“I have no fortune for you today.” Liyuan gave Dee a cigarette.
She reached out with indifference.
“How is Icarus?”
She smoked passively, staring out.
“This is worse than a cruise ship. It’s like high school, always stuck in fucking high school.”“You had a bad time there?”
“Always seeing the same faces, doing the same things, going nowhere.”
“That’s not entirely true, Dee. We really are going somewhere.”
“Jesus, Liyuan, what’s wrong with you? Did you actually like high school?”
“Very much. I loved to learn. It was a very exciting place.”
“I had a chance to do something another time a week or so after that, on the subway again,” Liyuan offered. “A young boy, maybe 10 years old, was performing a dance for a crowded train, with his father watching beside him.”
The boy approached Icarus again, head twisted to the side, humming a tune to himself.
“It was late at night, maybe midnight, and so I said something this time. ‘There’s a reason for child labor laws, you know.’ He glared back as the train pulled into Union Square. The doors opened, and he kicks me, hard, just like that. I was so surprised by that. ‘Mind your own damn business.’ And he storms off the train, pushing his kid ahead of him. It took me days to realize that I had been assaulted.”
“I liked living in New York,” Dee offered. “The people are real.”
“Even if they’re racists?” Faith demanded.
Fragments are getting set adrift from Aqaara as I trudge through Draft One:
“Lying to your maker, Em. That won’t get you anywhere.”
“I miss you, Dee. I really do. I look forward to seeing you. I think about coming here. I look forward to coming here to see you and my cat.” Em opened her Bearing, glancing through the images. “And then I don’t.”
“There’s nothing worse than high expectations.”
“I keep mine very low.”
“This is cellular,” Liyuan interjected. “This exchange, all of this is cellular. That’s who is speaking to each other, your cells.”
“Ignore him,”’ Dee replied. “And tell us about your politics. They make you a senator yet?”
“Lai got me an Ethi for a present.”
“What do you get out of it? To do your bidding?”
“Her name’s Emma.”
“I mean, what’s the point of it? Does it tell you how great you are?”
“Dee, why don’t I bring Emma here so you can insult her, like you do with me.”
“Insult you? Em, I only talk to you like you were me.”
“That’s it, isn’t it?”
Seven straight weeks of writing an average of 3-5 hours a day, culminating in 55,000 words, more than half of my second science fiction work has left me feeling empty. I think that I have done something – a summer well spent – and then I think, “So much for what?”
The science fiction writer must avoid excessive explanation of the new world.In this zone of proximal development, the reader not only accepts but relishes being plunked in a new world, as long they are given just enough to figure it out.
Och engaged the signal and listened with the rest to the bitter message from Earth. “This is not open to negotiation. You are ordered to return.”
“We are leaving,” he replied simply.
“We condemn your actions. Your assets are to be seized, everything you own on Earth.”
“We give everything we have left behind freely. It is all for you. Use it for the good of all.”
“For the good of all? You have abandoned your families, your countries, your species.” “We are on a journey to find our new home.”
“Your families will pay a dear price for your betrayal.”
“We would like you to accept our departure, commander. What else is there for you to do?”
“Set your course for return or you will be condemned.” The radio went down.
“They hung up on us?” Dee asked.
Och nodded. “It’s like a bad break-up.”