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I wonder… would the mythic heroes of ancient Greece or Rome or America have given their deaths to save their brethren? I met Whistler in the seaside village of Mezkor, on the western coast of the supercontinent.
There was nothing mysterious about why Deepspace Development Corporation had been so eager to send a survey team. Yet another reason I am a cynic: cynicism provides a convenient facade for cowardice to hide behind.
On the morning the trouble started, we were walking a familiar stretch of beach near the village: sand glistening like snow, sun shining down so hot and bright that the ocean sparkled like a molten mirror.
Synobians looked remarkably humanoid, considering the vagaries of evolution: two arms, two legs, bipedal gait.
Riddles within riddles… or so it seemed, after the translator finished tying his meaning into knots. After a long day of misunderstanding Whistler in ways variously novel and familiar, I sought the only solace available on a remote survey mission: a fistful of aspirin and a bottle of synthetic scotch. Dexter pulled the orb from my shaking hands, teeth gleaming inside a dark tangle of moustache and beard.
I stowed the ghost stones in back of the skimmer - under Whistler's careful scrutiny - then steered us in the direction he pointed: over the forest, toward the cliffs that ran along the coast north of A Camp.
Hordes of insectile creatures poured from the mound, swarmed over Krysta's body in wriggling profusion.
We dragged our macabre cargo through the forest despite the moonless night, our path lit by the eerie glow of luminescent fungi. I programmed the medibots as best I could to recognize the offending organs, then injected them into Whistler's neck.
I passed my vigil leaning against the trunk of a mushroom fern, listening to a symphony of unseen creatures prowl the alien night. I have since often pondered what life was like for Lazarus after the world moved on to other miracles. Dexter Conley emerged from the shadows beneath the cliffs, followed by a younger man: Paul Killian, the rookie supervisor Jenny Margolis had left in charge. Dexter waded out into the tide, stomping and flailing and cursing in the area where Krysta's stone had disappeared. A glistening island of silver flesh breached the sea behind him, rising up and up, like a mountain spawned by the titanic collision of undersea continents. We've learned a great deal since Dexter - may he roast in Hell - pointed us in the right direction. Dating back to around 2500 BC, the Ebla tablets provide very important information regarding the history of religions. From a special organ known as the melon in a dolphin's head, it transmits as many as 200,000 sound waves a second.
The dolphin's wave-interpretation system is so effective that it can even follow one particular fish from among an entire school. In the present day, the instrument known as SONAR70 is used to identify targets and their directions for ships and submarines.
Imagine that someone told you that under the sea, sound waves travel at 1,500 meters a second; then asked you to calculate, if your submarine sent out sound waves that came back in four seconds' time, how far away was the object that reflected them. The shuttle-shaped body structure of dolphins earns them the ability to move very swiftly in water. A sudden pressure likely to effect the rapidly swimming dolphin is cushioned as it is transmitted into the inner layers. After a four-year research, German submarine engineers managed to make a synthetic coating with the same feature. Just use half the amount recommended by Radians (as the bud takes up space in the ear canal too). Terran history preaches again and again that the most courageous sacrifice a human being can make is to give his life for the lives of others. The natives seemed to have no use for the interior, and that was exactly the part of the planet for which DDC Management lusted. The bloody thing still could not untangle the spaghetti of Synobian grammar; its lexicon remained limited and imprecise. Slick salamander skin buried beneath a carpet of symbiotic sproutlings that drew nutrients from dead epidermal cells in exchange for protecting their host from the relentless sun.
We stood in silence, watching some of Whistler's fellow villagers frolic in the surf a few hundred meters from shore.
At first glance, it looked like the biggest pearl I had ever seen: twenty centimeters across, shimmering with nacreous luster. I went straight to my berth and collapsed on the bunk, exhausted to the marrow, yet - as pathetic as it sounds - I was afraid to sleep. Dexter fidgeted beside Jenny while three members of her team trained laser pistols on the Synobians. An area we had scrupulously avoided, since Whistler made it clear from the first days of contact that it contained hallowed ground. Dexter - and whoever had helped him sabotage the skimmer, a feat which bespoke a technical expertise far beyond his depth - would be waiting.
I tried to analyze her condition with the medikit, but Synobian physiology did not lend itself to analysis with human medical tools.
We brought her to a clearing with a large earthen mound near its center, at least two meters in diameter.
