Thursday, December 25, 2014
April 5, afternoon (part 3)
I’d asked Oses to check into Clan Seot, and I wasted no time after our encounter sending him all the information I had on my would-be mates. The weapons commander’s comment that Dad Rak would want to give them a once-over gave me a great excuse to send my dads a message too. I miss my adoptive parents in the worst way. It sucks that there are two days between me comming them and them receiving it.
But I did my daughterly duty, telling them about Seot, Cifa, and Larten. I also told them about my haunting problem, though I went with a ghost-story-by-the-campfire vibe; lighthearted with an exaggerated drama-queen spin. I have put those men through enough with my unwanted adventures. Nayun in particular will have a nervous breakdown if he thinks I’m in trouble yet again.
My kiddo did some kicking as I recorded my message to the dads. I shared that with them too, thinking the future grandfathers would enjoy knowing their grandchild is healthy and active. I asked Nayun if Kalquorian names have meanings, and if so, what does his mean. He’ll probably figure out I’d like my child, if it’s a boy, to have his name. I hope he doesn’t mind.
With me getting into the second trimester of my pregnancy, I’m starting to worry more and more about how I’m going to be as a mother. My mom was no great shakes at being a parent, but I still wish I could pick her brain about what things to expect. I suppose I could talk to Katrina about it. She’s a mom, after all. However, with her kids and grandkids still not found back on Earth, I’m afraid it will upset her too much.
It’s funny. I’ve got all this support from friends and yet I feel almost totally alone on this mom-to-be issue. Thank goodness I still have plenty of time to figure stuff out.
Once I’d caught up on all that, I went in search of Candy and Katrina. I found them in Candy’s room, muttering over their handhelds.
“It’s about time,” Candy said by way of greeting me. “Give me your handheld so I can set it up.”
“Set it up for what?” I asked, though I gave it up to her right away.
“We’re going on a ghost hunting expedition,” Katrina said. “Candy has some ideas on how we might be able to tune the audio and video recording frequencies. Maybe we can catch evidence of something knocking around here.”
Her tone was bland enough that I knew she didn’t think much of the idea. I thought it was kind of ridiculous myself, but then neither of us had put any stock into the idea of ghosts at all a few days ago. We’d been proven wrong on that count, so I saw no harm in playing along with Candy’s ideas.
“What exactly are you doing?” I asked her as she fiddled with my unit. I hoped she wasn’t doing anything that would necessitate me having to buy a new handheld. My funds were low after clothes shopping on Xniktix Station.
Candy was bright and happy, as if going to a party instead of readying to stalk a potentially malevolent spirit. “I’m widening the frequency-capturing stream of the audio recorder that’s in here. Plus I’m installing infra-red, nightvision, heat detection, and full spectrum applications.”
Katrina sighed. “I hope that means something to you, Shalia. Candy might as well have told me she was flurbing a durdle on Planet Bejwa with a goojoos. That’s how much sense she was making to me.”
I laughed at our elder friend’s confusion. Since I’d done industrial video work, I knew the terms Candy referred to. Except for filming with nightvision, I had not had the opportunity to use any of them. Plus I was quite amazed at Candy’s know-how when it came to programming our devices that way. She comes off as ditzy so often that I am sometimes guilty of forgetting just how intelligent she is.
“Can they really detect all that at once?” I asked her.
Candy wrinkled her nose prettily. When I make that face, I look like I smelled something disgusting.
She told me, “Unfortunately, no. None of us can perform more than two vid functions at a time, plus the enhanced audio. But I thought I’d give us all the options in case one or more of these things shuts down, as often happens around ghosts. We’re each others’ backups.”
“Why would they shut down around spirits?” Katrina asked.
“Because spirits suck up energy to manifest. Even though I’m making sure our handhelds are all fully powered, you can bet at least one of these will experience a massive energy drain if we encounter our haunt.” Candy handed me my device. “You’re all set.”
I checked out my handheld, putting on the different modes of vid. Heat-sensing was particularly cool; Candy and Katrina were red- and white-hot shapes before me. Infrared gave me a headache with all those rainbow hues arching across my view screen. Full spectrum was even worse. Nightvision was of no use since the room was well lit.
Candy shouldered a small pack. “What’s in there?” I asked.
“Holy water, salt, and incense made from some plant called an amnetric. Plus an Earther bible.” Candy wrinkled her nose.
“Where did you get holy water?” I asked. “And incense? What are you going to do with all that?”
Candy sighed. “I got the priest from the Temple of Life to bless some water. I had to talk him into it. He seemed confused about the matter and argued that water is a source of life and therefore already blessed. The amnetric is an aromatic similar to sage. Burning sage and scattering salt supposedly clear away evil influences.”
“Witchcraft,” Katrina muttered. “If you’d been caught doing such things on Earth, they would have burned you for it.”
Candy waved her off. “In my spirit-hunting group back on Earth, we would use these things plus certain verses of the bible to exorcise troublesome entities. If we run into our dark soul and he shows us he is evil, we can get rid of him.”
This was getting harder for me to swallow all the time. Yes, I had seen a ghost more than once, but now we were getting into hocus-pocus. “Candy, I thought you didn’t believe in Earth’s religion.”
“Some of it has merit,” she insisted. She watched Katrina and me carefully, as if waiting to be laughed at. “I believe in a higher power, one that loves us. One that can keep us safe. My faith in that will make this work.”
