Oil Painting and Limited Edition Print of an illustration from a Solar Wind Book Tales of Shattered Earth

Nano Blu
(From the book "1st Tales of Shattered Earth")
Rainbow Jack pulled the stinger from his chest pouch. His head was changing shape again and he felt terminal time must be upon him soon. "Can't take another time slot in green" Rainbow Jack mumbled to himself, as he flattened himself against the graffitied  Roughtown wall. "Gotta end the part-time tick-tockers." He finally spoke at person-volume level.
Today had suddenly become the important driving force and motivator, "and that'll end my head re-shaping." The throngs thronged and the digi-dirigibles glided overhead, but not really overhead, mere cyber vehicles they, for strong techno about mass meaningfuls. Rainbow Jack became aware of the Roughtown wall through his Armasace, his one-time social signal turned element armour. "Now," and he stalked, through a momentary break in his personal fog, making it safe to cross without fear of collision.
The brown and criss-cross loomed into view and the familiar fog descended again.
A tear. But no; false alarm. "No, can't do the wet cheek thing." His stomach hit throat and his head ballooned again, threatening to expose the inner pink softness to the airborne Toughtown filth as one-time Jack the Joyman headed up the cracked gum-spotted ochre. He touched the cool slime, vertical, greasy in his palm, disgusting reminder of all that was Toughtown experience and the brown opened. Stained, purple-yellow under his runners and he was at the queue for lesser grey experience. Flat brown ahead, upright plasti-boxes with bright flat fronts, screaming techno light at the seated Lesser Greys at their terminals. Terminal? Benign incarceration threatened. Others. Ignore. More Toughtowner types. Some newbies, some long-termers, real Toughtowners. He jumped the queue. Red complaints threatened, but warm brown smothering irritations sufficed. Hand slipped into Armasace, stinger in hand, familiar, much rehearsed scenario beckoned.
Stinger semi-pulled, cocked. Primed.
The strained Lesser-Grey looked at him indifferently, with an air of looking at filth. "Green?" It said again. "I'll sting your soft pink" Rainbow Jack griefed. "Green?" said the Lesser-Grey  yet again. "There's a queue. You Green or not?" Rainbow Jack fingered the stinger, paused, but instead took the Green from the other inner pouch of his Armasace. The Lesser-Grey illuminated it under technolight and sleepily brief-checked the screen for conflicting input. Slamph. Old techno hit the Green. "Next." Rainbow wept internally and quickly turned on his heel as a voice said "Hear tell there's some Yellow coming soon." "What?" "Hear tell there's some Yellow coming in from the void soon." Repeated the voice.
RAINBOW glared and fled the greybox, heading for known personal Yellow. "Yellow?" Suddenly he was back in personal Yellow, he wondered quite how he'd got there so quick. Stripping off his Armasace he slumped into his expressor couch, once a widely owned artifact amongst the throngs but now outlawed as an item of individual statement. He put the gloves on, slipped them up his arms, donned the helmet and sang. He sang the songs of beginning, the Solstart, origin of all, saviour of Greens, saviour of even the Lesser-Greys. But not of the Top Greys. The Top Greys would have to be eliminated. Some day. It was to be his planned big creative, his one act before re-start day. Sol would forgive him, it'd forgiven millions over the aeons, so he could allow himself this one base act. "Slay a Greymind." Hey, he liked that. It had a nice ring. "Slay a Greymind', "Slay a Greymind', "Slay a Greymind', "Slay a Greymind.' He spent a good half timeslot singing it over and over to himself, a mantra of loved intention.
That night as visual puss descended on Toughtown a new graffiti appeared on the rough, Toughtown wall.
"Slay a Greymind, free us all."
That made him feel good. But he'd only partially spent his angst. He knew he'd never really slay a Greymind. He hadn't the base in him to do it.
New colour splashed the wall.
Peter Andrew Jones
(From the book "1st Tales of Shattered Earth")

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