s in has some kind of pheromone control or something.

Damn him. I’m still thinking about it. I’ll bet he did it on purpose, which is mean, given that he and Rhys are exclusive. Heck, we could bring Rhys in too. I wouldn’t mind…

< 06/14/25 || 13:17:20 > Okay, Nemmy, I know that unrealistic fantasies can be a distraction from my work, and it’s class time, I know. Yes, Nemmy. On the other hand, I just had some new ideas for a piece I think I’ll call Symphony of the Three-Body Problem.

And what’s a problem, but a possible opportunity?

< 06/14/25 || 13:17:55 > OKAY, Nemmy!


The whole story is here:

Criticism is certainly welcome.