Who was I to argue with her? I also held hopes for a loving all-powerful being who watches us and takes care of us when this life is done. Besides, it was better to try and do something about this thing that stalked me rather than wait in fear of the bogeyman.
“I’m ready when you are,” I told the gals.
We started in my rooms, since most of the activity has occurred in there. Under Candy’s direction, Katrina perched on the lounger in my sitting room, and I settled myself on my bed. Candy said that once we started our ‘session’ she would stand in the doorway between the two rooms and keep an eye on the two of us as well as our surroundings.
Candy set Katrina’s vid monitor to the nightvision option. I took heat-source sensitivity mode, and Candy said she would record both infra-red and full spectrum readings. We all had our enhanced audio recorders going. Candy got in position. I ordered the lights off.
“Shalia’s quarters, sitting and sleeping rooms. Candy, Katrina, and Shalia present,” Candy said in a business-like tone. “Starting EVP interview.”
“E-V what?” asked Katrina.
“EVP. Electronic Voice Phenomenon. That’s what it’s called when you capture a disembodied voice on a recording device that you didn’t hear with your own ears,” Candy informed her. “First question: is there anyone here besides the three of us women?”
“Damn it, if anyone answers you, I’m going to wet my britches,” Katrina muttered just loud enough for me to hear.
Candy had a note of impatience in her tone. “When I ask a question, try to remain silent for a minute. We have to give the spirit a chance to respond.”
For my part, I was more interested in my heat-sensitive recording program. Though it was too dark in the room for me to see Candy in the doorway, I saw her on my small vid readout. Even though I couldn’t see much in the way of identifiable features, I still would have know it was her. The outline was perfect around the white-red-orange shape of her, making it impossible to mistake her for anyone else. I thought about the shadow figure I’d seen, half melted into the darker shadowed corner of my room. If I’d been able to point this thing at my unwanted visitor, would I have recognized him? Would I have known the unnamed Earther Oses had tortured on Finiuld’s ship? I would definitely have known the short shape of an Ofetuchan, be it Finiuld or Glidas haunting me. But the shadow had been big, Kalquorian big. It had moved like a Kalquorian in our would-be club. If it was the wrongly murdered man who had died before we’d ever set foot on board the Pussy ‘Porter, I wouldn’t have known him. But I knew a Kalquorian when I saw one.
That led me to wonder something else ... was it possible the haunt was not a Kalquorian but pretending to be to throw us all off? Was that even possible? I’d have to ask Candy.
She was busy interviewing our missing visitor, throwing out questions every minute. “Are you an angry spirit? Why are you here? Are you male or female? Do you hate Earthers? Were you murdered? Are you Nobek Frin?”
Katrina sounded bored when she dared to speak. “I’m not getting anything. How are we supposed to know if we’re getting answers if you don’t stop and check before asking the next one?”
Candy didn’t sound impatient this time. I think she liked sharing her expertise on the matter. “We could stop and check, but if the spirit is here and talking, doing so could interrupt his flow. I know it doesn’t seem like much is happening right now, but trying to prove the paranormal takes a lot of patience.”
“I understand if you want to quit after we’re done in Shalia’s rooms. I still want to cover the corridor, my quarters, and the club ... all the places there has been activity.”
Katrina sighed. “No, I’ll stick with it. I want my dance club and I want to know what’s going on. Carry on, fearless leader.”
Candy chuckled, but it was I who threw out the next question. “To the entity that has been seen – I feel like you are concentrating on me much of the time. Why? Have I done something to offend you?”
The other two were silent as we waited for an answer. Then Candy added something I hadn’t thought of. “Are you attracted to Shalia because she is pregnant?”
Then me: “Are you really Kalquorian? Or are you Earther? Or Ofetuchan?”
I thought I heard Candy suck in a breath at that one, but she kept quiet.
We went on for about an hour like that, and even Katrina asked a few questions.
Next, Candy tried to bless my room, and thus exorcise the unwanted spirit. She burned the sage, walking around to make it waft throughout my rooms. Even the restroom was ‘smudged’ as she called it. Then she sprinkled holy water around while reciting verses from the bible about how much greater Jesus, Mohammed, and Moses were than Satan and how evil could not triumph over good. She said a prayer and then informed us we were done with my room. We turned the lights on and tried the other places Candy wanted to investigate.
Except for the corridor, which had to remain lit and was too busy for interviewing ghosts, we did the same thing. In the corridor, we simply recorded vid where the ghost had been seen melting into a wall. We saw and heard nothing amiss. I had the idea the whole thing was a wash.
Candy gave us an apologetic smile when we were done. “If you thought that was boring, analysis is doubly so. This is going to take a few hours, so let’s grab lunch and plenty of coffee.”
We did so, swallowing our meal in about 15 minutes. Then we set to work, staring at the vids we’d shot and listening to our audio files.
Three hours later, my eyes felt ready to fall out of my skull. My ears wanted to leak brain matter. We’d found nothing ghostly or otherwise in all our recordings. Just as I’d suspected, it was a bust.
Katrina looked as exhausted as I felt. Candy managed a wan smile. “Well, the ghost didn’t come out to play, but maybe the exorcism will keep it gone for good.”
So I lost a few hours I’ll never get back. If I never see that dark shape again, I’ll count it as time well spent.