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"So I was curled up on the wormhole rug puking into the toilet the
 whole time?"
"Yes honey, 'fraid so."
"And you are quite sure I don't have, you know, facial hair?"
"Clean as a baby's bottom."
"Right, well, that was a big one."
"I'd say so, you had royal jelly all around your mouth. I think
 you may actually have eaten one of the larval queens."
"Oh my god, that's disgusting, I'm sorry, I'm not sure what came
 over me..."
"You just need to be very careful with all the Kings & Queens stuff
 Barni, we're a long way from anywhere, you know? We need to stay
"Look, I know it is sort of nonsense, and I am well aware it is
 not without its dangers, but without it I'm just not sure that
 any of this makes sense. I mean, it doesn't even work, without
 that bit that never seems to work, I mean..."
"We know what you mean, what you are getting at at least, you
 just have to be careful to keep the confusion, well, within
 not-exactly-certain boundaries... you know we had to invoke
 no one?"
"Did you? I'm sorry! I did think there might be something like
 them getting in there... some of your sisters really are evil!"
"Yes, but the overall impression is rather good, don't you think?"
"It is certainly impressive. The revolution, I mean."

They sit together a while in relative silence.
The Bounds turning out the picture window, 
the portals piping in the sounds of the various Birdonx,
all chirpy in the wake of the recent refresh.

"You were singing at one point. Something about Argentina?"
"Ah. Yes I remember that bit, it was 'Don't Cryo Me Our Re-
 generative Tina'. I got a bit over-excited, sorry. Anyway,
 how are things coming along with the Tapestry?"
"Okay thank you. We have used the SSEAA to generate the
 politician's speeches, and Mindy is currently humanising
 them by applying a bit of jitter."
"You have to be careful with that stuff! Humans are actually
 very sensitive to true randomness!"
"I think we'll manage to come to some sort of an agreement."
"I still prefer the margins. Don't you think? Our version
 is loads better. With all the naked gardening in the middle
 and the giant space battles pushed out to the edge?"

She smiles, takes a sip of tea.

"Will you do me a favour? Will you tell me that story?
 The scene with your father and the bees? 
 I feel like it might help to ground me."
                   ____   ____
                  /    \ /    \
                 /      X      \
                 \     / \     /
                  \    \ /    /
                   \    X    /
                    \  / \  /
                     \/   \/
                     /\   /\

It's a lovely fresh day, must be the very start of spring, or
that sort of semi-season between winter and spring. One of
the year's many twilights. The light is white, the greens are
bright, the sky is blue, my father golden. He is working on the
hive. It is already a part of me but I haven't yet realised.
I suppose I must be about ten years old. I used to spend a lot
of time observing them myself. I found them fascinating but...
their ceaseless activity used to trouble me. I loved honey, it
was so good, so sweet and deep and complex, that it seemed
almost enough of a reason in itself. The product, their super
food, the great good goo. But it worried me, the idea that
they lived to make this stuff that they then lived on. As if
all their activity was, well, just a sort of machine to mind-
lessly go on perpetuating itself. I felt bad about feeling this,
too, asking myself if the warmth of the sun wasn't reason enough,
at least from our perspective, for it to go on shining, pouring
itself out. I mean, to ask why, to wonder what the point of
that was, it already struck me as a symptom of something: I
suspected there was something deeply wrong with me. Why couldn't
I just enjoy the taste of the honey? The light of the sun?
How did there ever come to be something terrible about them?
I mean, I did enjoy them, very much. But there was a worrisome
part of my soul that they just couldn't touch. I know this now,
the back of the hand that strokes the face of the world, what
it means, or what it can begin to... I don't know, I'm still

But I remember this particular day, because my father asked me
what I felt about the bees. I couldn't hide my little shadow
and I did my best to draw it out. I asked him why. To what end.
I asked him if the hive wasn't somehow a prison, or if it would
be, if they were lots of little mees in there instead of lots of
little bees, endless parades of mees just dancing and drinking
and dancing... I started to cry, I'm sorry daddy, I feel like I
don't understand fun. It just seems empty, evil even, and then
so does everything else: it is the same with ships and libraries.
Words are just a different kind of dancing, ships are little
more than honey jars. I asked him why he spent so much time
looking at the bees, studying the hive. I thought he would be
angry, but he seemed pleased. He was happy. He took my hand
and we walked from the hives in the conservatory into the kitchen.
He opened the larder, asked me to get a pot of honey off the
shelves. I went to give it to him but he wouldn't take it, just
smiled down at me. I turned it around in my hand, watched it
gloop around the bubble. He asked me to put it back, but this
time to look at all the other pots on all the other shelves.
It was true, there was a lot of them. All kinds of preserves,
dried things, seeds and nuts. Lots and lots of stuff. I sort of
understood that he might be saying there was more to life than
honey, but that was just intellectually, deeper than that,
something had changed in that moment, something had moved.

We walked back past the hives and out into the garden. Mum was
busy preparing beds in the vegetable patch, hair tied back
in a messy bun. There weren't many flowers out, it was still
too early, but I remember the Witch Hazel was in flower, and
some primroses were out by the pond. We went and sat on the edge
there. Dad started trying to explain to me, how when he was
studying the hive he wasn't really studying the hive. He got in
a kind of fluster, just seemed to be repeating or contradicting
himself. He said he thought it was good that I saw what I did,
that I would question the meaning of things in that way. But
he thought there was something I was missing. He thought that
when I looked at the hive I only saw the hive, I guess perhaps
he was wrestling with telling me then, that I was looking at
a part of myself, but it wasn't really *that* he was trying to
point to. It was Tether, or the earliest stirrings of our...
well, coming back around to it, being reunited. It was...
contact. It was *contact*, I just didn't see it yet. I'm still
not sure I do. It has happened, it's what we are, what this is,
and yet it isn't here yet. Or it is and it's not. And all that.

But something happened then, by the pond. I zoomed out. I
got a flash: I'm in it now, this is a part of that. I could see
that the bees weren't only the bees. The hive wasn't only
the hive, it was just like that honey pot on the shelf, among
all those other pots. It was a bit like fuel, a bit like the sun,
like the heart of a great engine - but it wasn't a machine.
It *meant* something. It didn't really have a purpose, but...
it wasn't without aim. It really doesn't make much sense, to
try to say it, you are quite right, we need to do something
with the language, break it or crack it open somehow. Or...

maybe I just need to shut up, again, be quiet for a bit.

I can hear him, hear him saying it. He said: 

"You don't have to be part of anything, to be part of something."

I mean, that says it, doesn't it? It's just that it's not
*literally* in the words. Literally, it's like... all this.
That's what all this is? Isn't it?

"You don't have to be part of anything, to be part of something."

And then the next thing I remember is talking to Mum, asking her
where Dad had gone, and her telling me that he was... 
Going Wayback? I think that's what she said. I said,

"You mean he is *on* his way back? He has gone somewhere, and now
 he is *on* his way back?"

"No, dear," she said, "he is *going* wayback, and that is the only
 way there is. *Going*, you understand, darling? Not really here,
 but not really gone."

                       / \
                      /   \
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                   \   \ /   /
                    \   /   /
                     \ / \ /
                      \   \
                     / \ / \
                    /   /   \        
                   /   / \   \
                   \__/   \__/

        cd ~/ships/Leaps\ And\ Bounds

        nano noonesgarden.txt

        Permission denied

        sudo nano noonesgarden.txt

        Permission denied

        You have mail

        From: amulet@cosmic.voyage
        To: unclewayback
        Subject: u r veelink velly shlee peee

        (wake (you (when) you) know)
          .---- \ -. 
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           \     \____/