Hong Kong – Jungwa
1 Yubol (June) 2228 1955 Hours
Fuzo sped through a group of small multi-storied buildings before veering toward a dark glass obelisk with the letters B U M O erected on its pinnacle.
Slowing near a deserted pedestrian platform, she glanced up at the structure.
“This thing won’t make it to the top, Komad,” Fuzo said. “The climbing controls aren’t responding when accessed.”
“Get me over to that one,” Kul jerked her head toward the building beside it, “I’ll land down there and then find my way up,”
“Is there enough air to take you down?” Fuzo asked as the Komad opened her door.
Kul fell from the transport gracefully with arms fixed to her sides.
Cutting through the hard current, Kul descended fast toward the rooftop.
Knees to her chest, Kul let the wind whip her around until she became breach just before landing. Hitting the roof running, Kul broke her stride with a hard slide over the concrete.
Fuzo had been fifteen when they herded her and her brood-mates onto a flyer and took them thousands of feet above the glaciers. Standing shoulder to shoulder, none of them expected the bottom to fall out and piss them to the wind.
The Komad had endured free-falling trials late in life, and like every other obstacle Orta put in her path, she came out victorious.
At age twelve, Fuzo had heard rumors of Kul’s arrival. Most Toobers thought her a spy sent to evaluate their social structure; why else would a citizen so old, a hizzah no less, engage in physical training with a bunch of bruiser donats?
Upright on the roof, Kul planted her feet and closed her eyes. Her body seemed to relax until her hands balled up, and the screaming started.
The dull gray throughout Kul’s hide became so dark it turned blue. As her howling died down, a flash of golden white energy exploded at her feet. Overtaking her legs, the whirlwind coiled up her torso like a snake, winding its way around her chest, it coated her hide in a gleaming silver skin.
The silvery gleam enveloped her head but left her face untouched as it stopped short behind her ears. At the nape of Kul’s neck, the silver merged with the strands of her hair and morphed her five-inch curl into a small hangman’s noose.
Legend had it that Kul was bald in the years before Fuzo’s assignment; allowing the hair to grow back, the noose proved a practical alternative to a proper cranial-stain.
The Femitokon Shell left little to the imagination. Every muscle on Kul’s body stood out, including the dense globes of her backswell.
If Bakiprime Polvix could see Kul’s girz now, she’d be on her knees, begging for permission to plant her face between those cheeks.
Lucky for me, Polvix isn’t one to beg.
Fuzo tapped the round pin on her lapel, forcing the Shell to sync with it and not her mind. As Kul walked to the edge of the building, a burst of air shot out from the soles of her boots. Lifted a few inches off the ground, Kul focused on the structure above.
Fuzo wondered how well the Shell enhancing Kul’s aging vision.
Kul aimed an annoyed glance up the transport.
Hizak vision doesn’t deteriorate with age, Donmat.
Fuzo slapped the pin on the lapel again.
Manual sync only works one way.
“My communicator can’t force a sync?” Dox demanded.
It can if your communicator is part of another Shell.
“No thank you!” Fuzo would never allow something like the Shell into her body. When Kul’s expression changed Fuzo asked, “What’s wrong, Komad?”
How about you stop thinking for an hour, Brooder? You seem capable of doing this the other twenty-one hours of the day.
“Komad, you could just stay out of my thoughts!” Fuzo cried and then struggled to think of nothing.
After a moment, Kul’s voice sounded off again.
There’re energy sensors woven into the concrete. Flying requires over fifty-percent of the Shell’s operative output. If I fly in, those sensors will register an energy source.
A silver cable formed around Kul’s waist, attached to a belt that materialized above her hips. Yanking the cables tip, Kul pulled out an arm’s length and released it.
Aiming a finger, she sent an unseen bolt of energy to guide the sharpened tip up at a target beyond Fuzo’s visual range.
The cable suddenly tensed tight.
It’s anchored securely. If I miss my landing, Donmat, scoop me up on the other side.
Fuzo said, “Affirmative.”
Releasing the cord’s tension with a jerk of her hip Kul’s body flew up faster than a penguin cutting through the sea to chase a mackerel.
Steering the transport around, Fuzo got close enough on the other side to see that the cord had punched its way into the building’s exterior.
When Kul reached the impact point, the cable melted into dollops of silver goo that quickly seeped back into her thigh. Airborne for only a second, Kul grasped the balcony edging before she could fall.
The building’s sensors are vibrating.
“It thinks you’re a hawk that made a sloppy landing,” Fuzo said.
There’s no wireless message activity being emitted. I think we fooled it. Kul hoisted herself up onto the ledge with a grunt. Find a place to park and distract the natives.
Fuzo set the transport down in an abandoned alley, and after exiting, she choked on the rancid odor in the air.
Two out of five Marixi were born hypersensitive to scent, just as three in five were born with a higher tolerance for pain, and one in five carried a greater sense of pod-cohesion.
The brainers in Marixi Administration tested for these traits in sets of five, based on original-subject Femitokon’s method of selecting those with specific skills for her five-member surface teams.
Fuzo was always the chosen bear-snout.
Clutching an helovx-made thumb drive in her fist, Fuzo crossed the street to Bumo’s main entrance and stopped to review her reflection in the front door glass.
Straightening her back, Fuzo flexed her shoulders and lamented her current condition; ripped but still too slender.
Pushing through the double-doors, Fuzo entered an expansive foyer of stone and glass. There were no trash cans or interHive docking stations here and stuffed into every corner were thick stalks of giant bushy bamboo.