I could barely see what lay beneath the mass of chitinous scavengers… and still, I saw too much.
He probably meant what he said, but the substances used to erase memories were very unpredictable.
Its lower ring of eyes fixed on the tiny human floating beneath them as immense jaws parted, as saliva mixed with brine cascaded in a dozen waterfalls between rows of spiny teeth.


He would not let Killian and me bundle him into the skimmer until we had finished what we came to do. I wonder, as I brood over this final entry in my mission log, if the Saviors immortalized by history are created by actions, or events, or both.
This style can provide the client acoustic seal while adapting to any problem areas in the external ear’s shape.
Simply by moving its head, this creature is able to transmit the waves in the direction it wishes. It can also distinguish between two separate metal coins, three kilometers away in the pitch dark. Roman Kuc, a professor and electronic engineer equipped the robot with a sonar system imitating the one used by dolphins.
Dolphins are also capable of comfortably performing similar calculations, but they know neither the speed at which their sound waves travel through the water, nor how to multiply and divide. This coating was made up of two rubber layers and between the layers were bubbles similar to the skin cells of the dolphin.
All of which involved a separate trip to the audiologist to have specially-made molds of my ears created for the monitors to be made from.
Triby is similar to Amazon's Echo, Echo Dot and Tap devices, but adds in some extra features like an LCD display, preset buttons and more. Aside from one true continent and a smattering of volcanic islands, the sea covered everything, from fathomless trenches to the shallows above submerged continental plates that had drowned eons before the first Synobian drew breath. Central mountain ranges concealed a geologic treasure trove: gold, silver, platinum, copper, juicy veins of high-grade ore. Several clung to the massive dorsal ridge of a trylvol: a whale-like creature with half a dozen eyes completely circling its swollen cranium, reminiscent of a beluga with an overactive pituitary. I can't figure out what I'm dealing with… ancestor worship, afterlife mythology, tribal gods, animism? Sits back there in civilization, with his giga-buck salary, designer drugs, designer women…. I saw no choice but to continue, relying on the cover of the forest and Whistler's home field advantage.
Two glandular organs on either side of her neck were pumping large doses of an unfamiliar hormone into her system. I lurched into the protective embrace of the forest, following Whistler as quickly as my trembling legs could manage. As we followed the thunderous call of the ocean, I saw the misery in Whistler's eyes and wondered whether I had saved him or condemned him to a fate more tragic than I could fathom.
Below us, beach stretched to the north and south, undulating with the coastline like an albino serpent. I prayed silently with all my might that he would not find it, that at least Whistler might die with that small measure of consolation. He shrilled a song of victory and vengeance, a sound so giddy with emotion it made my skin crawl. Whistler lay stubbornly bleeding in the sand while we unworthy humans threw the rest of the ghost stones into the sea.
Will trylvols someday gather - far beyond the sight of land - to sing their haunting tributes to the child who gave everything to protect their aggregated souls from damnation? When the sound waves strike a solid object, they are reflected and return to the dolphin, the bottom of whose jaw acts as a receiver.
They don't carry out any of these functions; all the animals do is behave the way God inspires them. The inner layer is thick and made up of flexible hair which makes this layer look like a plastic-haired comb. A 250% increase in the speed of submarines was observed in those in which these coatings were used. These visits had to be scheduled and involved a commute to have pink goo injected into my ear canal. He also ran the kitchen - easy duty, since the meals practically prepared themselves - and served as unofficial bartender.
How's he expect you to reason with a walking compost heap?" I felt my temper smoldering, fed by the scotch in my belly, but I was too exhausted to give Dexter a lecture on universal tolerance.
Me, it just seemed a little spooky, but Johnson in Precious Metals recycled his lunch after thirty seconds, tops. Laser burns had stripped away sproutlings from her abdomen, leaving charred patches that seeped purplish fluid. I caught up with him near our encampment, relieved that we would soon be on our way, putting kilometers between ourselves and that wretched stretch of woods. The bones did not just glisten: they shone in the twilight as if they had been carved from mother-of-pearl. Waves thundered against the sand, foaming and bubbling as they slipped back into the cerulean embrace of the sea. The trylvol writhed in surf too shallow to support its bulk, a great fleshy tanker run aground. A release of hormones triggers a pupal stage: the body dies while the skull seals around a brain that is undergoing drastic chemical and structural changes. The organs in his neck were the harbingers of change, secreting the hormone to initiate his glorious transfiguration. He has warned the trylvols about us: what we have come for, and what we may take if we are not stopped. His headaches grow worse as the brain imprisoned in his skull presses out against the shell of an egg that will never hatch…. Since there are no retainer areas on this mold in the helix or concha a long canal is recommended for retention purpose.
