Get the most recent draft here:
Read the latest words below this line:
“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–what did you say?”
“He kissed me.”
“What? No–before that.”
“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.”