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The stars called to the man, as they moved away from the building. It felt like a warning: the sun is coming, the trees are rustling, you'll leaving the birds behind, the sun is coming. They came out from the ground near the sea and near the forest, further than the man had ever ventured, except for the brief time after the injections when he had been turned back into a human being. The forest was sparse and young, and chirped meaningless platitudes to the small animals inhabiting within. The ocean though was old, ancient and vicious and immobile, with a deep memory of the world even before the very land, and unimaginable frothy alienness skittering along its skin. The man had to turn his back on the sea, for its enormity was too much to absorb.

They rode to the small artificial bird, the stars talking and warning of the sun. It was quiet, quieter even than the tunnels. They were traveling around the world and that was going to take some time. Jarod could probably manage it, his heart yearned to fly like a bird, although around the world sounded exhausting. They went up up up, and it was so quiet with only the pinging little bird and Jarod and the mindtalker making noise.

Then the sun came round again.

As anticipated it was too much for any sane being to take, and the man longed for nothing more than to go back underground, away from the awesome agonous assault. The Jarod gave him some injections, new exciting ones this time, and the world became deathly silent, a luxurious nothingness with that dripped color. It was like breathing underwater, the quiet, peaceful and calm and beautiful. The man wanted to give the mindtalker the beautiful quiet too, for although he could only hear a little, surely everyone needed a vacation occasionally. Jarod and the mindtalker didn't seem too appreciative though. Maybe he needed Words to explain it, or at least mindpictures, but the happy injections made it too quiet to see.

After a terrible length of time in the sun they went down to the land yet again, a bit more noisy but not too bad. There were several mindtalkers there, all of whom could make it easier for him to remember his Words. One was Martha's baby, taller now, Jarod's mate he saw when they were together, their minds involuntarily touching even when their bodies didn't. Another one he remembered now as the human who birthed Timmy, only old. She sang a song, a beautiful song to Timmy that made everything quiet even without the happy injections, quiet and alive and free.


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