MISC: The Girl Who Saved the World...5

George Phillies phillies at 4liberty.net
Sun Nov 8 21:08:33 PST 2015

Green – slices, scrapes, abrasions … my skin is being returned to 
perfection as I lie in bed.  My face was cleaned up by the Namestone 
before I faced the Martyr, but the rest of me was my problem.  The 
matrix was healing everything, way faster than I’d heal naturally. I’d 
still need a week to recover.

Major knock-down, drag-out fight?  That was the cue.  I was home and 
safe. I dropped my mind out-of-body. Actually, the preset really did not 
give me much choice in that.  I had done mind control on myself, to 
ensure that whenever I was in a really serious fight, escaped, and got 
back here safe, I would for sure do certain things, whether I wanted to 
or not. If someone had planted mind controls on me, I probably broke 
them when I left my body behind.  The preset grabbed my gifts and ran a 
scan fast as thought to see what might have been inserted into my 
mind-space. Yes, the scan runs at the speed of thought, but it has a lot 
of mind to scan.  Meanwhile, I hovered above my body, looking into my 
momentarily sightless silver-gray eyes and platinum-white eyelashes, 
listening to me breathe, ever so slowly.

Done. Control of my mind returned to me.  There was a way to break the 
mind control, if things went wrong, but everything had gone the way it 
was supposed to.  Mum had been very careful about showing me exactly how 
to arrange that preset, because potentially it was very dangerous to its 
user.  I dropped back into my body, wiggled fingers and toes, and 
blinked twice.  Everything worked.

Gifts?  I shouldn’t even consider calling any of them.  Not flight.  Not 
teleportation.  Not any of the neat ways I can seriously wreck things. 
Not force field – well, there’s a low-level screen tacking my ribs and 
my shoulder together.  Just before I left Atlanticea I had pushed my 
shields way deep, much deeper than I had expected to need them, calling 
my gifts toward their limits. I could go way deep right now if I 
absolutely had to, but if I do I’m going to hurt myself.
There was a warning flag -- my second-level shields had engaged. 
What?...then I remembered.  It was the most wonderful memory in the 
world.  Or would have been, if everything didn’t hurt so much, not to 
mention I was totally exhausted. I’d solved the Maze, the Maze that 
defeated Julius Caesar and Cortez and Jackie Fisher and the French 
Imperial Guard.  I’d reached the Tomb, and been given the Namestone, 
that palm-size sphere of crystalline sky, from the hands of the Martyr. 
  I’d recovered the Namestone, the Key To Paradise, something no one 
else in the history of the world had ever come close to doing.

Finally, I climbed the Outer Stairs, out of the Maze into the waking 
world, wisps of cloud an incandescent white ahead of me. At that point I 
was sufficiently wrecked up that climbing those stairs was incredibly 
hard. Before I did the Maze, I had zerolined all of my gifts, flat as 
possible.  Anything I called, the Maze could call back at threefold the 
power level, and I was not going to give the Maze any advantages.

  As I climbed the stairs,  I was desperately trying to recover my power 
levels.  I could barely crack The Sky open.  Then with an effort that 
left me dizzy and gasping for breath I managed to reach down to The 
Breaking Wave. I am not embarrassed to say that mind control to suppress 
pain was the first of my gifts that I called. Just before I sliced the 
last fellow open from guggle to zatch, he had gut-punched me.  Hard. 
After my next step I managed to call life support. With the broken ribs 
it hurt too much to breathe.  Once I didn’t need to breathe,  I could 
focus.  I remembered to look at the Medico rules engine.  It would have 
been truly stupid to bleed to death at this point. Medico reported that 
I was not dying.  Perhaps the Namestone would have protected me until I 
finished climbing the Outer Stairs. I wasn’t counting on it.

I kept reaching for power levels, further and further down. They came 
more easily. The Sea of Grass, The Temple, The Sun, and The Matrix 
opened up.  GR, I did not forget to bring up my shields.  I might have a 
reception committee.  Before I reached the top of the stairs, I was sort 
of back to normal.  I could touch all the power levels I can normally 
reach. I just couldn’t tap them for very much.  Not yet.  I could go way 
deep into my gifts if I had to.  I hoped I didn’t.

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