May. 25th, 2009

"So what do you think?"

"It hangs together." Michael is nuking a mug of hot water so he can pour hot chocolate mix into it; the cordless phone is a heavy weight in his hand. "It certainly hangs together."

He can hear murmured side conversation, and then Greg is back. "So... what comes next? What do we do?"

Yes. That is the question. And it's his to answer, because somewhere along the line, they put him in charge.

"I--

"Are we sure?" he asks. "Not 90% or 99, but entirely sure? Because if I tell Susannah, or I tell Charlie, something drastic may happen. And if we're not--"

"We can go over the translations," Greg says uncertainly. "See if anything new comes into focus with this lens. Confirm or deny." He sounds doubtful, because he's pretty sure this is it, and so is Michael, to tell the truth.

It's just so--

"I can't really believe," he says, "that there isn't something else. I don't think you're wrong," he says hurriedly, because they're doing amazing work; he's humbled by them. "I don't think so. But there has to be something else. Some other factor we're missing.

"I can't believe that in two hundred years, those children could become... that. So deranged and diseased."

"Well, we were talking, uh, aliens," Greg says reluctantly. "I mean, the byrus, and the Tommyknockers. But that seems a little... I mean, Occam's Razor..."

"I know." Michael takes off his spectacles and rubs his temples. "I know. Just. Go back to the translations. See if this unlocks anything new. Maybe--what was that word? The one we couldn't get?"

"An-cal." Encell, Michael hears. "Chamber," he says. "Heart, maybe. And something to do with breath. And... mutuality; sharing something in a closed group."

"The can calah are angels." Behind him, someone is shouting about callas, about Calvin Toren and Pere Callahan. "And cam is good, right? Cam-a-cam-mal."

So if the goodmind is beneficial linking of multiple minds into one big shared mood, then ancal would be, perhaps, something one step further. Not the goodmind but one shared beating heart.

And what if it's already awake? Or the act of warning them wakes it up?

They must not encell!

I will tell them, Michael decides, when I am sure. But not before. "Thanks, Greg," he says, as heartfelt as he is capable of being right now. "Thank you all."

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