skonen_blades: (Default)
White clam chowder and over-easy eggs. Soup and eggs for short.

Mass was the problem with colonizing. Getting mass near C was expensive. The smaller the load, the better. Sending ten thousand colonists was impossible.

But sending ten thousands eggs and ten thousand loads of semen was way cheaper.

The ship had a chilled cargo of those two ingredients to make human babies. Womb ships, they were called. They had a skeleton crew of scientists, techs, teachers, and caretakers trained to take on whatever challenges might arise at first contact with the target home but after they’d landed and seen that everything was alright for seeding, they’d get underway.

The birthing tanks would be unfolded and irrigated with dehydrated amniotic solution. These giant uterariums would then be flooded with the soup and eggs slurry sometimes referred to as brunch. The old exponential dance would start and babies would pop up like strawberry Christmas lights on the vine. Tendriled, manufactured, multiumbilicals would snake out and attach themselves to a thousand belly buttons. Each tank was filled with fraternal millituplets.

Wait time was the human usual. The children would be boosted with learning enhancers and xenoviral protection. A small percentage were always lost to errors in cell replication no matter how tailored the dna but the average yield was 90% or 900. Harvest would happen in two-year stages, nine hundred per year. This was called the familial ladder. Ten years of baby making before shutdown for 9,000 humans.

The crew would foster them with help from the AI adoptives, working as a team to cram as much knowledge and mental health into them from the get go before they took on their new world.

It was a system that had worked twelve times before. Twelve Edens had successfully flowered with no humans needing expulsion from angry gods.

This was going to be unlucky thirteen.

The tailored enzymes would fail and the entire crop would be born sociopathic and cruel unbeknownst to the crew. As the children grew, they schemed and the crew began began to meet with accidents. Before any of them figured out was what happening, they were gone.

The children were geniuses. As the other batches reached fruition and were born, they were taken in by the first two waves and taught to be just as awful.

The planet survived and flourished. They developed weapons and a reputation. They broadcast torture videos and vile non-consensual pornographic videos. Their system of government was opaque. It seemed like anarchy but they had such organizational skills.

Their planet is isolated. Quarantined. Embargoed. Struck off the records as a failure, they’re monitored for signs of extra-system aggression. They’re an embarrassment.

A closeted mistake until sixteen minutes ago when their entire planet, now decades into post-womb colonization and nearly five generations deep, completely disappeared off of everyone’s scans.

And reappeared near Earth Prime bristling with nuke barrels and planet crackers pointed at our race’s home.

The pirate planet had come home, prodigal son returning.

They didn’t open fire immediately but they did send a message system-wide on all channels before they started the war.

“No more wombships.”

After a heated exchange of nuclear fire that the pirate planet lost, they drove their planet straight into Earth. Terran defenses didn’t stand a chance.

We no longer use wombships for colonization but we are still trying to figure out how those little bastards made a whole planet capable of faster-than-light travel. None of the other Edens have come anywhere near that kind of technology. The philosophical implications of their success don’t bear thinking about.

Evil might be smarter than good.

skonen_blades: (Default)
It’s the engine of the world. A holocaust of denials clogging the locust filters. An overheating of the entire worldwide server. Shouldn’t have built a computer in a greenhouse. The calculations are too fast, they need too much power. The underground network needs to be made of ice to survive. We’re bred to be warm but it we get too hot, we’re toast.

We’re a train of harmonica lizards crawling up the spine of the most expensive hooker in the universe. We’re one accordion short of a political movement. We ran so far away. The dawn is like an explosion, whipcracking across the horizon like nuclear war. The light slaps down across our naked planet like a flipper on an ass and we wake up shocked, hairless monkeys that we are. There is no dignity in a self-caused genocide. It’s pooping your pants times a million.

Lilies crowd our lungs and red farms panic across our skin. We are fertilizer for the next shot at the title. Too successful, our tombstone will read. The exponential infinity mirror march of genes overflowing the petri dish we’re wrapped around. At least we still make good food. Our afterlife is a main course for the new mouths.

