VIOLENT TIDES • by Sagan Yee

General Rasa tilted the battlefield 36 degrees. This made the violet particles representing her army appear liquid, pouring across the holographic basalt to clash with the enemy units pooled below. Victory as subject to gravity, like a shell spine falling predictably to the ground when shed. Reality was not so elegant. The simulator’s clean topographies gave the falsehood of precision.

With a pincer flick, Rasa zoomed in on the conflict. Violet was winning, only just. She modified a few conditions, moved a pathfinding marker, reset. The violet wave swallowed the opposition’s vanguard in a ribbon flash of white. Orange’s retaliatory surge was costly but effective. The numbers on both sides went down, down, down.

The general stared at the specks of light, trying to imagine which of her girls would survive to return a hero. Dezei? Orsomina? Rhovex, the little mite? Were it up to Rasa, her family would still be clustered on the far side of the vent with the rest of the peacetime substrate. But the pheromone bloom of war had accelerated the colony’s egg production, and those born at high tide were duty-bound to defend the sessile masses back home during the vulnerable shallow season. There was no resisting the lunar pull of the frontlines.

Rasa’s thirty-six thousand daughters had long since merged with the rest of the infantry, but she still held each of their names in her head, like pearls. She continued reciting them silently as she ran the numbers again, and again, and again.

Sagan Yee is a non-binary media artist and organizer based in Treaty 13 territory, Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada). Their creative practice includes animation, speculative fiction, screen-based digital games, playful experiences, and alternative controller collaborations. They are the former Executive Director of Hand Eye Society, a non-profit video game arts organization, and a Clarion West ‘21 graduate.

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