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Shintoko Akahoshi
Risen Angels
Posted - 2005.07.24 19:06:00 - [1]
 

I wrote this a long, long time ago and posted it in the library, but it seems to have disappeared. I'm being prodded to repost it, so here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

Shintoko Akahoshi
Risen Angels
Posted - 2005.07.24 19:07:00 - [2]
 

Freefall was exhilarating after four years of spin. Up until now her world was the spin cylinder, its gentle 0.6 gee enabling her body to develop without the problems that children raised in free fall can have. At four she was old enough to move out, only spending a few hours a day in it for the next decade or so. Moving out meant moving into the warm, dark tunnels and chambers carved into the rest of the asteroid that was their home. Giggling freely she kicked a bare foot against the tunnel wall and sailed off.

----

Shintoko was five when she saw her first Outsider. The Gallente diplomat floated uncomfortably, unused to freefall. He was clad in a gaudy outfit, all flowing color and brocade, designed to impress but ungainly without gravity to give it direction. He was talking to Mitsune, the oldest of them, in the isolation chambers they had dug after First Contact.

“Why is Mitsune wearing a spacesuit?” she asked.

“Outsiders crawl.” Shinichi said. “They carry bacteria and parasites. That’s why we only deal with them in the isolation chambers. That’s why Mitsune is wearing a spacesuit. You wouldn’t want her to bring such things in here, would you?”

----

Sweat slicked Shintoko's skin as she struggled with a flawless curl of clear Plexiglas nearly as large as she was. Everything about the job was unpleasant, from the fermenter’s gurgling heat to the reek of curing plastic. She was fourteen years old, and had been given the task of moving plastics from where they were extruded into storage. Used to a child’s life of ease, she balked at the work.

“Why do we still work with this stuff?” she complained, “We can get anything we need from the Federation.”

“Economics” her U2 replied kindly. The leaf-shaped cybernetic interface lived in the hair behind her ear where she could easily hear its soft voice. “We grow our own tools as we always have. Our source is the very rock in which we live, our factories the wetware we’ve tended since we arrived. We would have to borrow to buy more Outsider tools. Borrow, or sell more of our home.”

Shintoko followed the plastic out into the tunnel, herding it along with strategically placed kicks against the walls.

----

Space was everything she had hoped. She floated a kilometer out from the asteroid, watching the patterns of stars arrayed around her home. In every way space was different from home. Home was meter-wide tunnels chewed out of the asteroid, with grape-like chambers hanging off in clusters from a twisting, knotted vine. Home was confinement, yet life. Warm and dark and filled with her clade. Space was vast and empty and cold, filled with stars. In space she was alone, yet in space more Outsiders lived than she could count in a thousand lifetimes.

“It’s time to come back inside.” Her U2 softly said.

She contemplated her home as she jetted back on gentle ion streams. A lump of rock housing all of her gene-line. A fragile seed. It was unthinkable that anything should happen to it. Yet she new that from the smallest spore could come tremendous things.

Shintoko Akahoshi
Risen Angels
Posted - 2005.07.24 19:08:00 - [3]
 

Her belongings fit in a satchel scarcely larger than a loaf of bread: A guide computer holding much of the clades knowledge; An Outsider credit card; an inhaler she had carved out of Lucite as a girl; Capsules of hormones to control her new artificial immune system; a small stone chipped from a chamber as a maudlin reminder of home. She wore the only clothes she would bring, loose-fitting polyester shirt and shorts. She hung from a line in the wall of the isolation chamber, waiting for the Outsider ship that would take her to her new life.

She was not the first emigrant Outside. Others had gone before her during the decades since First Contact and Integration with the Gallente Federation. At that time the opportunities had seemed limitless, and fully half the clade had emigrated. They were ill-prepared, however, for the complexities of life Outside and all had failed. In their hubris (for were they not a better line than unplanned Outsiders) they had assumed that they knew what they needed to know. Because of this she would attend an Outsider school – learn the things she needed to survive and prosper Outside, and in doing so she would provide the means for another clade-mate’s education.

A faint musty scent broke her reverie. Almost automatically she tracked down the source of the odor, a small patch of wild mold. A symbol of Outside. The aroma unsettled her, heightening her unease.

----

The Outsider ship was unsettling. She had spent most of her life, save her first years, in freefall and this constant gravity pulled on her frame. The hard floor pressed against her bare feet. She understood at once why the Outsiders wore shoes, and resolved to get some at her first opportunity. The Gallente, who had seemed so clumsy before, acquired an easy grace in this gravity, a grace she would have to learn from scratch. She was cold, too. They kept their ship cooler than home, where clothes were worn for modesty and utility but never needed for warmth. The sounds were unsettling, as well, as were all the unfamiliar faces. The Outsiders had recognized her discomfort and left her to settle into her quarters alone.

She felt, rather than heard, the ship get underway. The shuddering lurch as docking clamps released. A low vibration in the floor from the drive. The alien-ness of the experience threatened to overwhelm her. She lay back on the bed (bed! Such a strange thing for sleeping in gravity…) as the room whirled around her. Bile rose in her throat. She rose and staggered to the small refresher and was noisily sick. Afterwards, she washed her face and rinsed her mouth with water. Raising her head, she noticed herself in the mirror. Red rimmed watery eyes, her skin pale. A red rash spreading visibly over her right cheek. Her body, in spite of its new immune system, was reacting poorly to the microbes. The next few days passed in a feverish idyll while her body adjusted to its new flora.

----

The station was a garish collection of lights, lavish curves and crystal surfaces. She watched it through a porthole as the ship approached. This would be her home for the next few years, while she learned the things she would need to know Outside. It was big. Bigger than she had expected. Touching her inhaler to a nostril she sniffed. Vasopressin cleared her head and sharpened her senses. She would need all her faculties to properly handle the next day, the next week, the next four years. She was an Emigrant.

Ly'sol
Caldari
Posted - 2005.07.29 05:36:00 - [4]
 

love it! a classic never looses its luster!

Herko Kerghans
Taleweaver
Posted - 2005.08.22 02:51:00 - [5]
 


Very HappyVery HappyVery Happy

-

Graelyn
Amarr
Wolfsbrigade
Posted - 2005.08.22 11:55:00 - [6]
 

This was one of the first peices of EVE Fiction I read. Blast from the past.

Yup. Good stuff.

Marie Trudeau
Gallente
Rouvenor Technologies Sarl
Posted - 2005.08.22 14:17:00 - [7]
 

Cool, as always.


 

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