Perhaps they’ll be smaller. My money’s on the bugs. Living off the free meat, multiplying by the billions, evoluting up the ladder at a spring with those short life cycles. A little more radiation blasting through the sky sprinkler with no one around to tell them that they’re mutated. Let’s get the trial and error started. Let’s start those ribonucleic shots in the dark. Let’s watch the magic happen. The universe is indifferent to our failure or our success.

We need to leave. We need to spread. We need to paint the other rocks with our biological graffiti. We need to tag our way out, leapfrogging to the stars like hardy cancer. Insurance comes from diversity and a wide spread of buckshot. The more host bodies we cling to, the more resource deposits we parasite off of, the more secure our future. Survival will get us to the stars, not greed.

Let our gods lead us if they must. Let commerce, too, if that’s our jam. Let altruism have a seat at the table, too. But we must leave. The bucket is overflowing with sentient meat. We have to lower the levels.

We must leave. Or we will die.

skonen_blades: (hamused)
The universe is full of life but we’re the aberration
Because we are insane I MEAN we have imagination
Evolutionarily our instincts have propelled us
But soon I fear what made us strong will be the thing that felled us
You see the me in me I think of when I think of me
Is my own brain attempting to achieve duality
When I’m thinking to myself, who am I talking to?
WHO is talking when I DO that? What does my brain do?
People talk about a soul that lives inside our cells
All I know’s that inside me more than one person dwells
The inner fight that haunts our haunted bodies is our fate
Because from birth to death I think it is our constant state
For even though we think a peaceful tribe is our ambition
We cannot help but TO alWAYS succumb to some division
Religions start to have their sects and tribes that form cohesion
Base it on a hatred of the other for some reason
I look down on people who look down on people so
I must look down on me as well but then where do I go?
Each one of us wants fun, belonging, power, freedom, too.
We need to feel included but don’t tell us what to do
We need laws and rules so that we know that we can break them
We give all our emotions names so we know when we fake them
In nature nothing dies of natural causes, it’s ironic.
The old and weak are eaten and to us it seems demonic
But that’s a system working. A systemic ecosystem.
That’s a system that we are destroying with our ‘wisdom’.
Economics don’t exist in forests or the seas
But economics are what’s causing these catastrophes
We have one mouth, eight billion strong, and all it does is feed
It’s bottomless because we’re built with hunger and a need
To live and if I said I didn’t want to I’d be lying
But here’s the truth; that not enough of us on earth are dying
I think the truth is out there and that there is life in space
I think there are planets filled with life that fill this place
Our WAVES and messaGES we spew out to the galaxy
Are noises that will not be understood by any ‘me’
Just card tricks for a dog or television for a cat.
Sure, they’ll stare but they won’t know what they are staring at.
WE might BE uNIQUE beCAUSE we HAVE duality.
A freakish sense of self we call the personality
We put the self in selfie. We just want someone to see us.
But the universe is filled with things that just can’t be us
“To be or not to be” there’s that duality right there
“I think therefore I am” might be a lonely cross to bear.
The truth that I think stands out stark is we were built to spread
Because of our unending need to need our daily bread
We need to go to other planets and to eat them, too
We need to spread like mold spreads spores because it’s what we do
Or else we’ll end up suffocating here on our own gasses
The co2 emissions and the methane from cow’s asses
We’re great at spreading, great at eating, great at rationalizing
We’re great at thinking that we’re great and I’m just realizing
That if the world is a stage and we’re all playing roles
The capability for greatness LIES within our souls
For our duality is what is causing us to die
Because we cannot become one, we always have to lie
There’s one way that we can help the Earth that I believe
1: We have to change and cause we can’t we have to leave.

skonen_blades: (hamused)
There’s a gas giant named Zeus in the Organa cluster that is so big that even its moons have moons. These mini-moons are called moonlets. There are 45 moons and over three hundred moonlets. It makes for very complicated diplomacy.