The canal portion of a shell mold is reduced to a tubing size for part of the canal length.


The molds were then shipped and took many weeks of waiting for the monitors to be manufactured and shipped back to me. Blurry images paraded past my eyes: jagged cliffs, thundering seascapes, jungles bursting with flora I could not name. The bastards who pump us through i-space to make their fortunes owe us a lot more than a little scavenging on the side!
I knelt beside Whistler and activated the translator, wondering if Dexter's glare would burn a hole in the back of my head.
When I asked Whistler, he indicated that they were vital to her welfare, and I knew with numb certainty that random tinkering on my part could only make matters worse. I could only follow Whistler with my eyes as he approached the naked skeleton of his brood sister. Blood oozed from the blackened stump like blueberry syrup to stain the sand a deep burgundy. Dexter swam farther from shore, dove, let out a whoop as he broke the surface with a shimmering oval in one hand. Trylvol digestive enzymes weaken the shell sufficiently for the metamorphosed brain to emerge, wend its way through the trylvol's sinus passages, and assume its rightful place. He knew I could not save the rest of his brood siblings without his help, so he had me destroy his only chance to join them. This mold offers the dispenser the benefits of a Free Field Mold, a Janssen Mold and variable venting.
Thanks to the enormous speed at which these data are interpreted, very accurate and sensitive information is obtained. Perhaps that explained Mystery Number One: villages ringed the coast of the supercontinent, but we had yet to locate one more than a hundred kilometers inland.
An electric tingle traveled up my arms and down my spine, rising in intensity, pulsing like the beat of some invisible heart. You may have more degrees than the average stellar core… but out here, you're still a grunt. He pulled out one of the two orbs nestled within and stroked its surface with the reverence of a temple acolyte. For just an instant, at the edge of the clearing, I paused to look back at our fallen comrade.
He took one step toward Dexter, stone held out like a child slaughtered to appease an evil god. Many brains assemble in the massive cranial cavity of a single host: five trylvols hold the majority of clan Mezkor. The sound waves let the dolphin determine the direction of movement, speed and size of the object that reflects them. A thousand shattered memories fought to assemble a consciousness that belonged to someone else. He wandered onto the beach with the reverent steps of a pilgrim who has finally reached the holy shrine. They will sell DDC those precious rights to the minerals locked beneath the skin of the supercontinent. We were close now to whatever sacred place Whistler had been guiding us; I could hear the muffled roar of the ocean in the distance, could smell its briny tang. He stared at the immense wake of the diving trylvol, and something collapsed inside him… something that had been waiting for one more little push. As I flailed away in horror, one emotion dogged my escape after all the rest had evanesced into oblivion. Patches of its bony surface - especially those in areas where no bone had any right to be - bore the unmistakable sheen of fresh growth. Whistler gazed up at me with large, liquid eyes that would have looked haunted on any creature's face. The ghost stone catapulted out over the churning foam and splashed into the surf at least ten meters from shore.
But those rights will be contingent on an irrevocable ban against exploitation of the ocean. Finally I began to understand: he wanted me to remove the strange organs at the sides of his neck. The SonoFit system produces custom fitted eartips without the assistance of an audiologist. This is due to the fact the formation process locks everything into place, just as you want the finished earpieces to sit. The next step is to remove the PCS-200 (now) custom-fitted earpieces from the SonoFit headset. They do not stay set within my ears, as they sit on the outside of my ear canal instead of in them.
This leads to, at best, poor to mediocre sound quality since they do not set properly in my ears. When I force the eartips into my ears, the openings where the sound comes out is up against the wall of my ear and I cannot hear a thing.
If I manipulated them right over the opening to my inner ear, they momentarily sounded very good. Once I removed the force holding them in place, they lose their seal and returned to sounding fair. They are made well enough, but to be painfully honest, there are better alternatives (that would be more or less a sure thing) at the $200-$300 price range.



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