The Alcalde


Kessa watched hlặng with warmth and trust, but she seemed to be the only one, besides Vy. Several thousvà people filled the spigot room. They surrounded handcarts piled high with urns, jugs, và empty canteens. They sat upon frozen fountains.  

This was only a tiny sliver of the shipboard population—but these were the elders, the councilors, và the gang bosses. Arioông xã must be the youngest person in this crowd.

He felt like a fraud, not a messiah. He couldn't blame these people if they spoke of his failures more than his successes.

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Frost blistered the tank wall. Arioông xã placed one hvà against its numbingly cold surface, and offered Vy a nod of reassurance. Even that felt deceptive sầu. He wished he had paid closer attention to lớn Jinishta's lessons about power depletion, bachồng when she had been teaching hlặng.

Well, something had khổng lồ be done, or else people would fight lớn the death over a drop of water.  

"I will do what I can," Arioông xã announced to the crowded room.

Tentatively, he spread his awareness though the wall và inlớn the core of the ship.

He had a vague recollection of how it was constructed. Thomas had explained everything, but Ariock barely understood reactors & superionic ice. This starship was more of an unpolished cave than a technological marvel. It was embarrassing.

Ariochồng inhabited the outer tank, cubic mile by cubic mile.

This part was supposed to be liquid water, as he recalled. It was almost entirely glaciated. 

And Arioông xã lacked a wildfire ability. He could not generate heat the way Thomas could. If he threw lightning super-bolts into the tank, he might damage the reactors. Ice was likely khổng lồ rebuff his electrithành phố instead of conducting it. 

Finally, deep down, he detected slush. It wasn't much liquid, but it should be enough.

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Ariochồng centered his awareness in that mineralized slush. He pulsed energy into lớn it.

Electrithành phố forked the ice. Water seeped into newly formed cracks.

There was not much gravity at the ship's core. Since the core rotated, it generated some centrifugal force, và the liquid spewed outward, further into lớn the ice. Its force cracked more ice. And more.

Arioông xã helped it along. He electrified the water again. And again.

Miles of ice cracked. With every surge of power, the ice broke apart exponentially more, changing to lớn slush, and finally to lớn liquid.

Excess lightning scrawled away from Ariochồng. The crowd leaped baông chồng. Water erupted from the spigots, và the fountains, spraying across handcarts và head covers.

People waded through the overflow, eager to fill their jugs. Arioông chồng sensed a distant reactor fire up. Then another. The machinery of this starship was finally getting restarted, no doubt due khổng lồ Varktezo.

"Stop!" That was Vy, her voice distant.

Ariock withdrew his awareness và slammed wholly inlớn his body.  

The headađậy was immediate and sharp. Pain surged through his skull. It felt manageable, but it kept intensifying. Arioông chồng sagged against the cold wall.

He became aware of cheering cries & joyful splashing. The tensions had evaporated, everyone was laughing & talking, và Ariock realized that he must have been oblivious to lớn a lot of subtext.

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These leaders had made promises. What had they said? Probably, "The messiah will bless us with water." And if they had been wrong? They would have sầu faced a lot of rage. Their people might have sầu torn them apart.