alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Alex Conall, social justice bard ([personal profile] alexconall) wrote2014-03-15 03:41 pm

Forgotten Hills of Earth [[community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam freebie]

Ruan Shui-wen stood at the top of a green hill, queen (or so she might, for a moment, fancy) of all she surveyed. She'd be lucky if she weren't elected queen for real. She might of course insist on being Spartacus or Washington, two fixed-length terms and then have done with this 'leading the colony' nonsense, but that would probably just stick Jetta Molina with the task of being Shui-wen's successor.

"Naomi?"

At the sound of her other name, Shui-wen turned. "Makena," she said. The officers of the Skywalker no longer stood on ceremony with one another, now that there was no longer a Skywalker for them to command. Or many officers left. Ensign Makena Carver was one of the lucky ones: her low rank had probably kept her alive. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," said Makena. "You've just been out here a while."

"I'm just thinking," said Shui-wen. "Everything we worked out on the journey was on the assumption that we would be the only sapient beings on Aurora. How much will we be able to keep, now that we're invading Trycanta?" Back on Earth she had seen a bumper sticker: Was Columbus a terrorist or an illegal alien? How much more true must that be of the Mayflower, and how true of the Skywalker?

"To hear Jetta Molina talk, we were invited," Makena said. "But I understand. I've heard whispers—"

"A little louder than whispers," Shui-wen said. "If we're thinking of the same thing."

"President-for-Life Ruan," said Makena.

"Why don't they just call me Queen and have done," said Shui-wen. "I don't want it. I did not sign up for a leadership role."

Makena started to answer, then stopped. "Oooh," she said, laying one dark brown hand on the swell of her stomach. "The baby kicked!"

Shui-wen smiled.

"Anyway. Some are born wicked, some achieve wickedness, and some have wickedness thrust upon them," Makena misquoted. "I think, like it or not, you're one of the third sort. Jetta too."

"Wicked girls saving ourselves?" Shui-wen asked, laughing.

"Yes! Exactly. And everybody else too." Makena looked around, suddenly sober. "This place has a beautiful view," she said. "I hope we don't spoil it."

"As long as we don't forget what hills like this looked like on Earth," Shui-wen said. "Houses and stores and highways as far as the eye could see."

"I see you've been to Pittsburgh," said Makena, and they both laughed.

"Your baby—" said Shui-wen, and Makena stilled. "Your baby won't know what Pittsburgh looked like, except from pictures. And the pictures might not last forever—if the hard drives die before we duplicate them, or make hard copies of the contents—"

"And the littlest kids have already forgotten Earth," Makena said, nodding. "We'll tell stories of how it used to be. That's what stories are for."

Shui-wen nodded. "Start composing the stories of Queen Naomi the Tyrant now," she advised.

"You're not thinking of taking the job, are you?" Makena asked, horrified.

"Wickedness thrust upon them, remember? I may not have a choice." Shui-wen looked away. The shape of one nearby hill evoked the shape of a hill she remembered from visiting a local friend's home during her days at Carnegie Mellon. Was it a Pizza Hut or a Papa John's at the top of that hill?

Did it matter?

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