Entry 24: 11 Poråkol 1865, Part I


Aneti, staying awake all night in ler room painting quotations on ler walls — or going over old-fashioned Daybreak documents — or half-asleep, or otherwise-conspiring — chose the wrong recipient for this message on ler communication band. It came in shortly after midnight.

Of course, I called you immediately after I copied the message above.

Aneti would have maintained a record of it in ler comm band, and I don’t want lim to know that le made a mistake. I mean, the message was open because we were talking last night. I don’t know.

I started looking up tutorials on deleting the message completely — from ler comm band. It is all too technical, and unless you do it, le will know that I have received a message for someone likely involved in a murder plot. When I called you, the wall screen strobed from black to gray as I dialed, and it chirruped when it decided that you wouldn’t be there. It gave me the option to force-signal your computer the third time, but I don’t have codes to do that, and I didn’t want to wake you.

Please see this.

Later. THANK YOU. For the purposes of the archival record (yes, I know — that sounds pretentious), I will reproduce what happened here:

Shortly after dawn, you sent a message to my comm band, and I awoke just in time to receive the call. You had pulled a towel around yourself, and you stood by the phone controls. “Salus,” you said, and your voice sounded thick. “What are you doing, calling me at such an hour?”


You squeezed your eyes shut and pressed your thumb and forefinger on the top of the bridge of your nose for several seconds. “Let me put something on.”

The video feed disappeared, replaced by a neon green line snaking across the screen. I attached my comm band to my tablet in the meantime, and I explained the problem. When I paused and you didn’t reply, that’s when I realized you had also held the audio feed, so I went to the kitchen and made a quick meal of cold meat and porridge. I brought it back to my bedroom and ate it eagerly while I watched the green line. The uncertain voice in my head had nearly convinced me to hang up.

You are silly. I had expected something more substantial after fifteen minutes, but putting something on apparently means that you tied a house wrap over your left shoulder and made yourself something to eat! You even tied the sash after turning on the video! I wanted to chide you for it, but I know that I have spent so much time in these entries interrogating your motives. I would rather have you answer the questions from 10 Poråkol. Please?

“I’m sorry for waking you.”

“It’s fine. An associate told me I missed a cluster of calls from you. Aneti sent you a message by mistake?” You clicked your tongue. “That is so …”

I waited in silence for you to finish.

“This is amateur,” you continued. “Daybreak is better than this. Did they just pull lim in?” You clicked your tongue again and sat down in a chair in front of your keyboards and layered monitors.

“Le did. I think that it contains something important, and I don’t want lim to know that le made a mistake. Can you help?” My voice sounds so eager when I replay this conversation.

“What’s the message?”

“Something about meeting a person by the docks. Daybreak has found someone, apparently.”

“Did you delete the message?”


You smiled. “This will be a lot easier if you give me your account password — anything you might have changed, like your keys? I don’t have the correct access permissions from the malware I installed on your devices earlier. It would be easier to just be you.” You pressed several sections of your computer screen and replaced your Ịgzarhjenya keyboard with a Tveshi one. “So, it sounds like I need to delete it from ler communication band as well. If you verify which of these numbers is lers, I can make the message disappear within a few hours.”

“What if le sees it? And why haven’t you tried this with ler comm band before?”

“This is really dangerous, Salus — but otherwise, that’s a good point.” You adjusted the new keyboard and typed something, and then you said, “I should have given you a method to contact me with urgent matters. Next time, call Deisurås.”

“Why lim?”

“Le is not as busy as Okiyot, and you know lim.”

“No, why would I—”

“Daybreak wouldn’t send messages over comm bands beyond what you received. That’s one of the reasons it doesn’t make any sense to do it despite — yeah — they only do it in cases of urgency,” you said. “Everything Deisurås and Okiyot communicate to me will come securely. Okay, I have completely taken over your comm band. I’m going to use some malicious code to get to ler communication band and mask yours so it looks like you are not you.”

You typed furiously and swore for a few minutes. I did not interrupt, and you volunteered more information. “The ghost code seems to be completely ignoring both your comm and lers. This matches the pattern that we’ve been seeing with the other urgent situations.”

“Which ones? Which other urgent situations?”

You spent five minutes working on your computer before you answered. “We are averting a bombing in Vepessa, Iturja, an unknown threat in Yotsupyureno, Nasja, and have hired two professional assassins in Menarka, Narahja, to deal with a delicate espionage situation. Regarding this unknown plot in Galasu, I checked with several contacts and did not see anything conclusive. Daybreak keeps names—wait, this is interesting. Le messaged a recipient using a personal name? I think I can get to ler—”

“What did they tell you about the Galasu assassination?” I folded my hands neatly in my lap and looked at the clock.

You concentrated for several more minutes. You are a thousand kilometers away, and I have no ammunition to make you disclose what you were thinking. My attention turned to the room around you. I saw evidence that you shared it with someone, although I didn’t see lim—and there, next to the table, your elbow tapped against a small, rectangular case that shadows partially hid from my view. It had cushioning in it. What was that?

At last, you said, “The Daybreak plot came to our attention twelve hours after I helped you hack that feed. We decided that we wanted to work on the project when you contacted me through Suka.” You laughed. “That’s surprisingly simple to say. Sorry, I’m setting up a proxy so I can geolocate to ler home for the next step. It’s taking a bit longer than I thought.”

“Liga, I need to know why you associate with the not-nuamua. Those woman?”

“We care about the same things,” you said. “Oh, thank every god, this is so simple!”

I clicked my tongue. “What’s so simple? Why are you changing—”

“Sehutañi has no encryption! Anyone can access it with basic hacking protocols, and you’ve given me enough information in your journals that I guessed ler passwords correctly on the second try. That’s — Salus, do you have encryption set up? I can do that for you.” You toggled between active screens and resumed typing. “Most other Daybreak people I have hacked have a decent grasp of security, and it usually takes between four and eight hours to break through it. It’s probably like watching paint dry for someone like you. Le must be so, so new. How old is le?”

“Twenty-seven.” Ler identity card tells ler date of birth: the first Kaiakhin of Thaukol 1843. It’s the day my parents married. “What do you think the message means?”

“I am sending some files to your tablet with the layout of the West Pier Docks. It looks like—wait—no.”

I retrieved my tablet and sat down on my bed.

“11B is in the open-air interplanetary market. 11B is the name of the block designation. There is a small restaurant on the second floor next door. It’s” — and you fell silent for so long! — “Salus, we can send someone there to see what will happen.”

“Do you want me to go to the docks?”

“No, by someone, I mean a person in Galasu who is not you. You could endanger yourself, and we need you. It is more valuable to us right now that you continue to press on Sehutañi and actually obtain real evidence, hopefully legal.” You pursed your lips together.

“Liga, according to your documentation, these are not regional and rural officials. Can we honestly afford to remain legal?” I said it without thinking, and while I meant it, I don’t think that you expected this. I didn’t, either. “Don’t I know lim best? How can your person be as effective as me, Liga?”

We argued until Kati awoke and started frying the nonu spices. Obviously, you broke me in the end, and I came to my senses — but I am so afraid of what might happen to your associate this evening that I could throw up.

I want to call you back and say that — what, that I want to go? I have ambitions, and currently, following Sehutañi, calling lim Aneti, fucking lim, and falling in love with lim, are my highest priorities because I love lim and need to betray lim. I cannot stop thinking about ler smooth skin and ler beautiful hair, which I look at, but do not touch. There must be someone else to lure my heart away.