Delfina and the newly-pseudo human known as Pierrot are on their way to Dapto in Delfina’s trans-reality transport, a junkyard Plymouth, which gets from A to B by successively crossing to timelines where the Plymouth is closer to B. The previous episode is here.
The park left us beside a dirt track,
gravel flowed like a river,
the vines covering the Plymouth wilted,
rolling hills rippled and roiled,
eroded into scrubland.
And when the scenery stopped,
we were in Dapto,
in someone’s backyard.
I searched for a hiding place,
while Delfina studied our surroundings.
Of the rusting vehicles in the yard,
I thought the Kombi van with Jimi Hendrix
immortalised in powdered paint
looked the most promising.
The setting sun was reflected
in Delfina’s Ray-bans.
“This is a nuisance.”
All around us, fires blazed,
oily smoke plumes billowed,
distant explosions echoed,
and a fleet of blue and golden
spacecraft hovered high above.
Constellations of cinder stars twinkled
around them as their infrared energy beams
laid waste to suburban Dapto.
On the horizon, I saw flames shooting into the sky
from a blazing apartment block,
while another close by was untouched.
The alien machines we’d fled from
had ground humanity into the dust,
left nothing standing,
but this attack seemed almost
Delfina read my mind.
“It’s Deija Vitro with the Martian Battle Fleet.
She’ll be leaving some buildings intact
to accommodate the royal guard.”
She saw the question marks with tiny wings
fluttering around my head.
“The Martian Princess of Glass.
Her space corps has ravaged Wollongong,
and now it’s Dapto’s turn.
She’s arrived early in this timeline.”
More question marks.
They collided in mid-air
with flurries of feathers.
“You still don’t understand.
The Plymouth is powered by
a Von-Bingen reality shifter.
It moves the coupé continuously
to nearby timelines where it’s
closer to its destination.”
Over the back fence, I could see
a Martian battle cruiser flying low,
its heat rays sweeping back and forth
across the neighborhood.
It would reach us momentarily.
With an air of carefree nonchalance,
I crawled beneath the Kombi,
scratched out a depression
in the oil-soaked dirt,
and curled up in it.
“That vehicle won’t protect you,
the Martian energy weapons
will melt it to a puddle.”
I reconsidered, and scrambled out
into the red light.
“You and I, Delfie, me and you,
we escaped the new machines together,
but the end of everything is here,
and I … sniffle … snuffle … want to share
my deepest truth with you.”
I noticed Delfina was on her phone,
chatting to someone in Klingon.
“… ∂ºℜℑ Υζψξ ∀⊆ℑ”
She turned to me.
I’ll just be a second, Pierrot.”
“ℑ⊆∀ ξψζΥ ℑℜº∂ …”
The adorable Deija Vitro will feature in The Purpose of Reality in 2022.
What path do we follow? Can we leave our circle, our familiar compass, and find another way? Joana is a study for “Reliquaries,” to appear in The Purpose of Reality next year. Some elements are common to this piece: alien spacecraft, the apocalypse, all the usual.
Artwork created with VEE, the visual evolution engine, together with ALISA, Adaptive Layered Image Synthesis, for the figures.