Chapter Five – Part Two (sorry for the delayed post, doesn’t happen too often!)
Elspeth just having escaped from a nightmare (true dream?) where she was being sucked into boggy ground, is now being absorbed by a bubble from the mindstream. Of course we could hope that it is about Straaka/Miryum, but it is invariably about Cassy (though it could still be useful). But this is a special dream because this is one of the latest ones we have seen of Cassy, around the same time the strange one of her in the compartment. Wherever she is though, she is just a visitor, as some man points out that she can’t be in this ‘off limits’ corridor. And immediately it is revealed that there is a stasis-lab, so cryogenics is real then? What a revelation!
She follows the man’s instructions, and finds herself face-to-face with a Beforetime tecknoguilder who we have seen before, but Cassy isn’t really supposed to be here. Cassy is ‘just here’ to get a book from her, and bring her coffee. In the process she stole her father’s access card, so where is he then? What is going on? Doktaruth, can’t show her around, since the cameras footage will be scrutinised, especially since they are installing cryosleep pods. And this seriously must be what Cassy was found in the next dream, and maybe what Miryum is in too.
I am really envious of Doktaruth and her collection of antique books, that is something I aspire to collect! Even if they are all mostly on cryogenics, something I’m not so interested in. But the books Doktaruth is going to share with Cassy are on a memory seed, and Cassy has a birthday present, some poetry for her. What I can’t believe is some people now think of paper as unhygienic, sure they could technically harbour germs, basically everything can! But we are starting to learn more about what Doktaruth is working on, “The Eden Project”, which I assume is some sort of cryogenic future, which I’m not too keen on. They are currently testing on animals, and it seems to work! Now they have a facility for this project, so they can move on to the next phase, which I’m guessing involves humans, and maybe Cassy. Currently the two Agyllians were sent to the Cryopods, and it was leaked that the government had these rare birds, but their spin masters made sure it was a ‘good thing’ there was experimentation, so the government always wins.
And this is quite interesting because it seems that these are the last remaining Agyllians/Flame birds, so Atthis and the others we have seen, must have come from the few that the government kept. Sadly though, they all seem to die of tumours, something that I don’t think is happening with Atthis, though it is probably their exposure to humans that causes the tumours, and if left alone, they would be fine. The next stage is those with life-threatening illnesses, which I guess is the aim of cryogenics, but I personally am not in support of this, yeah I don’t want people to suffer or anything, but we can’t live forever for a reason. Plus this is all experimental, and these people have no idea what’s going to happen to them, yes they might have life-threatening illnesses and may die anyway, but this could just make everything worse. Even if they have been testing animals for over a decade it seems, humans are very different, and how long would these people need to wait before they could be cured? It could take thousands of years, and who is going to pay for and maintain the pods? It is not like they can guarantee you’ll ever wake up and get cured, because what about the Great White and all?
Cassy is still very eager to see the Agyllians, and I think that she will, and maybe she’ll set them free, and they’ll settle themselves and make the population we know and love (speaking of which, what is happening with Atthis?). And this seriously must be close to the Great White since the Sentinel program is about to be uploaded, and given access to the BoT arsenal, maybe it happened straight away, as it saw that the best way was just to wipe out nearly everything? I mean clearly the people who are involved were concerned about that, so they aren’t making it a full uplink since that would remove them from the equation. Then, if all goes well, it will be installed in a remote, secure location. Clearly something went wrong though, sure a computer might be safer than corrupt governments, but with a computer there is no emotion holding a person back (sometimes there isn’t anyway), and clearly it didn’t object to a full scale attack. But we do learn something, Ines is over a century old! So clearly they are hundreds of years into the future, but the Sentinel is a whole new generation of computer, it has a lot more information gathering capacity, and it is touted as being able to develop intellectually (see how that turned out), so if Elspeth has to go up against it, good luck to her!
It also seems that governments aren’t concerned with the BoT being used to wipe out large areas, because the Eden project has been cataloguing all the plants and animals so that they can be reintroduced if they are wiped out. Not exactly the way to think about ecology, but at least they aren’t just wiping everything out. Even without humans, the computer can take over and release things, which is an exciting process! What if that is going to happen soon? But that would mean the Sentinel Program would have control, and right now that wasn’t going to happen. I love Cassy’s approach though, why didn’t they just get rid of the weapons, or learn how to use them effectively? So simple, and yet ‘too difficult’, as the countries are too suspicious of one another and stockpile them back up.
Elspeth is woken up by Ceriwan with some disturbing news. There are a host of riders who are approaching, and they think it might be a gang of renegades here for a raid. I hope it isn’t, since they seem to have some gunpowder, but hopefully it is much better, and it is Rushton! But Elspeth isn’t taking any chances, and is alerting everyone to get ready for whatever is coming. Certainly it was an interesting chapter, plenty of new information from the dream, but still lots of questions!