Here is the first chapter of my Trill origin story fic. Its very rough atm and I think I’ll finish the whole fic before posting more but feedback on this bit would be gratefully recieved
Excerpts from the The Diary of Tekla Rin
3rd day, 5th Moon, 303,
Plain sunny day was ominous in normality but perhaps that’s hindsight. Light breeze, fluffy clouds. The city was even clear enough to see all the way from my apartment down to the bay which shone a deep vibrant purple. I was nursing a cup of Luva when I received a message from one Julek Burig, a representative of the blandly named Applied Biosciences. I’d heard of them in name only but wasn’t that familiar with them. He was inviting me for a “casual interview” with him at AB’s headquarters. Curious and mindful of my bank balance, I accepted. Rest of the day was spent marking first year’s molecular biology papers.
Dressing in my best business formal dress I took the metro out into the bay. I was travelling just after peak times and the train was mostly full of people like me, going out to the island for specific purposes. Applied Biosciences HQ was a tall building on the Northside of Yzpa Island on the corner of Amethyst View and fifth. Whatever they did (And their network site was not forthcoming) it earned them a lot of money.
The receptionist was crisp and professional and quickly summoned Burig. He was a middle aged man, completely shaven bald and dressed in expensive formalwear. “Doctor Tekla Rin, a great pleasure,” he beamed
“Professor Burig,” I smiled and greeted him
“It’s just Doctor, these days, if you’re being specific,” he said as he lead me out of the lobby and into the lift, taking us up over a dozen floors.
“I thought you were still a visiting lecturer at Lakeview,”
“I’m on their books yes but I haven’t taught there in over a year, my work here at AB has kept me far too busy,”
“And what work is that?” I enquired, almost automatically. I’d found the lack of information quite frustrating.
“I’ll get to that, can I get you a drink,” he said as an assistant appeared
“Just a Luva would be nice please?”
“How do you take it,”
“Oh, bitter, please,”
“Two Luvas please? One bitter one regular?” he said to the assistant and they headed off.
He led me into a nondescript meeting room, its floor to ceiling window was artfully decorated with a DNA helix in frosted glass. The view looked out into the bay across to the Shoreside center. I admired it briefly before taking a seat. It was obvious they were trying to impress me and compared to my home or my office at the university, it worked. A tablet was waiting for him on the tablet. He pulled it close to him and tapped the screen. “Doctor Tekla Rin, assistant lecturer at the school of biology, Shoreside Central University. Graduated top of your class before going on to do your doctorate. Wrote your doctorate thesis on The neural electrical communication methods of the Mak’alan Cave Worm with regards to interaction with Trill.” he looked up at me, “Quite familiar with Mak’ala, Dr Rin?”
“I could tell you the best bars and the best place to get good Luva, that’s where I got in the habit of drinking it bitter. It’s how Maks drink it, with Azna in,” I replied. He smiled and nodded.
“Your paper was a fascinating read, it’s something I’ve pondered as well. The nature of the Cave Worm to attach to larger creatures combined with their ability to communicate with Trill as proven through things like the Jha’zea ritual, you suggest it is possible that the two could be combined,”
“As a thought experiment yes, its generally accepted that the Cave Worms use similar electrocommunication methods as they do with Trill to communicate with larger creatures they connect to which for ease of terminology I call “hosts”, passing on memories of previous hosts to help them identify food sources, predators and so on.”
“Yes whereas with Trill they pass on memories of previous visitors to the caves, especially those who submerge themselves in the pools, potentially going back centuries,”
“Yes, but that’s hardly my work, this has been discussed before, Hysa Zilid wrote a book on it about two years ago, I recommend it,”
“You however go into details about how both the Worms and Trill use Isoboramine to generate neural signals, albeit in a much more,” he paused “dramatic way in the case of the Cave Worms, its fascinating,”
“It was just a thought experiment and I’m quite clear about that throughout, the ethical and culture questions of the use of a Mak’alan Cave Worm, not to mention sourcing one,” I paused, “Is this going where I think it’s going?” I said, an edge of nerves in my voice.
Julek slid the tablet across the table to me. It displayed a detailed document. I read through and found it was a non-disclosure agreement. “This will apply to the rest of the conversation. If you don’t sign it then we end the conversation here and we just discussed your doctorate work.” I thought over this and finally signed it. I didn’t have anything to lose by listening to what he had to say. I slid the tablet back to him. “Applied Biosciences, in conjunction with several other parties are looking to carry out a study into the effects of a long term interaction between Mak’alan Cave Worms and Trill and to study and potential symbiotic relationship” He let this hang in the air briefly “Possibly through surgical implantation of the worm,”
“Thats,” I began. I paused before continuing “To see what memories the Mak’alan cave worm might pass on,”
“Whether the human might be able to pick up memories from the Worm, whether the worm then acted on a third party outside the Worm and Host, to use your term,”
“So you’ve actually sourced a Cave Worm? As in you got it out of Mak’ala?”
“We wouldn’t be talking if we hadn’t gotten over that initial major hurdle,”
“This is,” he slid the tablet back to me and I read through the document presented to me. It was a detailed outline for a “Project Unity” I noted the generic name. “I’ll send a copy to your network address,”
“I’ll have to think on it, of course,”
“Of course, Doctor Rin, read over our proposal over the next few days,” He paused, “do be aware however if you share any of this information to anyone else you will not only end up bankrupt but blacklisted from any academic teaching position in the eastern hemisphere, understood?” he raised an eyebrow. I scratched my spots, a nervous movement.
“The worst I could possibly do is turn you down, don’t worry,” I said, trying to stay calm.
I left quickly after that. I will confess it was genuinely tempting. Ever since I’d written my doctorate paper I’d expended a considerable amount of further time to the concept, thinking it out of reach. The Mak’alan Cave Worms are highly protected on biological and spiritual grounds. I got the metro back across the bay but got off at the shore.
There is a small eatery just off the shoreline that has the trappings of a generic, grimy quick food place but serves some of the best Ryzpin in the entire city. As I entered the moustachioed owner of the eatery greeted me as I entered. “Tekla, you look smart,” he smiled
“I had a meeting at the university, Bolek,” I lied
“Please, and a side of battered Azna,” I took a seat at a table, slightly away from the kitchen. I pulled out my tablet and immediately began reading the documents that doctor Burig had sent me. After a while one of Bolek’s children brought me my food. I kept reading. After a while she returned. “Your Ryzpin is getting cold,” she commented, I turned to face her. Eight or nine “Sorry, bit distracted,” I waved my tablet
“Must be a great story, I usually eat my Ryzpin straight away,”
“Dont bother the lady,” Bolek called out to his daughter,
“It’s okay,” as if to humour her, I picked up one of my battered Azna leaves and ripped them in the little pot of sauce supplied. They had gone cold and the leaves were a little soft. The girl smiled and walked away. I slowly, slowly ate my food. After a while Bolek walked over. “Sorry Tekla, we’re closing for the afternoon”
“Oh! What time is it”
“Ten seventy five,”
“Oh!” I repeated. “Sorry Bolek, lost in my work,” I quickly pocketed my tablet. Paid and left.
Which leaves me here, typing this up. Heaven knows who will read this though. I wish I had another reader to give me another opinion though.