Time Lapse

In Which Falda Flosadóttir Rushes to Slow Down.
by Electric Keet

“And I would like the limiter to be disabled.”

The ermine visibly twitched. “Let me get this straight.” When she spoke, she emphasised the pronouns in a way which made everything sound almost unreasonable. “You, who I’ve never before met, want me to rent you a skimmer right after daybreak – when the natives will be at their most active – without any sort of speed regulation.”

I nodded. “Yes, please.”

“Even for double rate, even knowing your current profession…. Why should I take that risk?”

I leaned toward one of those little round seafoam-green ears and poured some classic Falda charm into a whispered explanation.

She nodded… then stared with widened eyes… then looked Yaz up and down… then coughed politely as I stepped back. “I believe I can arrange your skimmer, though you’ll have to sign an additional waiver. Pardon while I go dig that up.”

As soon as she’d scurried into the back room, Yaz shook his head. “Just what did you tell her, there?”

I allowed my tail some room for expression. “I explained that IHP wanted me to scout the area while I was here in preparation for a proper sequel to The Finest Course and that I had a great degree of latitude in recommending local talent to fill in certain… vital roles.”

He narrowed his eyes slightly. “And me?”

“Male lead.”

Yaz’s jaw dropped. “That’s—”

“Letting a little too much slip so early in pre-production,” I ad-libbed smoothly as the ermine returned. I looked to her with a practised smile. “but I am certain we can all keep a secret, yes?”

“Of course, Ms. Flosadóttir. Please, authenticate both of these documents….”

I pulled hard right to dodge a particularly thick tree of some sort. “Are you getting a clear view?”

From some distance away and right inside my headset, my favourite wolverine responded with a note of worry. “Crystal clear, and I still don’t understand why you have to— Gah! Don’t get yourself killed, you crazy wolf!”

I howled with delight and weaved through the rainforest. “Now that I am in the air, I will explain! Do you remember the dream?”

“What, the one you had on the trip to Mercury?”

“Yes! I did something in that dream, something strange… and I have to try it now.” I aimed the arc-shaped skimmer upward and soared above the tops of the broad-leaved trees. “If you see me veer out of control at all, do what you can to snap me out of it.”

“Snap you out of what?” He waited a few seconds, then tried again. “Falda?”

I whispered, “Shush! I am trying to focus.”

I peaked the thrust and did my best to recall the dream. The colours were normal this time, and there was no ribbon beneath me… but there was definitely a sense of speed and nearly the same visual effect of the forest blending into a rich green streak. I flew closer to the tops of the trees to try for that same feeling of being slightly overwhelmed and having to alter my course to match irregularities in the path. In the dream, there was a sort of dilation of time where milliseconds became long enough to pick apart. I tried to will time to slow down for me. Just another altered state of consciousness, I reminded myself. Just like meditation. Create a pattern and follow the fractal deeper.

The jungle below remained a swift blur. I checked the timer in the display, then cursed myself for breaking the relative time. I did my best to blank it from my mind, veered to the right, and tried again for the trance state. Follow the fractal. I focused on the beating of my heart to slow it down in the way I had learned so long ago. Moments within moments. I swooped over dense foliage, turning slightly as I went to make a circuit. Frustration threatened to overtake me. Had I deceived myself, trying for such a drastic effect as only a dream – or a powerful chemical influence – could provide? Strike the thoughts, I scolded myself. The green was almost hypnotic….


I didn’t need Yaz’s voice to snap me out of it. The scraping whoosh of leaves and branches against the underside of the skimmer jolted me into a speedy climb. “All right…. I am all right.” I dropped my speed and followed the return beacon on my display. “How long was that run?”

“Long enough that I think the locals have started worshipping your contrails as heavenly signs,” he quipped. “Did you get what you needed?”

Despite my attempt, I sounded just as disappointed as I was. “No. I need hyperfocus, not dissociation. I’ll have to try again. Would you…?”

“Yes, I’ll stay,” he sighed. “But I’m really concerned. A few more seconds and you’d have hit more than just thin branches there.”

“Do you…. Do you think I am crazy for trying this because of a dream?”

His answer was a few seconds in coming. “Yes. But it’s the right sort of crazy, so don’t stop.”

I made a lazy swerve around a tall tree, then skirted the clearing where he stood. “Thank you. Now, I will try again….”

  1. Yaz Lenslight’s avatar

    In this way, Basil did have a point. The last thing I need is to worry that one of the team will take themselves out of a race… especially for something non-race-related.

    Not that it’s any better if it actually is race-related, though, but… well, I’m sure you know what I mean. If this keeps up through the Thirteen, I’ll be greymuzzled by the end of it.


    1. Falda Flosadottir’s avatar

      You worry too much! I was fine up there, really. Also, I had a blast. If we do head for the Allilouxia circuit after this, I just might go for the airborne sections. What do you think?


    2. momentrabbit’s avatar

      I’m beginning to wonder if the digitally simulated recreation of Pink Floyd might adapt ‘Learning to Fly’ for this team…

      That’s a good thing, if context doesn’t disambiguificate. n.n


      1. Falda Flosadottir’s avatar

        I asked around and nobody in the group knew what this was, so I went ahead and threw a few ems at a full archive search to find out. I’m no music expert, and Bell has been known to listen to retro music but not quite this retro, so this was entirely new.

        That was a good suggestion! I’ll play this for the others, later.


      2. Channing’s avatar

        It’s nice to see them off the track a little, with some greenery and such. This is normally such a glass-and-plastic storyline, I think my eyes needed a break.


        1. mmsword.livejournal.com’s avatar

          Odds are that Venus and Neptune will be your big greenery breaks (kelp counts as greenery, right?)


          1. cobaltie.livejournal.com’s avatar

            Oooh, underwater courses would be fantastic. <3


          2. Falda Flosadottir’s avatar

            Callisto is very green, but the route is taking us to Ganymede instead, and I don’t know anything about the ribbon there yet.

            You know, Io has plenty of green in some areas, though I’ve only purchased access to one of them, and it probably was not the best choice. Maybe I will talk more about that later!


          3. cobaltie.livejournal.com’s avatar

            So, I’m sure it was mentioned before, but… ‘The Finest Course’ is a pornoadult entertainment video? Yaz would be a fantastic male lead, given his current clothing options. :-D


            1. Yaz Lenslight’s avatar

              Actually, it wasn’t mentioned before, but it sure as rust wasn’t made for the tykes. And I’m not sure what my clothing has to do with anything, though I will say that I’ve gotten some interesting reactions from people.