Colours are surreal in their intensity and contrasts are blurred, like a volume has been turned up in my brain. I am playing a musical instrument and the others are the tune. I can see right through people. Resonating on my pitch and timbre.
The light body acts as its own organ.
Mostly they stay anchored, as if they are tethered to sticks and moving in endless revolutions, safe in the knowledge that their circuit is the limit of the universe and anything else is unimaginable. Occasionally something breaks the neutrality, some irrepressible emotion squiggling up around the torso in response to certain applications of tone or meaning.
Trevrezent’s field has more pockmarks than sphere. It is as still as death, cracking the space around him, each hole emanating a ray of light as if he himself is breaking up and becoming light. There is something wrong with it, something disharmonic in its contrasts, its shape — even its stillness suggests the suppression of a tic. By contrast, Stefan’s field looks like a drop of rain as it falls through the air, perfectly smooth and curved with gravity. I melt my field into Trevrezent’s holes with the greatest of care and love, a sculptor repairing a broken vase. I take my time until all the beams of light are contained, and only scars remain. Trevrezent opens his eyes and looks at me in question, his eyes seem somehow … different.
You said that to him? he asks quietly.
What? I ask. Said what to who?
To Grey. Trevrezent looks uncomfortable. That he can … use them … He nods towards the mental patients.
I scoff. What difference does it make? Grey was going to send them back to the asylum. Their lives are better here.
Trevrezent nods in understanding. Yeah, good idea I guess, that’s all he responds to anyway.
The holes are beginning to reappear. Trevor — I say — how did you know that was what I said?
It was there, he said. In the core.
What are you talking about? I ask.
Trevrezent gestures between us, his hand passes through the black square. Herod’s memory core, he says. It’s spreading, you know. What they did — the space is — there’s more, all the time …
I clamp down on a panic that rises suddenly. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to delve in there, I say slowly.
He turns to me, looking rather dumbfounded. I have to — I’m fixing it. Miran’s device, it’s becoming more responsive every time. I think I can fix it, change it back the way it was. It never wanted to be like this.
It doesn’t want, it’s an equation, I say. How can you even be interested in a stupid computer after what we’ve seen with zero-point?
So that’s it then? Trevrezent says rhetorically, waving his hand above his head. Sure, they’re pretty lights, but what’s the good of being with them? In the core, I am the lights. It’s so amazing …
My mind falls onto my first forays with the solo device. Trevor, you don’t go into the core, you don’t go anywhere. It’s all just you, interfacing with yourself — don’t you see?
Trevrezent shakes his head, light bursting from the scars I have just healed. He says, I thought you were different, but you’re not. You’re just like them, dicing it up, trying to control it. Trying to control me. You know, all my life I’ve been nothing but a pathetic, snivelling little coward, validating and being validated by other cowards, our mutual cowardice mushrooming, permeating the world. Afraid of light. Afraid of truth. It has become so all-pervasive that I am convinced that the one single force holding mankind back is fucking politeness.
I realise I’ve never heard him swear before.
He goes on, I don’t want to be like that anymore, I don’t want to be like them. They prefer shadows and secrets and world-murdering lies and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand around watching them do it to — it. And I thought … you of all people, I’m finally stepping out, finally acting out of my own conscience and my own will, and you’re the one who’s blocking me?
I look at him without speaking. His field is a misshapen wreck of light and holes and ridges and scars. Discordant colours streak out of him and abruptly stop at impossible distances, angles. I begin to work at the field again. The flat black square looks on impassively, I can see Trevrezent’s attraction to it. It seems somehow … alive.
What could I say that he hadn’t already said?