Most of the moons were settled by miners and miners usually travelled in packs united by a common factor. Religion, race, sexual orientation, pro/anti tech, disposition, etc. This resulted in a rich tapestry of moonlets and moons with different cultures.

Resources were too scarce for outright war between all the moons but skirmishes broke out all the time. Diplomats became necessary. The Moon Council consisted of 365 representatives, one from each inhabited moon and moonlet.

One diplomat stood out from all the rest and not just by reputation. He dressed in leaves and rags and had a long beard.

His moonlet was known only as the Swamp Moon and it had a population of one: him. It was the smallest moonlet, just barely over the asteroid line. Because of its size, however, the terraformer machines had given it an atmosphere before the rest.

He had proclaimed himself the Swamp Moon King. He was so ridiculous that the rest of the Moon System decided to go with Prime Ministers, Presidents, High Maesters, Council Heads and Representatives rather than name themselves kings or queens.

He was a lone king here in the hall. He was quite old now. Many of the other diplomats here on the Moon Council had come and gone due to elections, border disputes and death yet the Swamp Moon King remained.

The Moon Council was called to order and The Swamp Moon King sat down. He’d become like a lucky charm to everyone there. He was a legend to them all. Laughed at? Yes. Derided and sneered at? Positively. But something about his ridiculousness compelled everyone else to take matters seriously.

Ever since the Moon Council had formed, there had been no war. Only successful trade. The Council got the feeling that if the Swamp Moon King ever died, that a critical balance would be lost.

So far it hadn’t happened. So here’s to the Swamp Moon King.

skonen_blades: (Default)
“Okay, they’re coming! They’re coming! Quick hide! Oh man this is going to be great!”

All the people scattered snickering behind bushes, trees and rocks all around the clearing as the cryopositor's trunk arm extended down from the obscenely huge colony craft. The ship’s back end protruded out of the atmosphere. It hung in space, gravity repulsors awake and maxed. It had Ark of Terra barely legibly written on the side. It had been in space for six hundred and thirty-eight years.

The long tube dangled down from it until it first found and then stanchioned itself to the ground. All of the millions of people in the ship were still frozen. Only the most important and competent were awoken first as an advance welcome party. They were in the cryopositor now, awaiting to take their first breath of a completely unexplored and possible hostile frontier world.

Little did they know situations like this happened now and again. The Exodus from Earth had entailed fifty-eight ships over the course of ten years. Nearly a billion people had managed to flee the crowded culling pit that our home had become in those ancient times.

Then we had discovered FTL. After that, we’d been included in an interstellar family of extra-terrestrial beings with thousands of different races. Their tech was our tech. Human lifespans were no longer finite. The far reaches of spaces were more accessible. It was a glorious time.

This had all happened while the Arks floated silently towards their impossibly far-off planets. Millions of hopeful humans asleep in a dreamless night, automated systems keeping them on course. So far seventeen of them had touched down over the last two hundred years on different planets. At first, we’d let them think they were alone for a year or two, letting them get set up before revealing how the course of history had gone. They resented us for that and in retrospect, it was condescending of us.

Now, here, the 18th Earth Ark was touching down on Melandra, or as their star charts knew it, H-L571.

The door to the cryopositor opened. Three people in spacesuits came out. The lead one boldly took his helmet off. His eyes were wide open as he took a first breath of alien air. He smiled as motioned to his two compatriots. They, too, breathed their first. The one on the left unfolded a flag to plant.

We chose that moment, all three hundred of us, to jump out from our hiding places.


skonen_blades: (Default)
The thing about the planet Kuroshka was that it had seventeen centers all orbiting each other. It was several times the size of Jupiter but had managed to solidify anyway. The centers had formed their own molten-core solar system deep under the crust. All these different cores spinning around each other inside the planet created gravity storms above. This made the crust into the hardest naturally-occurring substance discovered in the universe so far. If it had any elasticity at all, it would have been reduced to sand by the variable gravity continually attacking it.

