Vol. II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Cover and logo art by Willowraven.
16th Serialized Excerpt, 4/8/14
Leah Iris, 29, Niece of Clara Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator
Interview Date: May 26, 2018
10 Questions for Clara Branon’s Niece:
the Transition, 5 Years Later
5. How do you feel about Clara’s role when it starts? How are you affected immediately?
LEAH: Let’s see. How do I feel, not what do I think? OK. I feel kind of proud. I mean, my aunt is now the most important person on the planet. Right? That’s amazing! [laughs] And, yet, somehow, not as surprising as it might be. [laughs]
What does that make me, besides her very proud niece? Besieged.
Immediately, I have to change my cell number and make all my online and personal privacy settings more stringent because I am getting a zillion calls and messages from media people, almost as many as Zephyr (we compare). My boss starts saying I’m “out for the day” when I’m right there. The paparazzi can’t reach Aunt Clara because Espe is handling all that, but the rest of our family: we’re on our own.
Since I have a different last name (and I don’t even use mine), I’m not as battered by media contacts as Zephyr or any of the Ackermans are, but they do find me and my brothers pretty fast, through my being one of the main online posters, or through my mom, I guess (not that she gives me up; the ‘razzi always keep digging).
We all decide not to give out any interviews because we learn that, if one of us does, we’re all doomed. That refusal is your suggestion, E: Thanks! You are brilliant about all that. Precisely right.
Once media ghouls believe we won’t talk to them, they go away. Eventually. Bigger news stories than our reactions are happening, anyway, with the Transition issues, the Qings and ReInvolvements, and then the psi Wars, so relatives of the CC move lower on the ‘razzi’s priority list. Zephyr and the rest of us are “up” again when everyone gets Tinted, but that’s all right.
Then, I meet Josh, oh, about two years APC [APC, After Public Contact], and my life changes even more! We meet at Zephyr and Kayla’s wedding. So cool. Okay that I tell our meeting story later today, right?
[See Question # 10 for story.]
6. How do you feel about Clara’s role, now, 5 years later? How does her role affect you now?
LEAH: It’s funny. Not funny-“ha ha” but funny-peculiar. There are many months lately when I do not think about the MWC or Aunt Clara’s role or any of the larger goings on. Josh and I are involved with our jobs, our friends, each other, our family members as people, not as CC network nodes. Does that make sense?
Then, something will come on a vid or over the ‘net and we’re drawn into it, tractor beam on full speed. Occasionally, when I’m talking or having vid calls with Aunt Clara, she gets a visit from one of The Band and we all talk for a while. That’s cool.
I think, because of Josh’s work with the cetaceans and other marine beings, we’re invited to go to Janis—Diana’s planet any time we want. We plan to go this year or next. He probably would not be on the fast track for interplanetary travel if he works in some other field. Also, if he and I never meet Janis—Diana, we probably do not get to go as soon, either. So, being related to the CC can be useful!
During the height of the psi Wars, there is a lot of talk about assigning me and my brothers, our mom and everyone in Aunt Clara’s family protective OSes. She always has them, of course. And, Zephyr and Kayla, now Kendall, do for a while. And G-ma Rose. And, Moran’s family. We seem to have some for a while, but it’s kind of hush-hush. I really cannot remember what that is like, now. I think only Aunt Clara. you, Epifanio, Zephyr and his family have protection, these days. Right?
Mostly, I see Aunt Clara and my mom—that entire generation of women—as incredible role models. I hope to be like them as I get older. They’re awesome! So courageous, so innovative, so, well, uniquely themselves. [laughs]
7. Which of the MWC members or other species visitors do you have contact with? How and why, and how is that for you?
LEAH: Angelina, Meryl and I are good friends early on because of Aunt Clara. Then, Josh, a marine biologist and Cetacean Communicator before we even meet, introduces me to more cetaceans who become our friends. I already know ASL [American Sign Language] and Hebrew, so learning CetSS [Cetacean Sound-Sign] and PrimS [Primate Sign] aren’t horribly hard for me. I’m not as good a swimmer as Josh and many others, so the body language and positional parts of CetSS are like baby talk when I do it, but we manage.
Do you know how many spoken languages (not English), like Navajo, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects are tonal, so every inflection and pitch change makes and alters the meaning? Body position, directionality and angles are like that in CetSS, especially when the speaker is completely submerged. With our newer OPTS (thanks, Jessica!), which fit almost like a second-skin, humans underwater are completely visible and flexible enough, but I am such a klutz. I make hilarious clumsiness-induced blunders that Josh and I spend time rectifying regularly.
I feel that it’s more respectful and fun to attempt to speak with each being in something closer to their languages. I like the challenge! I always have the fish when I falter. Cetaceans are very forgiving, which is great. Some things just don’t translate well, even with the fish, and then add in my inadvertently mixed-signal comms and we’re often in confusion and amusement.
At first, I don’t know how we’ll be friends, exactly, given our different environments, but it gradually unfolds, mostly because of the tech: OPTS, iD and the fish are crucial. We message, we exchange info, we meet up in person when we can, and we use the interspecies versions of social media networking sites, which are ‘way cool. We joke about calling the Cetacean-Cephalopod-Pinniped site “Snoutbook,” but it does not catch on. Wonder why? [laughs]
The CHAT (Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry) humans create right BPC morphs into the sono-picto-graph machine which becomes the co-locating use of the fish: so amazingly cool. Wanna hear my name as whistled by Angelina? [I nod. Leah whistles a high-pitched, long note followed by 3 short blasts, laughs].
For Aunt Clara and Josh, interspecies interactions are a combo of professional and personal; for me, just personal. It’s important to me to know them as individuals, not for any “cause” or job. We play, we talk, we share our lives, as any friends do. It’s species-ist to assume otherwise, right?
8. What transforms your life more: your ifish [Interspecies Communication System], your iD [Individual Access Devices Interface], or travel to other planets/moons? How?
LEAH: I was so hopped to leave Wikijism behind and use my iD all the time. It’s is so much better than anything we have BPC! Josh and I are considering getting the implant iDs soon. Before we go off-p again, for sure. I never go anywhere without my fish, since we often interact with non-humans and humans who speak languages better than English for the purposes we’re engaged in that day. We aren’t regular off-p travelers, yet, but plan to be, soon.
I can’t say which is more important in general, but, for me, definitely the fish. I’m constantly communicating. [laugh]
Stay tuned on Sally’s blogs on WordPress (which has all links) and Tumblr, and on The Spanners Series‘ pages on Facebook and Google+, for each of the upcoming Excerpts from Volume II from March 16 – April 18, about one/day.
4/18/14, Volume II becomes available for Pre-orders via Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and nook for half-price: @$1.99, through June 8, 2014.
On 6/9/14, Vol. II goes LIVE everywhere ebooks are sold for $3.99.
#THESPANNERSSERIES #THISCHANGESMYFAMILYANDMYLIFEFOREVER #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING