Haylee didn’t hesitate to dive from the shuttle as soon as it was within jumping distance from the surface of the planet WWW2458 (she liked to call it “Dreambase”). After all this is what her whole life had been about. Only she would be allowed to swim in this isolated Pattern Juggler world. Well the only human that is.
Since before Haylee was born she was modified for this one purpose! Genetic modification for a life swimming, she could live both under water permanently or still breath air as she had done for most of her 18 (awake) years. She would be able to extract algae direct from the water to sustain her permanently, her scaled skin, a combination of modified bone and nanotechnology, courtesy of the Europan Demarchist, and similar to what they’d used to create their Denizens or Gillies, would both protect her flesh and act as a sophisticated and controlled filtering device for the Juggler invasion of her body and mind (and also control over what she shared). Her spider (Conjoiner) implants would allow her full control of the biotechnological data transfer with the Jugglers. She could even neurally infiltrate advanced spider nests without being detected or controlled by the Conjoiners, thanks in part to the Sastain memory crystal implant which was capable storing more than 75 trillion terabytes of uncompressed data at speeds even the Conjoiners would be startled by. Mechanical modification technology from the Ultranauts was kept to a minimum, just sufficient to ensure she would survive the long light speed travel to planet WWW2458 in the Sh 2-216 (AKA: PK158+0.1) Planetary Nebula some 390 light years away.
When “Dreambase” was first discovered orbiting a very old system around an aging Red Giant it was obvious it was a Pattern Juggler world, that in itself was special, however there was a mass of evidence that an ancient battle between a group of Amarantin (the Banished and probably the forerunners of the Shrouders) and Inhibitors had taken place here and both had entered the waters of WWW2458.
The dark warm waters of “Dreambase” would contain a record the neural structures of Inhibitors (and any other sentients that had visited the planet over the eons) there had been much excitement. Extracting this “uncensored” information on the Inhibitors may well provide enough to put a stop to them for good and prevent the genocide of the human race and of every other star faring sentient race that existed now or evolved in the future. A lot was resting on her success.
It was know that the Pattern Jugglers were collectives of marine organisms that inhabit widely scattered water-covered planets. They act as a form of biotechnological data storage system, recording the minds and memories of anyone who communes with them. Nobody, including the jugglers themselves, knows their origin, although the inhibitors seem to avoid attacking Pattern Juggler worlds. The Jugglers record the neural structures of the sentient beings who enter their oceans, and are capable of rewriting the brains of swimmers. Normally this involves giving them heightened abilities, such as expertise in mathematics. These abilities typically last only a short period of time, but sometimes they can last for the better part of a lifetime. It is possible for some to persuade the jugglers to perform desired modifications to the minds of human swimmers, normally by remembering special trigger symbols coded for a particular transformation.
Haylee was built to make full use and control of the Jugglers biotechnological data storage system.
There was no doubt that other ancient races had had contact with this Pattern Juggler world. While saving the future of mankind was her mission and privilege, the thing that really excited her was the chance to absorb the cultural memory of other alien races. Not sharing superficially or just observing, but the cultural memory being part of her very being. It was quite likely that Scuttlers, Nestbuilders / Slugs, Jumper Clowns, Hamadryad and even The Shadows, a race of sentient beings who exist on a parallel braneworld had contact with Pattern Jugglers, not to mention those unknown races from the Dawn Wars.
There was even suggestions the Nigel Sheldon may have stopped at a Pattern Juggler world while on his galactic fleeing migration away from the Prime Aliens (of course she didn’t seriously entertained that idea as she could not imagine Peter F. Hamilton ever being part of Revelation Space!). Even with all her modifications and engineering to make her the perfect conduit with the Jugglers, she still felt she was Human. That would all change once she had contact with the Jugglers.
As she neared the ocean she could feel the Jugglers reaching out for her, as if this is what they were waiting for, as her hands touched the surface she felt her humanity being replaced by a god like knowledge of the universe!
Model Hayley Farmer
Camera Model Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL
Shooting Mode Program AE
Shutter Speed 1/60
Aperture Value 4.0
Metering Mode Evaluative Metering
ISO Speed 200
Lens EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal Length 25.0 mm
Lotsa Rainy weather and heaps of hand drawing (Walcom Pallet) in Photoshop CS5
Some assistance from Plugins from OnOne, Flaming Pear and Alien Skin Eye Candy