The crust was a dark uniform jade green that didn’t reflect much light. It was flawless and smooth all the way to the horizon. It looked completely unnatural and creepy and warped all sense of perspective.

We’d been placed here to find out how to mine it. A naturally occurring material like this could change the course of any war. But how does one cut such a material? Hell, the only way we could anchor our colonies here was with giant industrial suction cups.

Some colonies get pretty planets that are easy to live on. Lucky them. Some colonies get planets like Kuroshka.

As I suited up for another walkabout, I made sure to check the backup juice in my grav retardants and the sealant in my x-legs. The readouts said no gravity storms but they were only correct about half the time.

“How’s it lookin’ out there?” I asked Brent, our resident gravity mapper. The kid was twenty-three years old non-coldsleep if he was a day. This was the only posting he could get straight out of school. ‘First job is the worst job’ as they say.

“Not bad, Angie. 7.6 R.O.I., maybe arcing to 8 here and there. As long as you stay within two clicks that should be accurate.” He answered without a smile. Ever since Marcus had been crushed before he could activate his failsafes in a freak gravity squall that Brent didn’t see coming, he hadn’t been getting much sleep. Too obsessive can be just as bad as inattentive, I thought, and reminded myself to get him good and drunk tonight.

I snicked my helmet into place and got into the elevator.

The theory we were working on was that the structural integrity around the entirety of the planet couldn’t be uniform. Which is a university way of saying that we were looking for cracks.

If we could find a place where the crust had a small split or crevasse, we could analyze the cross-section and maybe detect a weakness that would let our engineers create a cutting tool.

Long-range and orbital scans had revealed nothing. Now it was down to the ground teams to cover spots deemed by the experts ‘most likely to reveal answers’.

Might as well have chosen search points for us at random, we thought. Hell, maybe they did choose at random. Didn’t change the job.

I got out of the elevator on the surface ‘lock and started walking. The legs of my suit fought the variable Gs while my anti-grav accelerator worked against them to give me a smooth ride. Worked great on any planet with stable gravity but the calibration is what took the longest and out here, a few second calibrating after a wave of G’s came in could mean death. The chaos of the inner orbits made it dicey. Good pay.

My shift was eight hours. I took slow steps, looking at the boring, smooth, unchanging ground for cracks through my faceplate and remembered a rhyme about breaking mother’s backs.

skonen_blades: (gasface)
Night fights.

The competitors had been given injections before the show that would make their blood fluoresce under the black lights when it came into contact with the air. Each one had been injected with a different colour. The tips of their knives have been dyed to glow as well.

I was a visiting dignitary to this planet. It was just past the frontier stage but possessing medical patents that my company was interested in purchasing the rights to. It was my job to visit them and buy the patents at a good price. The local presidential minister was buttering me up.

“This fight promises to be a good one. It’s the end of the season. At this level, the fights are to the death but bonuses are given for bloodletting so that they don’t end too quickly. It’s too bad you won’t be here for the Final next week but this semi-final should be sufficiently entertaining. Two on two. Four fighters in the ring at once. Shifting alliances permitted.” Said the P.M. Darlist Mafey, leering with what he probably thought was a conspiratorial leer. I wasn’t looking forward to this.

We took our seats around the ring. Over six thousand people were here. Nearly the entire population of the town. The ring in the middle was encased in a transparent cube to keep the competitors from leaping into the audience. The murmur of the audience was excited but hushed. Reverant.

A countdown from ten sounded through the speakers and the audience chanted along, patrons rushing to get to their seats before zero, conversations stopping abruptly to focus on the arena.

At zero, all the lights went out.

I stopped breathing for a moment. To be plunged into darkness that absolute so suddenly reminded me of the only unexpected decompression I’d ever experienced. I was briefly terrified before I regained my composure, thankful for the cover of darkness. I heard the P.M. laugh beside me. Regardless of my distaste for the man, I was willing to concede that my heart was racing and I was interested in what was about to happen. I turned my head to where I remembered the ring to be.

