glass bodies 231 240

Under the lid of the sea, waters were frozen. In the deep, an unchanged species of fish waited in stupor, all fins in labour to sit still mid-ocean. There was a lesson to be learnt from the planet core, from the glowing atmosphere.

The astronomer, one of many, stood transfixed staring not at stars but at flames nevertheless. Cannonades from ships imperial were echoing through the unbowed stratosphere. The day was breaking, attacked from all sides by starlight. Kyniska was shining through her eye, soul pointed in one direction. They were all speechless, watching the pirate ship engulfed in a devastating blaze. Xin, still amputated in mourning, was restless fidget and broken back. The great gloom shivered on. From the corners of the planet, satellite shadows began to emerge, a collection of debts.

The ship was swollen, turning its side over, tormented by the flames. Wronged by their planet of origin, the pirates had run aground, chased like guilty foxes to the sinister edges of the galaxy by relentless marketeers. Unable to oppose gravity, the former crew slumped forward, their thoughts took off like a flock of frightened starlings. The first false passion to turn the style was regret, followed by anger. The taoist fraud-master was cussing away, the galaxy looked on unoffended as all religions reeled. Faith was about to divide them up. Huxleyism vs Panglossianism. Not a single cloud was spaced wrongly in the sky. Factions forming, chancing a survival, plotting a suicide mission. There were darker spots in the eyes of stars, moving slowly like a pirate’s curse. Earth would never have rotated so. The pendulum of reason keeps swinging. The oak lies now where ashes stood high. The ship collapsed on the beach, pulverised. Violet flames where hope had been. The wind changed course. An idea flew wide, a journey afoot. A survivor of an earlier crash approached. A vision like a curse. They begged to be carried away to another world, their Charon eyes rolling to white. Arion was defiant, Steve now collected bones of brothers and sisters, charred. After the first few minutes, conversations started to grow. The spirit of Europa was deeply sad. Down we went into the empty space of the sea, she says… heroes to no sound. Particle gales, black squalls of matter. Circling the truths like sharks, afraid to bite. Our ship did drive so fast. Echoes will be contended.

They began to notice the planet’s flora, composed of seashelly gentianaceae. Everywhere, peaceful, eerie. Basalt rosettes, parallel winds, emerging. The Tabard harbour long lost but a new haven on this shore. The fire cracked on. Computers were howling. Flowers with yellow antlers and compassionate looks. The planet’s rotation murmured softly. The pilgrims were now alingering. Radiation from the stars. They suddenly remembered the false echo of satellites, and their religion was made of one shared experience, without question.