12 June 2017

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The flames that warped across her field of vision shuddered the frames of her cameras. Her pain sensors had been removed which was probably a blessing but Ravendawn felt like something was missing. Hard data about hull integrity minnowing through her mind was useful but the spur of pain could be helpful. This atmosphere was doing its best to ignite her into a firework as she tore through it. She retracted her stabilizer fins before they completely disintegrated. She was more bullet than craft now.

This planet’s pink skies pillowed away from her on all sides, forming a pepto-bismol trampoline she was doing her best to pierce. It was a lovely place. No locals according to the scans. On the charts it was called DK485/c-9 but she’d get to name it whatever she wanted if the scans held up; the perks of being a pioneer. She was thinking maybe Judy like her biomother’s favorite actor. Or Centuryhawk.

Ravendawn reduced her speed. Her name stenciled on the side of her body was still intact but starting to blister and bubble. If the atmosphere didn’t yield soon, she’d need new detailing on top of a new paint job. It would be expensive but if the scans checked out and she was primary, it’d be a miniscule expense in the face of her new riches.

In her belly, the machines slept, waiting for the spasm of release. They would form the mining giants and bio harvesters that would build themselves out of the raw materials of the planet’s crust and crawl away from the impact crater, moving factories striping the planet with megameter-wide troughs of scoured bedrock.

Ravendawn was a planet harvester. A former human’s mental imprint housed in a deep-space arrow. A scant 6% of biomatter remained intact in the nucleus of the ship. All of her senses were sensors. Her eyes were varied and legion. A ladybug death flower on a mission of wealth and destruction.

One of a thousands, pinballing around the the universe, claiming and abrading planets.

The process left a planet heavily scarred but with enough of a biosphere left that, several millennia and a handful of ship generations later, it would have fully healed. Ready for another contact.

Lucrative. The retirement homes for her kind were gated servers near guarded planet cores where she could indulge in any constructed fantasy she could imagine. This was her ninth planet. One more and she’d be able to lock in to retirement for a real-time century, nearly infinity inside the machine.

The soup of the atmosphere cooled around her as she slowed, her skin going from white hot to red to orange, the holes in the clouds behind her staring to slow their expanding irises of rupture.

Half of her vision turned hot teal and protocols slammed shut all throughout body. Alarms sounded. All forms of scan shunted forward to the target. Magnification ratcheted up and her emergency ascent thrusters braked her sharply to a stop. All of this was involuntary reflex from directives peppering her insides. She violently stopped. The slosh of momentum inside her made her nauseous, a humanity leftover.

Damn, she thought.

She zoomed in on forty-six spectrums.

There, beneath her, in bright blue fur, was a four-armed child the size of a cat drawing a picture on a rock. The child looked up at Ravendawn and looked back down, continuing the drawing.

It was a drawing of a fast dot tearing holes in the clouds. It was a drawing of Ravendawn coming down to roost.

No more evidence was needed. This planet would be marked off limits and Ravenclaw would resume her search of leads. Mostly the data was reliable but sometimes life could evolve in between the scan logs and the arrival with the distances traveled.

Ravendawn banked and swooped back up into the dark space with a few cameras pointed back to watch the creature that had denied her this planet’s treasures.

The blue child watched her go, frantically trying to capture the detail of the ship’s moments in the sky to show her tribe.


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You can BE a good person with mistaken beliefs.
The fact you can change does not make you weak.
If YOU try to COMprehend other folks’ views
Accepting them doesn’t mean “they win, you lose”
Invisible privilege is real hard to see
I’ll tell you a tale of what happened to me
Of the ignorant person that I used to be
Of the changes I’ve gone through. And I MEAN recently.
I grew up poor in a small BC town
We didn’t have much that was non-white around
But I grew up odd and was bullied a lot
Often lamenting the life that I got
Believing that I was a downtrodden boy
A victim oppressed without that much joy
A person in touch with ev-er-y-one
A judgement-free liberal, enlightened son.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME I was steeped in my whiteness
My maleness, my ignorant, cisgendered rightness
But still I allowed my young mind to believe
The rhet’ric of privilege didn’t PERtain to me
I thought I was kind and, ironically
I raged at the people who dared disagree
But as the years passed and experience grew
I realized that THERE’S less of ME than of you
That being locked into this skull is a curse
That bias is natural. And what makes it worse.
Is it’s easy to never examine your mind.
Cause we’re all the good guy. We’re all fair and kind.
My point is I changed. I’m still changing now.
I ask myself why. I ask myself how.
I try to unpack and in-VES-tigate
I try to reflect more. I try to relate.
I feel like I’m woke but I know that I’m wrong.
I know that the path to awareness is long.
I know that I’ll never be fully awake.
No matter how hard of a path that I take.
There’s racists that don’t know they’re racists out there.
Misogynists thinking they’re fully aware
I saw some graffiti down in the east end
In spray paint it said “If you ain’t white, pretend.”
Shutting off empathy can make you feel strong.
Certainty can feel like power. That’s wrong.
Rigidity can feel like pure confidence.
But that doesn’t make any actual sense.
In closing, it’s hard to be called out on stuff.
No one likes being ‘accused’ and it’s rough.
But open your ears and your eyes and your mind.
No matter how woke. No matter how kind.
‘Cause while you can feel so enlightened you’re glowing
Stay humble. The process is always ongoing.
I was born on lost ground. There’s a lot to make up.
And miles to go before I wake up.



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