The WeaveMothers picked up a dropped stitch…repairing an error in the Ifalong. Sometimes the past had to be repaired so that the present would progress appropriately. The amazing thing about SpaceTime is that the past, present and future all exist…more or less simultaneously.
The Engineer chased the Brakeman back to his post and berated him for interfering. The Passenger looked at his ticket. The Storyteller began an old tale. The Listener sat on the edge of his seat.
Some believe that the Quicklies are just humans who evolved a faster metabolism. Much faster. Some believe that they are just animals.
Some have come to believe that the Quicklies are True Humans who live on some other happentrack, one in which time passes much more quickly. There is dispute, however, if such a thing could ever come to pass.
From the perspective of the people of the village, the Quicklies were a nuisance who would steal food and other items and, if legend was to be believed, steal the skin and flesh off the bones of bad children.
Manuel didn't believe that. He had tried his best to interact with them, going as far as giving one some fish he had prepared once upon a time. Unfortunately, it seemed that after she took it, the other Quicklies had attacked her...and she was dead within minutes and her body quickly turned to dust. He noted that before the body disappeared, it appeared to be a small humanoid.
He still found no harm in them, at least to him. They did, unfortunately, seem to be almost constantly at war amongst themselves. But he wanted to know who they were and what their story was. His curiosity about such things is why he was so different from the rest of the inhabitants of P'oeste.
There was another point of view. The beings, called the Quicklies by the villagers, had another name for themselves. They referred to themselves as "The People."
They did notice that one human seemed to pay attention to them, indeed would spend years of their lives watching them. Quicklie scientists sought an explanation for why he did that. Quicklie priests believed he must be a god…or close to one.
There was a cult religion which came into existence which revered the man. Its members believed that he must be venerated…and so began building an image of him out of sand.
A rival cult arose, which believed that icons were immoral. So they attacked the Builders and tore down what had been built. To the human eye it was difficult to discern anything but a dust devil.
The scientists, on the other hand, were interested in pursuing intelligent contact. So they attempted to determine the variation between the time rates of the two frames, which were clearly different. And they tested ways in which sound could be altered so that the man's ears could hear what was said.
The linguists among them visited the town church…attempting to peruse the artifacts they could find to determine what words could be said that the man could understand.
Janem was one of the linguists. She spent most of her life listening to what was said in the church…attempting to decipher what was being said. Then one day she saw the Dedo outside one of the windows, speaking from where she could not be seen to their man from the beach and the church man, who was known as Dad Ose.
The thought came to Janem's mind: What do you say to someone or something who could be a god...or nearly one?
Shenshi turned towards Janem and Janem heard, very clearly, "When the time comes, you must speak what is in your heart."
One day, in human time, Manuel observed that the Quicklies were active again in his area of the beach. On the spur of the moment, he decided to show them his latest image he had created using the Simulator.
In the time stream of the People, the image lasted for decades. People sat in groups to observe it and discuss its intricacies. People sat and watched, sometimes, until they died. And then their descendants watched, because their parents had…and their grandparents.
The scientists felt the time was right to contact the man. It took years of her life for Janem to utter the message she had decided on, which had to be spoken clearly, very slowly, and at the lowest pitch she could possibly reach.
When she finished, Janem laid down and died.
As Manuel watched, a Quicklie suddenly became still, then fell over…and disintegrated. A tomb of sand appeared in her place.
The Storyteller grew weary and resolved to reconsider priorities. The songs must continue to be sung, but perhaps not here and perhaps not now. Upon hearing this, the Listener became sad, but understood. Truly there needed to be other ears hearing the songs. The Passenger's stop was approaching. The Engineer slowed the train.
Maybe there would be another WhereWhen, another group of people to whom the stories would have meaning.