"They haul him across the flight deck like pallbearers, face up. Hiro looks into the control tower and sees a couple of faces looking down at him. One of them...is talking into a microphone.
Eventually, they come to a big flat elevator that sinks down into the guts of the ship, out of view of the control tower.It comes to rest on one of the lower decks, apparently a hangar deck where they used to maintain airplanes, Hiro hears a woman's voice, speaking words gently but clearly: "me lu lu mu al nu um me en ki me en me lu lu mual nu um me al nu ume me me lu e al..."
It's three feet straight down to the deck, and he covers the distance in free fall, slamming down his back, bumping his head...Around him he sees and hears the wireheads collapsing like wet towels falling off a rack... A face comes into view, and he has trouble resolving it, can't quite focus, but he recognizes something in her posture, the way she tosses her hair back over her shoulder when it falls down. It's Juanita. Juanita with an antenna rising out of the base of her skull.
"Get up, lazybones," she says. He gets up. He's fine now. But all the wireheads lay around him, perfectly motionless. "Just a little nam-shub I whipped up," she says.
"Don't get me wrong," Hiro says, "but aren't you one of the bad guys now?"
"Oh, you mean this?"
"Yeah. Don't you work for them?"
"No. This doesn't work on me. It sort of did, for awhile, but there are ways to fight it."
"You know what we have to do, don't you, Juanita?"
"Release the nam-shub of Enki," she says. "Do the Babel thing."
"Let's go get it," Hiro says. Hiro recovers the fragments of the tablet, brings them back to the tower, and tries to arrange them into a coherent group. Since he "doesn't have time for jigsaw puzzles," Hiro goggles into his office and uses the Librarian's help; the Librarian takes an electronic snapshot of the fragments, and then reassembles the tablet on a hypercard.
Since the ever-useful Librarian also happens to speak Sumerian, Hiro calls upon him to read the tablet out loud. Hiro grabs the microphone which has been cued to broadcast to the entire Raft, and puts his computer into speakerphone mode.
"Live to the Raft," Jaunita says. "Go for it."
Does the nam-shub work? Please continue reading...
Hmmm, I wonder what Y.T. is up to?
All this "Raft" talk leaves me craving a white-water adventure.