It's been a while since I've posted any excerpts, so I thought it was about time. This is sometimes tricky, because the further I get into writing a novel, the harder it is to find a segment that makes sense without a lot of context and/or doesn't give away significant events in the plot.
This bit from Surgeburnt, though, is one of the past-storylines / flashbacks. The reader has encountered references to Iskedelis, the non-human inventor who worked with Maren (the narrator) and her crew, but this the first time she's appeared directly in a scene:
lab spanned most of a single abandoned floor, a labyrinth of improbables with a
ridiculous number of reflective surfaces. She had always loved shiny
she called. “Come over and have a
seat. Would you like some tea?”
the collection of slanted, paneled, and protusion-laden surfaces looming around
her. “Where should I …”
foolish of me,” she chirped, spinning about with surprising dexterity despite
the length of her frame. Vrin bodies
were divided into three segments, and they were most comfortable with the first
two segments parallel to the ground. She
picked up a device that looked suspiciously like a toaster to reveal a bench
beneath. “Right here."
was small for her kind: in first-joint
stance, she stood only four feet tall.
Her carapace was a soft, gently burnished silver in hue, dusted with
soot-grey spots. The eyes that sought
mine were the faceted compound eyes of an insect, with a saffron undertone I
had only noticed at the tenth look. A
lot of Vrin wore sunglasses even indoors, not just to give humans normal to
focus on, but because their eyes were unusually sensitive to light. Iskedelis’ lab was dim, and she had long ago
learned she didn’t have to hide around us.
of tea?” I asked, sitting.
Liber,” she said, then paused expectantly.
heard of it,” I said. “But whatever.”
drooped, her segments slumping together.
“You don’t get it? Liber …
tea. I laughed when Archer told me.”
to smack Archer upside the head for feeding you bad comedy,” I said. “Whatever kind of tea it is, I’ll have it.”
recovered, scurrying over to her teapot.
Her seven-fingered hands were vastly overqualified for the task, though
the lack of a shorter digit sometimes made handling human objects tricky. She could bend any of those fingers multiple
times, but it wasn’t quite a substitute for a thumb.
polite even with such news waiting, Iskedelis hustled back with two cups,
handing mine over along with the sugar bowl.
She perched back on her haunches, watching me as I took my first sip.
I had set down the cup did she speak.
“Well? What did you find out?"