The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 65: The Flip Side
Eventually it occurs to the captain and Eïr that they should show their sample of metal from the spire to the dwarves. They go back outside, where the two engineers are sawing and carving and sanding to a fare-thee-well. Yes, this is like the sky-metal from the Islands. Like that, it doesn't feel overtly magical; it has the same color, density, et cetera. Without even discussing it, the dwarves decide they must see the spire.
They go off with Eïr and Sam, to the surprise and confusion of the captain. Eïr leads them directly to the crevice. Mandorak doesn't find another little piece that he can pr off. He steps back, and examines the spire. It does not seem engineered. Bavör examines it very closely, and finds that, like an iron meteorite, it has a visible crystalline structure. It is more orderly than the nickel-iron meteorites he's seen in museums, and not so fine as that of ordinary silver. This could be sky-silver.
The dwarves look around for a locale where another fragment of metal might be splitting off. Eïr has been poking at the ground and remarks on the ground's unusual qualities. Mannie takes the lead in digging. Down half a meter, Mannie finds a nagging familiarity to the texture of the ground. He slows down, and digs more gently and carefully. The texture seems "tendrilly" and not dissimilar in feel to sky-silver. It branches and branches, but somehow more like a river delta than a root. He digs out an intact segment, and they carefully place it in one of Bay's shoes. They dig down to the base, which is spire-rock.
Mandorak tries to scrape loose a bit of the base, but fails. He tries a psionic analysis, but succeeds only in giving himself a pounding headache. He has lost all interest in investigation; he wants only to return to the ship. They all return to the ship. Mannie heads for his quarters, and collapses in his bed. (Eïr tries, but fails to cure his headache, and so silently steals away.) Bay carefully transfers the sample of structured soil from his shoe to a small box that had held nails, then returns to re-building the ship's main engines.
This process continues over several days. Aldamir is co-opted into searching the ship for suitable, spare pieces of wood within the ship. Eïr searches the woods for more nuts and berries. She tests them on "her" pirate, and is able to rate all her finds as "food." She starts adding the nuts to the ship's stores. Eric brings the ship's log up to date.
By the time the dwarves declare the engines repaired, all the loose items on the ship have been stowed, or tied down. We are ready to leave. The captain takes the helm, everyone straps down, and the ship slides down into the water. The water turns out to be only slightly deeper than the ship is tall, and we eventually come out the other side. Now gravity is wrong, and the entire ship rolls over, dragging the airbags behind us. It's a rocky flip.
There's no obvious damage to anyone or anything, although the contents of the cabinets are undoubtedly scrambled. We are now on the other side of our pocket universe, facing the taller, thinner spire.
Finwë puts in to the shore on this side, where he hovers over the land. Finwë seeks out Teller in his enclosed hiding place, and asks him how he is feeling. "What do you think of this place? Does it seem as 'dark' as the other place?"
"Still dark," he says, from his closet. The captain coaxes him out to look outside. "Dark."
"More dark or less dark?"
Finwë lets him return to his closet.
"Mr. Craggenhilt, Mr. Forothon, excellent work on the engines. We're going to explore on this side."
"Is there air?" asks Mandorak. The captain looks blank. Jocko comes up, "Are we goin' out, cap'n?" The captain explains that we are not certain about air. Eïr says, "Teller can make wind..." Everyone stares at her. "I mean, breezes, and... things."
Jocko points out that we could just watch the trees to see if their leaves wave in the breeze. Teller induces a breeze, and we watch the leaves flutter. Meanwhile, Mannie has done some slightly more scientific testing, and decided that there is oxygen-bearing air.
Mannie now trots up to the observation deck, and examines the base of the spire for a metallic glint. There is none. He examines the rest of the spire, and finally spots the desired gleam well up on the spire. He trots back down, and reports his finding.
This time, he and Bay bring proper, metal-working tools. Mannie does a test dig, but doesn't find any of that interesting structure. Aldamir observes that the mix of trees he observes here are mutually incompatible; they should form two different forests. He and Eïr look for, and examine, the local nut trees, which are different from those on the other side.
At the base of the spire, Mannie and Bay start digging down for the bedrock, or bedmetal. It will probably be as far down as on the other side. The others turn clockwise, and start exploring around the tree. Eïr steps up onto the exposed root of a large tree, and looks up at the spire. Yes, there is a crack up there, a long way up there. This could well be the crack that the Hremish dwarf spotted from the ship.
At half a meter down, they strike a vein of a silver metal. Its vibes are the same as the metal on the other side. This is sky-silver.
Updated: May 11, 2007
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.