September 30, 2012

Excerpt From "Children of the Device", by Camille Alexa

Today's excerpt is classic sci-fi, from a very cool story.  Read, and be hooked.

1:1  According to the ship's chronometers, it's a brand new year, and in some archaic tradition carried from Earth by our forebearers along with the tablets, we are urged to make a resolution.  I'm not entirely sure what this entails, but have resolved to begin keeping this diary, this weekly log of thoughts, observations--maybe even jokes if I can think of any not too unfunny even to record them in this digijournal, where they'll never be seen or read or even suspected by anyone else ever.  We'll see.  It's the first Saturday of a new year, and I, Hannah, of the fifth generation of the first and last of Earth's colony ships, The Elkanah, resolve to keep as true and faithful an account of myself as I can.
1:2  Is it possible a whole week flew past?  Unbelievable.  Between one Saturday and the next seems a long endless trek from one quadrant of this hulking ship to another and back again and back.  The Elk escaped collapsing Earth with its colonist complement numbering in the thousands.  It's not always easy to decipher our earliest recordings, but shipboard outbreaks of various plagues have a way of making everything else--captain's logs, medical records--seem less important.  Even we fifth-gens have had our share of outbreaks, viral strains like the one that killed my parents mutating in unanticipated ways under the intense radiations of deep space.  Guess those who shot us into the void as the last bombs wiped out Earth anticipated a lot of things, but not that.  No matter how long they'd had to prepare, they might not have been able to safeguard against that first plague, or the subsequent mutations, or the sterilizing effect on the majority of the survivors.  And they certainly couldn't have known how few survivors there would be.
But some few hundred of us are still hanging on, along with the thirty thousand embryos in cold stasis.  Wish I were one of the lucky ones, like Penny, who can have children. Children to love her, talk to her, help her with her portions of the lichen field harvest and the repairs to the urine stills in our quadrant of the ship.  Children to carry on, find another world and get right all the shit we pitiful humans messed up on the last planet.
Yes, Penny's one of the lucky ones.

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