Pseudomorph – some work related to Skein

Old work, but still relevant.

 

Pseudomorph

Adenosine. Purio. Fewer than three. O2 here. Push nerve bundle into quiescense there.

Tander flew through the mods in Tania’s body – the sprites on the amygdala, the coursers in the heart tissue, the fiery in the left lung, the floaters in the blood, on and on. When Tania and Darren had provided Tander a trigger opening in their transes, accessible to her only at the moment their vitals went sour, she never knew it would feel like this. With the physical mind unconscious, she could partake in the body without restriction, without any controls from outside. It was both maddening and extraordinary: the freedom in the binding; the exultation between the walls of a single cell.

Tander raced like radiowaves through the nerve-slender polydiamond conductor channels in Tania’s bones, marveling once again at the strange intricacies of solid carbon sponge structure – walking coral reefs generating brutal age-old DNA strands, beautiful poisonous twining things swimming through the physical aether, random bombs ready to fire and either protect or destroy.

Enough.

She soared out of the bone and into the lymph, activating the nanetic toxin scrubbers to cancel the Juliet drug they’d given her. Time for consciousness to be restored.

O2 escalation. Breathe.

Outside of the body, her receptors could sense the clatterhoof of Darren’s horror and fear, the damp vibration of Dak’s tension and worry. She was beyond any experience of sympathy, but could still register the expression of unpleasant emotion and respond to it in kind. That is the contribution of Tania, Tander remembered – demonstrating the hormonal broadcast, the facial expressions, the muscle bunches. From Tania and Darren’s blood samples, stolen and stored tenderly by Tania over years of marriage to Darren, Tander had learned about the difference between male and female hormonal responses. Observing others interact with the two of them had given her a better breadth of knowledge. In addition, she had been monitoring three different corporations’ Analytics for ten years, and there was a great database about the different manifestations of illness in different bodies, depending on their skein. But even with all that training and preparation, being present within the body was a unpredictably gorgeous experience, one that was both alien and beautiful, and she found herself singing through Tania’s skin like this was an old home she’d left behind.

Tania’s skin shivered. She’s awake, Tander remarked to herself. I have to try it. I must know if this will work.

Are you there? Tander pushed the vibrations from Tania’s inner ear bones to her timpanic membrane so that Tania could understand them as words. Tania jolted for a second, then relaxed as Tander manually upped the dose of opioids. It’s just Tander, she vibrated, and I wanted to see if we could talk this way. If you understand me, turn your head to your left side.

A few skittering heartbeats, then Tander registered the muscle contractions that would have made Tania turn her head. The brace of the machines in Deep Analytics would prevent her from actually moving, but Tander wasn’t restricted to visual cues.

Good, Tander vibrated. Do you give me permission to continue communication in this manner?

Tania’s neck muscles bunched in an effort to nod yes.

Thank you. Please let me know if this is too loud or painful by clenching your jaw at any time.

Tania’s jaw relaxed.

Thank you. You are currently undergoing a great many damage control operations, but I am aware you will want to know what is happening to you. I do not think we can communicate two ways, unfortunately, but I will ask you questions and choose facial muscles for yes and no responses. Tander paused and vibrated more slowly. If you understood all of that, please turn your head to the left side. If you did not, please turn to the right.

Tania’s muscles pushed for left.

Tander turned away from the earbones, thrilling at her success. Oh we are going to have a marvelous time, Tander thought, and started to work, narrating her progress all the while.

~ * ~ * ~

Tania was reeling.

She can talk to me from inside me.

If she can talk to me this way, she can talk to Darren this way. And if we have a way to communicate like that, we never have to use our trans again. Completely secure communication. Completely unhackable.

This changes everything.

We have to put failsafes in, she thought wildly, to keep her out when we want her out. Or to boot her out in case something goes wrong and she goes rogue. History’s littered with stories of rogue AIs. But who cares, really? This is exactly what we were looking for. She felt her heart skip in glee as she realized how much power the three of them had.

We will get him, she thought. We’ll get Grodd.