2.14 Fibrillation

The accommodations aboard the Sunspot for those who are disabled are good, but they are not complete or perfect. People make way for those who are in despair or panic, but exuberance and noise still happen.

When the dancers took the stage and the crowd began to cheer, Aphlebia’s whole world screwed in on itself, becoming a pointed stick, and pierced their mind. Everything outside of that excruciating pain was void, but they felt things in it, like the ground. Mostly the ground. They felt their body shaking with every vibration of noise, including their own heart beat, and every time one of their palms hit the ground.

They had to get away from every voice. And every movement they made brought them closer to one while the others faded just a little. But it was also all just an unintelligible roar. But, through that roar was a rhythmic thumping. And that thumping felt reassuring so they tried to crawl in the direction of it.

They were so close to it to begin with. Supposedly there was music, too, but the only intelligible thing Aphlebia could make sense of were the footsteps of the dancers. It didn’t take them too long to crawl into a space where the cheering was somewhat muffled and the sound of dancing was all encompassing.

They were able to open their eyes.

Looking around, they found that they had worked their way under the stage in a relatively straight line. This allowed them to look back through the crowd, between the legs and tails of the people there, to see Ni’a amongst their family.

Ni’a looked stricken. Eyes wide. Arms limp at their side. Mouth drawn tight. Their skin had subtly changed color as blood had drained from it, taking a gray cast. And they were visibly shaking.

Their body was wracked with tremors that increased with each dancer’s footstep.

Aphlebia knew that they themself were experiencing sensory overload. It was clearly hitting Ni’a even harder.

Ni’a’s knees buckled and they fell to the ground.

The instant their knees hit the ground, Ni’a shrieked. And they shrieked with more than their lungs. They shrieked with the air immediately surrounding their body. Everyone on the surface level of Agaricales heard it.

And that’s when the whole ship thumped.

And that’s when the stage collapsed.

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