asher63 (asher63) wrote,

The Sleeping Lamp

Our story so far:

They arrive in the Capital City in early evening, just as people are waking up and going to work. The autocar speeds away as they check in at the hotel. Atubis gets her own room, Dess and Joli share a room with twin beds. The arrangement is familiar, as is the hotel clerk's confusion - people always assume Joli and Dess are a couple.

Dess's meeting is scheduled for just after midnight, so there's time to catch a nap. Of course they've all been traveling, so their schedules are all screwed up and they're ready to catch some sleep even though the stars are out. Dess turns on the sleeping lamp.

Like Humans, the Gilkesh like to sleep in the dark. But for Gilkeshna, the natural tendency is to sleep in the shade, during daylight hours. So it's not darkness itself but bright light followed by darkness that calibrates the Gilkesh body clock, and every space traveler depends on a sleeping lamp, a full-spectrum lamp that bathes the user in bright light for a few minutes, allowing her to drop off to sleep when the light is turned off.

So Dess and Joli bask under the sleeping lamp silently, and then crawl under the covers to try to catch a few Z's.

Joli isn't on a schedule, eager though she is for her dangerous liaison. Dess is still largely clueless about what it is, exactly, that she's supposed to be doing on the Homeworld. All she knows is that it's some kind of job offer from the Astronomy Ministry, which would normally mean monitoring space travel hazards like meteors and radiation - but there's something different about this, and not just the generous pay package that the cryptically-worded message had mentioned. Well, whatever, life is an adventure. She figures she'll find out soon enough.

Now they're lying in the darkness with the blackout panels on the windows pulled shut to help them sleep - it's partly psychological (what they'd do if the suns were out) and partly to shut out the noise. But they're too wound-up to sleep; so they talk.
Tags: queenscourtesan

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