I'm glad to see this story complete. I had it in my mind for over a year before I set fingers to keyboard over it.
The average sentence length is seven words. I once had a chapter of Secret Life whose average sentence length was six words until I got to the end, so seven words seems to be the lower limit of my comfort zone (I say comfort zone, because I know that I can get shorter and intend to push until I get there). Compared with eleven or twelve words, which is my usual average, this is a piece with short, brisk sentences. Which is what I was aiming for, so that's good.
What is the fluid?
There are a number of references scattered throughout the story that hint at this.
- And the fluid is the gate and the way to the gate.
- She knows the gate. She has become the gate.
- It is the gate. She is the gate. And the way through. To energy.
- Key? She's the only key that she needs.
- Present and future blend together under the fluid's influence. Existence and prediction moving together, compounded as she pushes further than she ever has before. Her past his future.
- Where she treads, only he can see. And not for long.
Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread."Uaaah!" is taken from a magical incantation in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward which also includes the name Yog-Sothoth.
So the fluid is Yog-Sothoth, and by assimilating it into the body one is assimilating Yog-Sothoth, in effect temporarily becoming part of Yog-Sothoth. This handily answers any objections to how physical laws are or are not interacting with the speedsters. For the time that the fluid is part of their bodies, they are effectively demi-Outer Gods. As extensions of Yog-Sothoth, tapping into that other place from which He hails, they are not beholden to our physical laws alone. In the place where intersect our universe's laws and His, there they are.
The Sphere and the fragment are both Predecessor artifacts. The Sphere could easily contain everything that humans ever knew- not just the history that we still have recorded but the plays that have been burned, the journals that have been lost... everything. As soon as it's decoded humanity will be effectively posthuman within a few years. Too much will be changed by what the Sphere makes possible, for us to be in any way, shape, or form homo sapiens. Some of us may not even have DNA anymore. To put it a different way, it'll show us how to become Great Old Ones ourselves (and maybe I'll one day leave some implications that this is sort of what all Great Old Ones do, leave little artifacts like this around almost like droppings, because they have enough use to us to be manufactured and used, but are cheap enough for us to produce that if one goes unaccounted for we don't really care, like great cosmic pop cans).