Confidential Communication From: Concordia Bly, Junior Special Agent, Tal Sharnis Bureau To: Chiku Kinuthia, Department of Occult Research, Leonis Base Subject: Mission Accomplished! Hey Girl, I did the thing! That’s right, now you can brag that you’re friends with the agent who closed the ThingTown Abyss. I’m sending you a complete report with all the technical details, but while you wait for that, let me regale you with the non-technical details of how it went down... First of all, at the meeting where Garza made the call that it was finally time to shut down the Abyss once and for all, I got to meet our famous new mystery psychologist. I think I mentioned her in one of my letters. She transferred here even more recently than me, from Denebola Base. They gave her an office way up on the 33rd floor, and she’s mostly stayed up there and kept to herself. But she was at the meeting to advise Garza on the ThingTown Abyss situation, and her input was totally on point. Anyway, she’s not what I expected. Her name’s Bianca – she doesn’t want people calling her “Doctor,” it’s all first names with her. And she doesn’t look any older than you or me. I guess she’s a lot like us, so good at her field that people who’ve heard about her get surprised by how young she is when they finally meet her. Bianca’s some kind of non-human, but nobody seems to know exactly what kind. A lot of agents are curious, but I guess you can’t just walk up and ask a colleague, “What are you?” Whatever she is, though, she basically looks human, except that her skin and hair are completely white. Not like human albino skin, either. Like the kind of color you can only get if your blood is bluish. Like a Niralan, but Bianca’s definitely not one of those! So after he hears Bianca’s advice, Garza agrees it’s time to finally shut down the ThingTown Abyss. And that’s my job. I’d already figured out how to do it, and I’d already told Garza I could do it anytime. Was super-confident about it, right up until he gave the order. Then suddenly I’m kind of freaking out, because what if my calculations are wrong and my method doesn’t work? I mean, it’s not like in the lab, where I can just keep trying until I get it. This is fieldwork in the middle of a city, if at first I don’t succeed it could be a giant disaster. So I’m getting, like, whatever the scientist version of stage fright is. Of course I just hide it and stay professional, but right then I was really wishing you were around to give me one of your pep talks. Not really anyone I know here who I can go to for a friendly pep talk. But right when the meeting is letting out, when we’re all on our way to the door, Bianca comes up behind me and puts her hand on my shoulder. And when I turn around, she looks me right in the eyes, and her eyes are really deep and intense, the irises are pure black. And she says in this deep, calming voice of hers, “You’ve got this, Cordy.” Just like that. Wow. And as soon as she said it, I knew she was right. Confidence completely restored. I was so stunned for a moment that she was gone before I had time to even say thanks. So the next morning, me and my newly restored confidence, and a big squad of agents and troops, piled into a fleet of LATVs and took all the equipment I needed to the ThingTown Abyss site, along with a whole lot of weapons and barricades and other security stuff. Turns out the weapons and barricades and troops were there to reinforce the security perimeter around the site while I worked. And it turns out the reason that was necessary is that any Reality Patrol operation that happens in public is like the favorite spectator sport of the citizens of this weird city. So it’s a good thing Bianca gave me that confidence-booster, because this turned out to be a public performance. So they set up this huge security perimeter all around me and my gear. And just outside the perimeter, on every side, there was this ginormous crowd of locals trying to get a view of what was happening. Plus people watching from rooftops and balconies and everything. So, yeah, I needed every drop of that confidence. Well, as you’ll see in my official report, it all went down perfectly. And the crowd definitely wasn’t disappointed, because the tech I put together for this job generates quite a light show, plus all kinds of interesting sounds. And then, for the grand finale, when the Abyss actually closed... well, it was way more spectacular than I’d expected. I mean, the Abyss basically did this extended slow-motion explosion, super bright and intense and colorful, inside the force dome that surrounded it. The dome kept it all contained, and blocked all the sound from inside, but the weird swirling light generated by the explosion was so bright it shone right through the dome. Probably would’ve been downright blinding if the dome wasn’t semi-opaque. In short, that was one satisfied crowd of spectators. Well, except for one person, who for some reason was furious and created a minor commotion for a moment. I was far away because of the security perimeter, and my attention was on my work, But apparently this one person in the crowd flipped out when the Abyss closed and started screaming and shouting at me, not that I could hear what they were saying. Some kid dressed in black, probably an anarchist or something who just hates the Reality Patrol and thinks we’re fascists for not letting this city get destroyed by extradimensional monsters. My new friend Thas (AKA Agent Questionmark) grew up in this city and he says there’s a lot of that here, all kinds of radical wing-nuts and people who worship chaos. Maybe the weird chaotic energies of the Plateau of Leng can mess with people’s minds – apparently Thas has been receiving communications from one of our agents who’s on a mission out on the Plateau right now, and he thinks the guy is definitely starting to lose it just from being out there. But anyway, apart from that one angry weirdo, the crowd loved the show. And mission accomplished! So I’ve earned my wings, as it were, as a field agent, and Garza and my other superiors here are very happy with how it turned out – and so am I! Gotta thank Bianca for boosting my confidence like that – she really knew exactly what I needed. Guess I’d better get busy writing the more official version of my report... Back to work, Cordy
Cordy’s observes that Bianca has the coloration of a Niralan but definitely isn’t one. Niralans are a species that play a central role in the Non-Compliant Space stories by Verity Reynolds.
The first book in the Non-Compliant Space series, Nantais, was published in 2018 and previewed here on the Weird Luck site. Spoon Knife. The anthology Spoon Knife 3: Incursions, edited by me and Andrew and also published in 2018, contains a Weird Luck & Non-Compliant Space crossover story by Reynolds — not the last crossover that will be happening between the two series.
Cordy’s right about Bianca definitely not being a Niralan. She’s quite wrong about Bianca’s age, though — Bianca is much older than she looks. For more about what Bianca actually is, see my novelette “Bianca and the Wu-Hernandez” in the Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber anthology.
See you next Wednesday,