The scent of bleach wafted from the grand hall’s massive water fountain.
Like most bruisers, Fuzo held no appreciation for aquaculture. The small pool that anchored the water column in her barracks was loaded with spit, discarded beverages, urine, and gash-juice.
Just last month, some of her barracks sisters had crowded around it to see who could rub out a burx first.
Passing around the fountain, Fuzo encountered three men standing behind a reception kiosk. The largest man removed his sidearm and tucked it out of sight; some helovx believed that Marixi attacked at the first sign of a weapon.
Fuzo stepped to the counter and set the thumb drive down onto it.
“Gentlemen, I have important information to deliver for Doctor Pym Zhang.”
Despite her perfect Hamgyong, the men exchanged anxious looks.
In the absence of a vocal response, Fuzo snatched up the thumb-drive, tucked it into her belt, and then set her fists on the counter; helovx males were hardwired to respond to even the slightest hint of physical superiority.
“I’m speaking your dialect, correct?”
The man smart enough to put his gun out of sight responded.
“Yes, a…” his eyes moved to the rank insignia on her lapel.
“I’m a Donmat,” Fuzo eyed his badge, “Mr. Lim.”
“Yes, Donmat. My apologies,” Lim smiled. “It’s after hours, and Doctor Zhang has gone home for the night.”
Fuzo nodded, “In that case, Mr. Lim, I need you to tell your superior that a representative from Kuril Base is here.”
“Pardon me, Ensign,” a sharp-eyed man, badge name of Chimgee, spoke up. “Our supervisor is in her office. I’ll let her know you’re here.”
Fuzo stepped away, and like the Komad often did, she put her hands behind her back. Pretending to admire the fountain, Fuzo watched as Chimgee, a man aware of the helovx equivalent of her rank, departed the lobby.
Kul once said, ‘I love it when men lie. It’s abysmal how untrained they are, considering their women are born natural authorities’.
Lim and the other man kept their eyes down, and neither spoke a word until Chimgee returned, leading a short woman by the arm.
“I only get thirty minutes for lunch!” the woman complained.
The woman’s clothes indicated she worked as janitorial staff.
“They speak only to females,” Chimgee whispered. “We need you to play the part.”
The woman paused mid-step when brought before Fuzo. Her long hair was tightly wound into a bun on her crown and looked white from root to the tip. With her brown almond shaped eyes fixed on Fuzo’s mouth, her lips formed into an uncomfortable smile.
Fuzo smiled widely to display her lobed teeth.
The woman became animated, “Your teeth aren’t sharp.”
“Contrary to what you’ve been told, Ma’am,” Fuzo adjusted her dialect to match the woman’s, “We don’t have shark teeth.”
The woman bent her fingers gingerly, eager to touch, “Do they grow like that, with the little curls?”
Orta Main required monthly visits to a kalogox, and if Fuzo missed even one appointment, she ran the risk of losing a portion of her monthly credit-stipend. When the woman smiled to reveal her deeply stained teeth, it was evident that helovx kept no such oral hygiene requirements.
“I’m here to deliver vital information to Doctor Pym Zhang.”
The woman sputtered, “Doctor Zhang’s dea-”
“—Excuse me, ma’am,” Chimgee interrupted, “We explained that Doctor Zhang’s not here because it’s so late in the night.”
Fuzo cleared her throat to get their attention, “I think there’s some confusion. I’m delivering vital information to Doctor Pym Zhang. May I-”
“—Forgive me, I’m so scared and nervous. I forget my manners,” the woman tilted her head and raised the pitch of her voice. “You’re the first Antarctican I’ve ever seen. You’re so tall and strong,”
As she dug her fingers into Fuzo’s bicep, her eyes lingered below Fuzo’s uniform belt. Lower level uniforms lacked the triangle flap afforded to upper-officers to hide the small knot of their unaroused rydok.
Fuzo whispered, “It’s not a tiny penis, it’s more like a large clitoris,”
The woman’s eyes lit up, and she smacked Fuzo’s shoulder. Taking hold of Fuzo’s arm tightly, the woman led her to the seating area.
“I must ask you,” she said. “What’s it like living with only women?”
“I don’t know,” Fuzo adjusted her tone to match her host’s familiarity. “I don’t live with any women.”
The woman slapped her again, and her physical flirtation reminded Fuzo of the Bizaki.
“You want to know what it’s like to live without males?” Fuzo let the woman sit down first, before struggling to fit comfortably on the small furniture. “I don’t know what to compare it to, I’ve lived no other way.”
While Chimgee, Lim, and the other man lingered, Fuzo spoke loud enough for them to hear.
“I don’t understand how you live with men. They’re highly incompetent. It took these three over five minutes to produce you when they should’ve just called you the minute I entered the lobby.”
“Yes, they’re our burden,” the woman said, squeezing Fuzo’s thigh. Her eyes fixed firmly on Fuzo’s lap, she said, “Chimgee, bring us some tea!”
Chimgee glared at the back of her head.
The woman asked, “Have you had tea before uh-?”
“—Donmat Fuzodox, and no I haven’t,” Fuzo said, smiling
“Bring us some tea, and extra sugar,” the woman demanded, then turned back to Fuzo, smiling warmly. “I love the taste of sugar. You will too.”
When Chimgee hadn’t moved, Fuzo stood.
“Does she need to write it down for you?”
Masking his discontent, Chimgee said, “No-no. I’ll be right back.”