NaNoRiMo, Day 14: 1,770 / 33,660.

Clawed my way back up a little today. Just have to sustain for a while.


“There is news, Wind-Walker Tanaka. Traces of xenobellis occisor ellisonium have been found at Mr. Sild’s wilderness site.” The Process sometimes ‘forgets’ to announce itself when it’s giving dire enough news. I think it’s a relic of its older programming: social niceties aren’t compatible with urgent information, no matter how unsettling it is.

And this bit of information counted as ‘unsettling.’ “What? Deathheart’s not native to this part of One-Eighteen. Or is it?”

“Technically, deathheart is not ‘native’ to this planet at all. The flower originated on 956-G-004, according to the Surviving Archive.” Read: according to the Amalgamation’s equivalent of a children’s library. One that had been briefly on fire. Whatever it was that had killed the Amalgamation had been thorough. “But it does not survive in the wild on this planet, except on a single island. No visits have been logged to the island, and there have been no lapses in the satellite footage.”

I bet there hadn’t been, I thought. Deathheart is a very pretty black and red flower with a lovely, neurotoxin-laden smell that can knock out a human at five paces. A few drops of that neurotoxin can stop somebody’s heart, no fuss, no muss, the victim just falls over, dead — and the poison will break down completely within a half hour. The God-damned stuff is everywhere in the Tomb Worlds, too. The best guess was that it had been a prized ornamental flower. Or maybe they used it for easy suicides. Or it’s just fatal to humans. Take your pick; it’s not like there’s anybody to ask.