display | more...

Progress had been desultory, but Theophyllis had finally arranged a trip to Dome 15, the long long Dome 15, to see his father, who still worked as an entomologist there. Not that "arranging" took that much work, the trains left regularly, several times a day, spiral and hubward. It would, of course, be quickest to take the spiral train. Having made that decision, Theophyllis picked up his copy of the Pistol Nebula Expeditions again, and read it for a few hours until there was a knock on the door. It was Madeline, back for the second time today.

"They built the Unrecordable Sculpture again last night!" Madeline told him before the door was even all the way open. And Theophyllis, although he had seen the Unrecordable Sculpture many times before, was intrigued. So was Madeline, since she was coming by here the second time today. As much as it was polite to do so, they discussed this latest iteration, which Madeline said she hadn't exactly seen before.

Politeness might not be the exact concept, but it wasn't polite to talk too much about the Unrecordable Sculpture. In a world where recording everything was so easy, people often left things unrecorded. Theophyllis hadn't had a picture of himself taken in a dozen years, he didn't think. The Unrecordable Sculpture went behind that. It was thousands of years old, or so the scattered references in the histories said. It would be built up and taken down, sometimes after dozens of years, sometimes after a few nights. No one took photographs of it or described it in detail, although there was no prohibition against mentioning it in passing, and over thousands of years, there were just as many references to how it had made the viewer consoled/awed/scared/curious/flummoxed. Theophyllis had seen many of them, but it hadn't been rebuilt for a while. He suspected (and so did Madeline), that Skyp was responsible.

It was almost a childish thing to do, but he and Madeline left his house, and travelled down, the long way, down the long staircase, to the little cluster of old brick buildings, some little more than piles of bricks, that defined the courtyard, where, by the traditions of Dome 27, the Unrecordable Sculpture was built, when someone had a mind to do so. And as he turned the corner, he saw other people were around the plaza, with the same idea. A little odd to see people gawking, but when he saw what had been done with the Unrecordable Sculpture this time, he understood that it was more than curiosity. The building material shouldn't have worked. The arc of it shouldn't have work, flung out like that, but there it was. He tried to do some calculus in his head, and realized that it did, indeed, work the way it looked.

Skyp had been considered an eccentric even by the standards of Dome 27, the cold place where people selected their own tasks. They had, for several years, lived in a helium balloon moored near the top of the dome and had mostly communicated with origami swans wafted down to the main levels of the Dome. They had finally come down and set up shop around the center of town, and then moved out here. The presence of their home next to the sculpture courtyard and their general demeanor led many people, Theophyllis included, to assume that Skyp had built the last few iterations of the sculpture, over the past 50 years. Of course, Theophyllis could just ask, and people would probably answer, but what would be the point of that?

Skyp was also, contrary to stereotypes, not natural born. Theophyllis and a disproportionate number of people in Dome 27 were. Skyp was produced, not born. Skyp was also probably a 100 years older than Theophyllis. Despite both of those things, Skyp still had quite an edge on them. Theophyllis had actually known Skyp, right when they first moved here, after they had come back from Tiger Claw, when Tiger Claw was still an inhabited base. Skyp and Theophyllis agreed on a few things, like both thought that The Waiting was futile, although they had much different reactions to that. The truth is, currently, Theophyllis didn't like Skyp very much. Madeline, by his side, sipping on something, seemed to be amused, rather than unsettled, by the work that was in front of them.

They turned around, and left the courtyard, never saying anything to anyone as they left. They would head back a more conventional way. Theophyllis had another reason for going on his trip, now.

Footfall after footfall, out to the pingo <-- They had built the Unrecordable Sculpture again last night -->

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.