Saturday, July 23, 2011

More Drafts! Chapter 4.

“Oh, you'll like this,” Loses said, dragging in a box with the Office of Disease Management symbol on it, a coiling snake with feathery wings and broad antlers. “You remember the stuff that came out two years ago, the mana ping gizmo that they were using to track people trapped in earthquakes and damaged buildings, right?”

She nodded. He flipped the switches on the box, unlocking it and revealing foam padding holding a set of dark green goggles. There were lenses folder over each other, and her first instinct was to think the device was set up to attach to a helmet. Someone had added a strap to the back.

“They fixed that technology,” he said. “Someone thought to put a string on it and combine it with the features of the Wilson tent. It's got to seal over your eyes, and you shouldn't wear it more than a few hours at most. But it's long enough for surgery, a short operation, or what you need to do. Say hello. Range is terrible. ”

He handed them over; they must have weighed three pounds.

“Hello,” she said, and they warmed in her hands.

She put them to her eyes and pulled the strap over her ears. Feeling Loses tighten it and then flick the switch, she hissed when her eyes screamed in hot pain from the spray of incense.

“It uses these cartridges,” he said, even as the world gone black erupted into a cacophony of hues. She could see him, a swirl of mana in him and his clothes, strong in his fingers where he performed his work, the press of his feet on the floor, and a small battery-shaped cylinder in his fingers that hummed the deep violet color of algonkin incense. The room was a faded grainy circle; her vision felt restricted. She looked at her hands, seeing the dark veins of stolen mana nestled in the earth that made up her fingers and palms, the tiny bits she siphoned off people nearby, and the stains of darkness, like spatters of blood, where she had walked into the room.

“You're seeing the world like an elemental magus. There's even articles in Science and Physics Monthly about the company plans for adding reactive crystal to earmuffs so you can hear like a magus, too.”

She swiveled her head around.

“It seems restricted. I've got no peripheral vision, and I can't see more than maybe twenty feet down the hall. It all turns black,” she said. “Even so. I like it.”