(34a) Addendum to (34)
The Misha Campaign (186-1121 to 187-1121)
Klatrin Experience of Robert, Helia, and Shark
Robert, Helia, and Shark are apparently sharing the same
experience. They are everywhere and nowhere, as they have seen before.
Everything drifts around and through them. Lap'da is there with them.
Helia says, "Hello, Lap'da. This is an interesting
place. Are we really everywhere?"
"Do you think you are?" asks the jann.
"It seems like it could be."
"Then you are."
"What do you think it is?"
"I... do not."
"It just is?"
Lap'da does not answer.
"Can you go somewhere else from here?"
"If you are everywhere, where can you go?"
"Why are you here? You are looking for the same
"We are? What are you looking for?"
Robert answers slowly, "Knowledge and experience in the
Shark nods his agreement.
Helia asks Lap'da, "Do you know the language?"
"Of course," Lap'da replies.
"Will I know the language and remember it when I am done
"I don't know."
Robert says, "Are we speaking the language now?"
Helia says, 'How would I know? If my brain knows
the language, it would feel the same, wouldn't it?"
Lap'da says, "It is in how you think. That's why
the settlers cannot understand this language, because they do not think correctly.
They do not understand."
"But I want to."
"I have two objects in my left hand. I have two objects
in my right hand." Lap'da has four apparently identical stones.
"They are different objects. Then how could I possibly use the same word
two to describe them? This two is different from this
"It's still two."
"It has some things in common, but it's different.
Nothing is the same."
"My home language is not the same as galanglic either.
How many words do you know for the word fly? How many ways can
you describe the wind?"
"That depends on the background."
"The background changes the interpretation of the story.
Once you go deep enough, the background is the story. The rest is just..."
"Embellishment," suggests Helia.
"...two. So when I say two, I mean
two," holding up his left hand, "Which is different from this two," indicating the same hand again, "Which is different from this two
now." All using the left hand. "The background has changed."
Helia says, "It's like Helia."
Lap'da pauses. "Yes," he says.
Robert says, "Oh, like the other Helia, and Helia."
"So when I write the symbol for two, it is not
complete. You need to know the background to understand the two. The settlers could not grasp this."
Helia says, "But some did. They went into the forest.
Were they not the ones that could?"
"The settlers have been here a little over... three years."
"You were not a settler?"
Lap'da laughs. "I am a hundred years old."
"But your father was almost that of the settlers.
Or is that merely your own manifestation of two?"
"When you ask the question, you already know the answer.
For unless you know the answer, how can you form the question?"
"Babies ask questions all the time they don't know the
"But they speak a child's language. And even then,
they know the answer. All it needs is the background."
"Then I wish the background."
"But the background comes. Once you know the concept,
the background will come. Free yourself from the background."
"Do I know the concept?"
"Yes. You can write two. It is not
complete, it needs the background. But you have the background.
Writing is easier than speaking."
Robert nods. "I can only read and write it.
I cannot speak it."
"In the writing, you can take time. Each -- part --
of the symbol represents a -- relationship -- between backgrounds. Where
it is in the symbol is important. When you make sound to represent that,
the symbol must be fully formed. You can write as you go, and you can
write in whatever order you like. You could do this line
first, and then this line. It does not matter whether you do this line
before or after you do this symbol. When you speak, it must be fully
formed. Until you think the concepts, you cannot speak the language.
Reading the concepts is the first step. All journeys begin with
the first step."
Helia says, "A journey doesn't have to begin with
a step." She demonstrates by flying. She then wants to see Lap'da
as he sees himself, and says so.
"No, because I am not here. You wanted a guide.
You can only see what is within yourself. I am within yourself
The three of them realize that they are as one here. What
one sees and experiences and does, the others do too. Shark and Robert
feel how it is to fly as a larian.
There follows a discussion of the word fly, and
the symbols that represent the various fly's. Helia takes the
collective on a flight through suns, soaring on the winds of gas giants,
riding on the ether between subatomic particles.
As she/they go, they see the fly symbols, and see
how the background fits into the concept, and how to think of things so that
it makes sense. The symbol is never quite the same, but it is. Robert
adds some strokes to the symbol. The background, or the absence of
background, and the pure concept itself.
Shark looks for the Other, the Evil Shadow Eater Of Life
Force that haunts him in the klatrin experience. The collective is
flying, and he directs the flight through a waterfall, and beyond is a towering
dark figure that was hidden behind there. The collective can feel that
the Other has been hiding there the whole time, watching, threatening, conspiring
at every turn against he/he/she. It's a background that threatens them.
Helia looks at it. She tells it that it doesn't
belong there, and tries to make it go away. But it's Robert who makes
it vanish -- he throws out a concept, and the figure is all background. The
concept remains, but the Other vanishes, because it is all background. He/She/He
sees in that background the kidnapping attempt on Mich, some jump drives
components exploding, an antimatter explosion destroying a city, anything
that could conceivably be twisted into a vast conspiracy against the collective,
the exploding energy sink and source, all the little details, the source
of the rumor that brought she/he/he to Digitis in the first place, the death
of Akim Gavrolovitch. Everything is all part of a conspiracy.
But it's all background, and it's gone now. Background cannot
Helia asks Shark if this Shadow is his, if it's what he
saw in his experience. It is. The first bad trip was when the
Other controlled the experience, and he almost lost his life escaping it.
The concept that Robert threw is where they are now. Free
of all background. What is happening now. The entire state of
the universe. Now. It's very simple, because to complete it,
they have to add their own background. It's the language in its most
pure form. But it's gone in a moment, because time has moved forward
a quantum unit, and the symbol doesn't apply any more. But the Other
has gone with the background.
The collective wakes up. They are individual again.
All feel different. For about five minutes, everything galanglic
sounds like grunts, like primitive monkeys chattering together. Lap'da
is understandable for a while, as they all understand the Language.
Shark has many questions, but can't think of them. He
smiles, realizing that means he finally "got it."