There were microphones aimed at the ring that broadcasted from speakers in the rafters. The competitors were led up from underneath the stage and positioned into the four corners of the arena. We could hear their breathing and the shuffling of their footsteps as they took their corners, all of them trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to betray their position.

A strobe light went off, illuminating all of the contestants for a second. My full-dilated pupils contracted at once and I jerked in my seat. Again, the P.M. chuckled. This time, I chuckled with him. I’d seen the fighters in that flash. All seasoned professionals, they had their eyes closed, knowing that the blindness that the flash would cause would be fatal. It was the start of the match. They had the bodies of dancers. I had expected heavyweight boxers. With a shock, I realized that one of them was a woman. The knives in their hands were long and serrated up one side. As long as a forearm. Not exactly swords but longer than daggers.

The tips were glowing, each one a different colour. Red, Green, Violet, and Orange.

Immediately Red’s knife tip charged across the mat to Violet’s corner. Violet’s knife fell to the ground and lay flat. The crowd surged and cheered. Violet’s knife continued straight into the corner and whirled around, having not found it’s target. Red’s knife came up and around in a short arc below Violet’s knife tip, around where Violet’s legs ought to be.

And blood flowed. Red wasn’t playing and he wasn’t going for bonuses. Both of Violet’s femoral arteries were opened. Twin hoses of violet blood spewed forth from Violet’s legs. Violet screamed as his battle was lost and his life gushed out from him.

It gushed all over Red. The glowing violet blood now fully covered Red’s torso and legs. Red was the woman I remember seeing. Bathed in the glowing blood of her kill, Red now stood out as the best target in ring. She looked left and right in panic. A huge tactical error on her part.

The knife tips of Green and Orange waved at each other in a triangular pattern. They’d stayed in their corners during this exchange.

“That the asking of and acceptance of a union.” Said the P.M. next to me. “They’re teaming up to take down the one’s that covered in blood.”

Red bent down to the mat and picked up Violet’s knife. Her arms to the elbows and all of her front from her chin down to her thighs were spattered with Violet’s glowing blood. It was a macabre but arrestingly beautiful sight. She screamed and Green and Orange came for her.

Red did not go down easy. Over the next six minutes, the mat turned into a Pollock painting of glowing blood. It splashed luridly up against the glass as bodies smeared against it and more flesh was parted by metal. Human sprinklers gasping and bubbling as they danced around each other probing for weakness.

The pool of blood in Violet’s corner had footprints leading to and from it as the fight commenced.

Red threw one her knives across the ring and it thunked home into the neck of Orange. Orange let out a strangled yelp and pulled the knife free. Arterial spray fountained forth as he charged Red with both knives. Red and Orange rammed into each other and went down scissoring as Green watched from the corner.

Out of all of them, Green had the least points but was also the least splashed with blood. Still nearly invisible.

Red stood up from Orange’s twitching corpse, a wound on her side painting her left leg with fluorescent crimson. She was covered in the blood of all three of her opponents and now her own blood joined the mix.

Green kept his knife behind his back and faced away from Red, making himself invisible to her.

The tension in the crowd hit unbearable heights. I leaned forward, wanting to shout out a warning to Red but knowing that she wouldn’t be able to hear me.

Green brought out his knife and threw it straight up in the air.

Red looked up at it instinctively. Bad move. Green, invisible without his weapon and unspattered by blood, leapt across and into Red for hand to hand combat. Green’s knife came down in the center of the mat and stayed there as Green and Red tussled.

Violet’s and Oranges bodies stayed where they were, quivering occasionally with the impacts of the Red and Green as they slammed each other into the mat.

Red still had two knives but she was getting weak with blood loss. Her swings went wide as Green punched her in the ribs. She went down on one knee and Green moved in.

One thing he didn’t count on was how slippery Red would be, covered as she was in the blood of the fallen. She wriggled out of his grasp, he slipped on the blood on the floor, and she slid between his legs. Before he had time to regain his balance, she stood up behind him.

