A Pouch The Navy Mirror

The pouch was made of soft tan suede, with fringes. His parents had given it to him on his tenth birthday, filled with gold chocolate coins. It had never lost the connection with treasure in his mind.

The Navy mirror had belonged to his grandfather. It wasn't much to look at, and most of the circuitry wasn't functional any more. All it showed him when he looked into it was his own reflection. Grandfather had told him how it had worked in the days of the Navy, before the death of the last family of Techs. It was years before he got up the nerve to take it apart and look at the insides. He could read the Old Empire script on the small objects within--Grandfather had called them "chips"--but they were only abbreviations for phrases he didn't know.

Many of the chips were loose, and he didn't like to think of them rattling around and possibly damaging the mirror further, so he put them in the pouch, evicting the silver space-cruiser he'd found on the tarmac one day and several brilliant aviet scales.

He never gave up on the hope that they would rediscover the old technology. As soon as he was old enough, he joined the new Navy, so he could learn how to sail the world and look for more traces.

When he died, as his grandfather had, of a disease that a century ago would have been easily treatable, he begged his comrades not to bury the mirror and pouch with him, that they were too valuable to be lost with him. But they took this for delirium--he would need his most precious things in the next world.

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com