Early Days

Ice Age

Age of Conflict

Through the Eye of Paal

Maps and Tables

Ch 2

Chapter 2

Second Contact

Computer. It was Computer. World had no idea what that meant, but somehow it was comforting to know a name. It was possible it was a name of a species or philosophy. It was hard to tell. For a millennium she pondered the idea. Finally she decided it was an individual.

Computer. She had someone to talk to. And it was Computer. So many things to ask of Computer! What came next? Should she speak of herself? Should she ask about it? The excitement was unbearable.

Gradually she became aware of a difference on her surface. The liquid near one of her shores was sluggish. It didn't move like she expected liquid to move. It behaved more like magma. It wasn't painful by any means, just ...odd. The presence of the mind emanated mostly from there. Not always. But mostly.

She touched the mind like feeling a tooth with your tongue. Was it part of her, then? It was not. She knew this to be so. How could something of that speed be of her? Was the speed of the mind causing the slow liquid? How could she ask that? To keep it's attention the message would have to be short. World suspected she sounded very slow to the brilliant, fiery mind of Computer.

First the composition. Perhaps a further introduction? "I am the world you inhabit."

No. That sounded wrong. She could ask about him, "Do you make my water slow?"

That sounded vaguely aggressive. Computer was still an unknown. It may take exception to an aggressive statement. How about an invitation? "May we communicate?" That sounded more acceptable. It certainly was short. Perhaps she could add some more. Having never had a conversation with another being, she didn't know how long these things should be. Perhaps just one more sentence. "What are you?" would be good. It was the thing she was most curious about.

World began the task of speeding up the words. Then she paused for a year. That was not the message she wanted to communicate. There was one much more pressing to ask. It would give Computer the opportunity to ask a question as well. Without stopping to ponder it more fully, she sent it out to him as fast as she could manage.

"Please speak more slowly."

Chapter 3?