Both of her knifes point disappeared as they slid into Green’s back. Green blood trickled down from his wounds as he went down gasping.

Red stood holding her side in triumph in the middle of the ring, breath rasping through the speakers.

Another strobe light went off. I was blinded but in that moment, I saw Red and this time her eyes were open. In the harshness of plain light, the blood no longer glowed in different colours and I was looking at the floor of a slaughterhouse.

The audience cheered. I joined them.

Parts of the canvas were auctioned off after the fight. I bought a square meter of it.

I gave the P.M. a fair price but I threw in a bonus from my personal account.

Now, here, back in my office on Earth Prime, I look at that square meter of canvas. It’s only red to my clients but when I’m alone, I turn on the special lights and see it glow in four colours and I remember that fight.

skonen_blades: (Default)
Technically, there were still two sexes.

The gene techs realized that there was one way to double the births of a colony that was just starting out. Doubling the births meant a more stable gene pool in half the time it usually took. The solution was obvious but it was hard for the human minds back on Earth to swallow.

Two puberties.

One set of people grew up as women and then changed into men on their twenty-fifth birthdays. The other set grew up as men and then changed into women on their twenty-fifth birthdays.

In theory, this meant that everybody got a turn being pregnant and giving birth. The younger women would be impregnated by the older men and the older women would be impregnated by the younger men. Fertility drugs meant that twins and triplets were common.

Scientists. Too deep in their own experiments and repressed sexual urges to see the trouble they were creating. Freud would have had a field day.

The scientists thought that the men who turned into women would still have aggressive enough sex drives to seduce the younger men and that the women who turned into men wouldn’t objectify the younger women in an oppressive way.

In practice, the young ended up having sex with the young and the older ones ended up wanting to have sex with the young. Second puberty became a death knell. The second puberty women became known as cougars and the second puberty men become known as trolls. It was demoralizing to go through the second change.

The colony doctrine makers tried to make it a law that each person must impregnate at least one person while male and have at least one child while female.

The added pressure of legislation caused a resistance. That resistance became a violent rebellion. People were executed when they turned twenty-five. The colony’s social structure took a downturn into hedonism and savagery.

The colony was branded off limits to the shipping lanes and abandoned. They were on their own. It’s a dare now for new space-freighter drivers and pirates to visit the place and attempt to ‘enrich the gene pool’. The planet is no longer on any official charts and its location is spread by word of mouth.

A colony of young savages. Its nickname is Logan’s Eden.

Now, colonies are populated by either xx/xy humans or xy/xx humans but never both. Everyone gets a turn being male and female and giving birth but rebellion is avoided.

skonen_blades: (meh)
The different races on the planet could agree on one central tenet of colonization. Life is a forge.

The bellows are the ebb and flow of hardship, the hammer is adversity and the tongs are hunger. The coals are the planet surface. The forge of life makes men and women into hardened steel or withers them to ash.

It was the 634th planet to be colonized by humans. It was the thirtieth for the Clairnedds, the fifty-first for the Sharkans, and somewhere in the millions for the Koranders. It was one of the only marbles to be colonized by all four races.

They all realized that any kind of warfare would be a waste of resources at this point. There would be time enough for that when their borders nestled up against one another.

They picked points equidistant from each other along the equator and started excavating.

Pressurized camps spread slowly out along the surface, dotting the nightside of the blue planet with two or three clusters of colonist lights.

Tubes of atmosphere connected the small number of buildings in each lonely colony, like in the hamster mazes that the human children were given. Terraforming entire atmospheres was a costly enterprise and uncommon. This was to be a refueling and repair stop, not a pleasure planet.

It would be generations before the four races would run into each other. They didn’t even communicate with each other. They just waited and watched for the inevitable conflict.

These were the peaceful years.

skonen_blades: (jabbadoubt)
The cryosleep tube was frosted over with delicate crystals, framing Angela’s face in a wintry Sleeping Beauty repose.

