Get the most recent draft here:
“Wise gave you a tattoo like that?” Julio said, grabbing the napkin drawing I’d made from me.
“Yeah, I saw it on his hand and as I was dying, asphyxiating on that asteroid with the wrong atmosphere for my biology. He took my hand and said something and the tattoo was on my hand after that and not on his. Well, actually, he took my hand kissed me and then it was on my palm and then I–“
“Wait, you know I’m gay?”
“Of course, Jacob, I knew you were gay when you were 14. What did you say before the kiss part–no, it was Wise who said something. What was it?”
“I don’t remember,” I said. “That moment was honestly pretty intense for me.”
“He gave that to you–it was the same thing that Grona thug gave you back when you were trying to save us.”
“So, if Wise gave you that tattoo tech Wise is from space, too,” Julio said.
“Yeah, well, he’s also from the future.” Julio smiled and shook his head.
“You know, Little Jake, I’ve been part of this world, or this universe, I guess, for a couple of decades now and things still surprise me.”
“So, after I got back from the asteroid, we did a full scan of me and Jill and Jim figured out that I had been changed somehow. Later, when I was being held by the Galak-Ga, Dr. Green told me I had become half Conva. That tattoo gave me the ability to change myself.”
“No, no, you got the tattoo after you had been programmed by the Firarian tech, remember? The tattoo switched it off somehow.”
“Then it, it turned it back on, when Wise gave it to me again,” I said, standing up.
“Wait–where are you going?” Julio asked.
“I need to find Dot. She’s tight with Wise. I want to find out if she knows what happened.”
Minutes later, Julio and I had found Dot in the hangar working on her space car.
“The thing that looks like a play button on an old VCR? Yeah, I know what it is. Lots of people have them where I come from. It’s called a Conveniencer.” She held up her left hand and we could see she had the same tattoo. “I have one myself.”
“What is it? What does it do?” I asked.
“It’s sort of like what folks in this time period call a biohack. The particles of ink that make up the tattoo are actually made of tiny computers that can interface with your biological systems and do all kinds of things if you know how to code for them. Why do you ask?”
“No reason, really,” Julio said. “I just remember seeing one once many years ago–like almost fifteen years ago… on a Grona.”
“A Grona? Wow, I wonder why a Grona would be interested in a Conveniencer. That’d be like a professional wrestler using a laser scalpel. Grona just aren’t into subtle body mods, like that.”
“So how would he have had one?” Julio asked.
“Beats me, man. It’s a mystery.”
Get the most recent draft here:
It was decided pretty quickly that there were two ways to go about gathering more intelligence on the War Conva and their plans. The first option was to find actual Conva on this side, either War or Peace Conva, but preferably War, for obvious reasons. The second option would be to start doing reconnaissance on our own in the Fire Escape Dimension. That was my preference, just because I like to cut throught he crap and get straight to the point. We want to find out what they’re planning? Let’s go look at what they are up to.
Of course, regular humans creeping around over there might have a hard time not being spotted. But then, I am part Conva, logically, I should have an easy time over there—or so I thought.
“That’s the thing, Little Jacob, you’re not Conva.”
“What do you mean?” I was getting pretty tired of having my concept of reality challenged every other day. I think this conversation was over dinner that night. I don’t remember why but it was just Julio and I. And yep, Julio was now pretty much a member of Team J at that point.
“Jill never told you the whole story, clearly.”
“Clearly,” I said. “So, what am I missing?”
“You were really into working for me all those years ago.”
I smiled. “I remember, Hu. Those two summers were the best of my life to this day.”
“No, you don’t remember. That is by design.”
“So, you were really psyched to learn more about the exo-tech we were trading in. It wasn’t enough for you to be around it. You wanted to know as much as you could about it.”
“Yeah, Jill and I both were really into it.”
“Well, think about it. She stayed into and you didn’t—why?”
“I don’t know,” I said, thinking for a moment and then adding: “It just stopped being a priority for me. I lost interest.”
“If only it was that simple, Little Jacob. If only it weren’t the absolute opposite.”
“I’m getting tired of asking ‘what do you mean?’ Hu. Please stop giving me a reason to ask it,” I said.
“You were so much like your sister. Either you wanted to follow in her footsteps or you may have just been really into tech on your own. Regardless, you got into it. And you got into it, too much. So much, it changed who you are on a biological level.
Get the most recent draft here:
“Really, Little Jacob? How do you know it’s true?” Julio asked.
“When we spoke with Mary Manchester one of the members of the UN’s Human Negotiating
Team, tasked with working out a peace deal with the Conva, she said that very thing to us.”
“Did she say anything about the ecological disaster, itself?” Julio asked.
“Nothing specific. I don’t think she knew anything specific.”
“She didn’t seem to me to care about the specifics,” KJ said. “It was like she was willing to work with them or to trust them. At least, that was the vibe I got.”
“Fair enough,” Julio said. “But we’re going to need some of those specifics if we want to make the best decisions moving forward.”
“Do the Conva have a news media?” KJ asked.
“Yes, but their media is a bit like hours in that they can’t report on things they don’t know about. If they did, we could just ask anyone on the street of the Fire Escape Dimension and they would tell us.”
“This is just like how Exxon knew about global warming in the 1970s but never told anyone. Reporters couldn’t report on that either.”
“It sounds like our job just got more complicated,” KJ said. “Now we got to tell the whole Conva people the truth some how.”
“Let’s stay on t-topic here, KJ. We need to find out what their plans are with our dimension.”
“Yeah, but if everyone knew they could be a good tool against what ever cover up they must be doing to keep this disaster secret.”
“Priorities!” Green yelled suddenly. We all looked over at her, each of us very startled. She saw how surprised we were and smiled. “I was looking for right word and… found it.”
Jill smiled. “Exactly. First things, first. We start with finding out what their specific plans are and if we can learn more about this coming disaster, we do it. If not, that’s n-next.”