Rude Zuud fragments

Chatter wakes me, tells me a woman is at my lock, asking for water. Her carapace is scorched. Her raiments, burnt. I fetch water. When I return there are five more women. All singed. They say they are from… Deck 12.


There is no Deck 12. I am certain I have seen those faces before. I fetch more water. I return, they are gone. I return to my rack, feeling…. I return to my rack angry at the inconvenience is what I do!


The gentleman Business visited with me. Inconvenient. Why? Why so much talk when there is so much to do? The gentleman Business communicated the belief that… such nonsense… that I must “make peace with what happened on Deck 12.”


Deck 12. Deck 12. What is this Deck 12. Chatter has stopped speaking entirely, then. “It’s all right that you weren’t there, Zuud. That’s what your visitors wanted you to know. The fire was not for y—” Ach! Enough! Nonsense and stupidity and a waste of my time!


So many visitors, every one of them hoping to take something away. Dealing with them is like an uncomfortable dream, while speaking with Chatter is like being shaken awake. Are they real? How real are you, when you’re sleeping? How real are you, floating, dreaming you are somewhere else? That’s what Chatter wants to know.

How did the women at my lock know my name?


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