I could see the T-shaped scar on her chest, the one that matched mine. Brother and sister we were, cloned from the same person back home and implanted with the necessary pumps and valves to keep us alive for the journey.

It was a long-recon. It was found that if a person spent too long in cryosleep, they woke up considerably slower than when they went in. It was a hard two year’s hard work to get them back up to their previous levels of competence. Something about the brain needing stimulation, they said. A natural coma still held dreams, it was reasoned, while the near-death of a meatsicle was a complete state of non-being.

So for one week a year, we’d wake up. One at a time, of course, to conserve the air tanks and life support. We had one day of overlap, though, so that we could talk to each other and hang out.


I never knew if that was a little touch of mercy or humour on the part of the person or computer that designed the roster. Maybe it was random chance. Fitting for the temperature, anyway. It was always something to look forward to.

While never mentally aware of the passage of time, it was my aching Lazarus body that reminded me of the entire year that had passed spent still and sleeping. I was a thawing statue. I was always amazed at the drugs and machines that kicked in to reduce the recovery time of atrophied muscles and organs to under an hour.

I stood now, watching my sister take her first breath. For an hour, I watched her raisin-skinned, crumpled-paper body fill out and shudder as the trodes shivered the muscles into working order. The hydration tanks soaked her dry-sponge corpse into a semblance of living tissue. It was like watching mummification in reverse.

The last to come online were the brain and the eyes. Her crystal blue eyes fluttered open. The top of the bright white coffin broke the seal with a hiss and slid back. My sister cocked her head up at me and smiled.

I offered her my hand. I helped her out of the coffin and let her take my arm as I led her to the main dining room and viewport.

The normal smear of overspace wasn’t arcing past the viewport anymore. Instead, there was a giant planet hovering in front of us. A planet with oceans. A planet with trees and seasons.

She gasped and clutched my arm. A small squeal of delight came from her. The recon was over. We’d found one. All we had to do now was beam co-ordinates back along our trajectory to let our people know. Then we'd let loose the homing beacon satellites and go down to land.

We’d been in transit for centuries. We’d be dead long before the first colony ships arrived. We had the whole place to ourselves for the rest of our lives. This was the gamble that volunteers like us took. It had paid off for us.

We stood there and stared, smiling, tears in our eyes.

“Merry Christmas, Sis.” I said.

skonen_blades: (notdrunk)
It started, as these things always do, with a kiss.

Advice is useless to the young. That is their curse and their strength. They have no idea that some of the things that they attempt are impossible. That’s why an alarmingly high percentage of them succeed.

Like Jonas Brigand, sitting in a cheap metal chair in a prison cube waiting room, starting at his watch, currently waiting for his girlfriend to get out of prison.

“Times are tough in the colonies” goes the song. Young men and women were subject to the same set of laws as the adults. With the ability to breed came responsibility. It was too harsh a world to even consider doing it otherwise.

Once society had been set up, once the terraforming tents were a memory and the world was green, the new generations would be fat and slow on the world that the hardpack settlers like Jonas Brigand and his girlfriend had made for them.

The scars on his hands stared mutely back at him. He was fourteen. His girl, Jayley Cordsmith, was sixteen. Her body was just as strong and scarred as his.

She was pulling six days for drunk and disorderly. Six days of pay gone. She have to work a month of doubles to get that back. She’d do it, too.

Jonas had the beginnings of a manbeard. His flat nose was the result of beatings from the ones that reared him and a life of never backing down.

Jayley had the short dreads of a hullpatcher and was missing a pinky on her left hand. Jonas thought of her working with her hammer belt in the hot sun. She’d be seventeen in Quadrember but he’d be sixteen two months earlier. For two months, they’d be the same age.

For two months, their drinking, mating, and eating privileges would be equal. They’d both have one ‘drop the charges’ card each to use as they saw fit. They could do anything that didn’t result in a loss of life or the damage of company property.

