Not Canals but Seas

Turns out Schiaparelli was wrong about the water on Mars. There is much more than what he thought he saw through his telescope. Kira tries to sort out what is happening in her head and at last a shadowy figure appears.

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“God and all His Holy Angels!” Anastasia exclaimed.

Laszlo brought his eyes down from the walkway to see what surprised her and was just as surprised himself:  no more than fifty yards away was a sea of water stretching over the horizon and to his left and right out of view.  There was no beach.  In some places the water did lap some of the low lying area and in others it was just a rocky drop of inches or yards. 

The water itself was a washed-out blue.  He didn’t know if that was a factor of its depth or that the sky still did not hold enough oxygen and nitrogen to be an earthlike blue; it was still something like a faint lime green.

“There will be no tides.  The Two Children are too small,” Les heard Kirry whisper.

“Two Children?” her brother asked first.

“Phobos and Deimos,” she replied, stumbling a bit.  “Why did I say that?  Where did that thought come from?”

With his improved perception, Les noted that Medved very deliberately turned away from their conversation.  What does he know?  Annie was quizzing him about his “few years” comment.

“…schedule is set, of course, by Aqua,” he went on with his answer to her.  “There have been times where an implementation has been delayed for weeks with no reason and moved up by months.  We’ve learned to react quickly to what is asked of us.”

Besides Reina, Laszlo knew of no Machine who was so high-handed in their dealings with humans.  Perhaps because of the very hostile environment, things were very different here.  For now he had something more important at hand.

“How are you holding up?” he asked Kira, stepping next to her and putting his right arm about her tiny waist.  He noted there was signal for the work being done in the building just behind them but all of them had those same formidable Walls he had seen in Control.

“Okay… but out of sorts,” she admitted.  From over her head and behind her right he saw her siblings look at them but not move.  “It’s… it is as if I am in three places at one, if that makes any sense.  I’m here, of course, but there’s the vague notion of being at some Mediterranian villa, too.  And I cannot get these voices sounds out of my head!  It is some kind of opera in a language I don’t understand.”

She leaned into him and let her head go down a little.

“Is this what your whole life is like?  Is this what it is to be a demi?”

“Honestly, no, Kira.” So:  she had access to the signal; that meant someone let her in.  And there was only one who could do that.  “In normal times, we only open our minds when we want to.  There have been, I admit, when my mother’s mind was cracked; once by Reina and another by her then-enemy Alexandra.”

He wished he was in a position to take their helmets off to not be overheard.  But where on Earth or Mars was a place like that anymore?

“If you are getting information from the Void,” he said carefully, “that means Aqua wants you to.  And, given your inexperience, you will only perceive what he wants you to.”

“Well!” she jerked up straight.  “That is very rude!  To even address a princess such as I without leave, much less to presume to mess about in my head!  I should have a word with this Machine!”

“And what word would that be, Princess Kira?” asked a soft male voice with a slight northern Italian accent.

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