Jonas usually punched a supervisor. It was a popular choice.

Now Jonas wasn’t sure there would be any more cards or privileges for Jayley at all.

Jayley had decided that she was unhappy with the system and stopped going to work. They’d thrown her in the clink almost immediately.

Strike was a forbidden action. It couldn’t be tolerated. There were always one or two people that started the talk once the project neared completion but that was a decade off. Besides, Jayley loved to work.

The door at the end of the hall clicked and hissed. The hatchratchet spun and the door creaked open.

Jayley ran through. Jonas stood up and caught her in his arms.

She was missing a tooth and she had a black eye but her eyes shimmered with the usual angry light.

“We have to take them down, Jonas. We have to make this place ours.” She said.

They hadn’t even come close to breaking her.

Then she kissed him.

skonen_blades: (blurg)
The Broodmaster General was in charge of clone registration and renegade tracking. He was starting to see his fellow humans as mold. Give them anywhere dormant, wet and humid and humans started growing, building, excavating, and spreading. Embryo farms, baby jars, splice mixers, and nurseries popped out fresh rows of humans read to start consuming.

It was called Coret's Syndrome, after the slaughter of Janus IV when Aleksander Coret depressurized his entire colony in a kind of existential disgust. Broodmaster General Malcom Butcher knew the warning signs but he also knew that he'd never go so far. He changed the subject of his inner thoughts.

There were eighteen pair types here, bringing the complete number to thirty-six individual physical strains. His lips curled, thinking of the list. A wide sprinkling of races and body types. Diversity in action. The interbreeding would begin at maturity after teaching.

His secretary was a Sarah from the last colony, hand picked for subservience, intelligence, and an attention to detail. Also, she was hot, he was in power, and she showed an anamolous want to travel. Eighteen years they'd wait here, babysitting this rock until he'd go to the next one and Sarah would be replaced from the current brood.

He had fantasties of going rogue, starting a warrior farm and all that but it smacked of hard money. Plus, what's in a name. Malcolm Butcher? They'd suspect him immediately. He sat in the crane skychair looking down at the dorm-domes pressurizing near the center of the chosen crater.

Seeing the two soft white domes grow and tremble stirred a familiar feeling. He buzzed for Sarah.



5 May 2007 18:20
skonen_blades: (bounder)
She left me for a trucker. I wasn’t even mad. Hell, I understood.

The thing about truckers is that they have trucks. They go from place to place. The come in to port, drop some stuff of and then, and this is the important part, they leave.

I liked it here.

Susan grew up here. Ever since her fourteenth birthday, she couldn’t face a single day without illicit drugs to make her feel like it wasn’t so bad. Her doses were increasing. Her late-night searches for anything to distract her from her existence were becoming more frequent.

This rock isn’t a very big place. There are only six bars.

I’d heard stories about her late-night carousing with other men. I put it down to being young. Given time, she’d adjust. I forgave her. It’s not like her behavior was unusual. Anyone in their teens here generally went a little insane.

Anyone can watch the screens and see that there’s a whole connected universe out there with excitement and input. For teenagers, it’s the biggest tease there is.

For us folks over thirty, it’s a little reassuring to know that the universe is out there and we’re safe from all that noise down here in the rock.

Here, we have four colours of rock and a perpetual night sky. If I were to wear an outsuit and walk around the entire asteroid, I’d be back home in a month. It’s not a big place.

Extracting the ore takes time. Mining runs in my family. I honestly don’t know what else I would do.

Susan was the soft body that took the edge off of my constant world of grease, dust, and machinery.

Turns out she was doing more than just carousing in the bars with other men. She was, like a lot of the girls here, looking to trade sex for transportation and get the hell away from here. The prettiest girls succeeded.

It’s a shame. It seems like our second highest export besides the ore is beautiful teenage girls.

The women that stay here and get themselves employed and/or married become humorless and muscled. I have no problem with that.

I’ll always remember Susan.



skonen_blades: (Default)

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