by R.W.W. Greene


From Issue 19 (Mar 2012)

A lot of people cheered when our space plane docked with the Sam Walton but I wasn’t in the mood. The ride up was terrible. First I felt squashed, then I felt like I was falling, then I just wanted to puke. The flight attendant had handed out anti-nausea gum before we took off, but people were throwing up all around me. A couple of rows back, someone missed the barf bag and vomit bubbles floated by my head. The attendant captured it with a net. Gross.

“Ten years ago, this would’ve cost you half a million bucks,” my Dad said when we strapped into the plane. “We get to fly for free.”

Mom had smiled, but I could tell she wanted to cry. She’d been tearing up off and on since we said goodbye to Grandma last week.

Dylan kind of whimpered when we took off but went to sleep as soon as we entered free fall. I think there was more in the gum than anti-barf medicine.

While waiting for takeoff, I read all the info and safety cards I could find in the seat pouch. I do that whenever we fly. It makes me feel like I’m doing my part to keep us from crashing. One card showed that the space plane can carry 400 passengers “safely and comfortably into orbit”. The Sam Walton is full at 50,000 colonists, which means it will take 125 flights to get us all aboard. At four flights a day, that’s a little more than 30 days.

Dad said our flight was set for the middle of the boarding schedule, giving us about 15 days before we left orbit. Fifteen days of staring at a planet that I’ll never be able to touch again. Joy.

“Hayley,” Dad said, “you’re awful quiet. Are you still feeling sick?”

I looked at him. Part of me wanted to say something mean. A smaller part wanted to say something nice.

“I’m fine,” I said. “I’m just practicing my math.”

Mom and Dad are both math people. He’s a machinist and she’s a micro programmer, which is why their colony applications were accepted. Dad could probably recreate any part on the colony ship. Mom writes code for fones, our portable data and communication devices, finding ways for them to do more with ever-smaller programs. The colony-lottery people probably drooled and crossed their fingers when my parents submitted their applications. Sucks for the colony that they got me in the deal.

Dylan inherited their math brains. He’s only eight but already knows more algebra than he should. I do OK, but it’s work. I’m better at writing and art. Dad sometimes calls me a ‘right-brainer’ and kids Mom about having an affair with a milkman, whatever that is.

As soon as we docked, the flight attendant made an announcement. “Please keep your seats until your assigned attendant escorts you to the habitat ring. You might feel a little queasy in microgravity but you’ll be all set once your feet are on the ground.”

I wanted to shout at them: You’ll never have your feet on the ground again!

It took about an hour to get everyone off the plane. Most of the colonists came aboard in family groups and that’s how they were escorted off. When our turn came, the attendant showed us how to unstrap and pull ourselves along the handrail to the docking ring. It was pretty much like being in a swimming pool, but Dylan grinned like it was the best thing in the world. I wanted to hit him.

I snagged my backpack on the door but the attendant helped me through. Everything I still owned was in the pack, all 15 pounds I’d been allowed. I’m small, like my Mom, and none of my friends take my size, so most of my clothes went to charity. My parents sold a lot of our other stuff at a lawn sale, while I hung out at a friend’s house. I just couldn’t stand to sit there and watch my whole life disappearing into other people’s cars.

The flight attendant passed us off to one of the Sam Walton‘screw, who introduced herself as Spaceman Apprentice Jen Dudevoir. “Call me Spaceman Jen,” she said, as she led us through a wide corridor to the habitat ring. She reminded us that the ring was set to constantly spin to approximate Earth gravity. I wanted to tell her “Spaceman Jen” sounded stupid, but it probably wasn’t her fault.

We could walk just fine in the ring, although I still felt lighter than normal. Dylan jumped around like a freak until Mom threatened to send him back to Earth. Spaceman Jen led us through boring taupe corridor after boring taupe corridor. Eventually we got to our quarters.

They were just that, a space about one quarter the size of our house back in New Hampshire. Mom and Dad had a tiny room for themselves. There was a slightly larger family room with some chairs, a couch and a wall-sized Vid screen, and a tiny bathroom with a combined sink and toilet. Showers were “communal,” Mom said. The room Dylan and I are to share was like a closet, with bunk beds.

“I get top,” Dylan said, practically sprinting up the ladder to the upper bunk.

I took a deep breath but it didn’t help.

“Mom, I don’t want to share a room with him.”

“It won’t be so bad when you get used to it,” Mom said. “Your bunk has a privacy screen you can use to shut us all out. There’s a Vid in there, a lapdesk and some shelves for your personal stuff.” She touched my arm. “It’s only until you graduate high school, and then you can move to the singles’ dorms if you want.”

“That’s in four years!” I’d left all my friends behind, left Grandma, left all my stuff and now I had to share a room with my brother! “This was your idea, not mine! I didn’t want to come. I could’ve stayed!”

I glared through tears. Back on Earth I would have run outside or up to my room. Here, I could run out to the corridor, where anyone could see me, or to my bunk, and hope that I could figure out the privacy-screen controls before I looked stupid.

I opted for the bathroom, and locked the door behind me.

Dad banged on the bathroom door and yelled for a while. I could hear Mom telling him to stop shouting and that I had to come out sometime. She was right. There wasn’t much to do in there and, since it was now our only bathroom, I couldn’t keep it all to myself. My brother had to pee, like, twice an hour, and I knew he hadn’t gone since we left Earth.

I came out in about 10 minutes and we silently agreed not to look at or talk to each other for a while. Dylan was already playing a game in his bunk so I dropped into mine to see what was up.

Inside, the bunk was maybe twice as wide as me, and two feet longer than I am tall. The sleeping platform was adjustable, so I poked some buttons to get it into a reclining position and got the Vid dropped into place. I found the switch for the privacy screen and let it cut off the sounds of explosions and laser blasts from the upper bunk. Each bunk has its own ventilation system and can be sealed in an emergency, keeping the occupant alive for up to 48 hours. For now, it was just a good place to get away from my family.

I flipped through the ship’s entertainment options until Mom pinged me and told me it was time for lunch.

All the families in our section of the habitat ring were scheduled to meet for three cafeteria-style meals a day. We followed the directions in Dad’s fone to our dining hall, where we joined the queue. We each took a tray of food and carried it back to our assigned table. Lunch was a fresh green salad with a soy curry and a brownie for dessert.

“Enjoy the fresh water while you can, kiddo,” Dad said. “It might not be so tasty once it’s been circulated a few thousand times.

Yuck. I looked at the squeeze bottle of clear water on my tray and wondered what color it would be in 50 years, after everyone onboard the Sam Walton had drunk it and then peed it out over and over again.

The families around us, all recent arrivals, pretty much kept to themselves. There were a few tables of singles, men and women who came on board alone, but most people accepted as colonists are part of “stable family units,” whatever that means.

About midway through the meal, one of the ship’s officers approached the lectern at the front of the room. He introduced himself as Lt. William Quinn and welcomed us aboard.

“Over the next five days you will spend a lot of time learning about the Sam Walton and its systems. Then you will have two days off, just like back on Earth.” A lot of people laughed at the lame joke; I crossed my arms and glared. “Then on Monday, it’s back to work for all of you. The kids will go to school, the adults will report to their job sites. Business as usual. You’ll work hard, go back to your quarters and then kick back and relax. In 16 days, the Sam Walton will leave Earth’s orbit and then our journey really begins.”

My mind wandered back to the video Mom had shown us when she broke “the news”. Our destination was Proxima Centuri, a star system about four light years from Earth. The plan was to use an ion drive to get the Sam Walton to Jupiter, where it could pick up some speed with a gravitational slingshot maneuver. Then, in two years when we left the solar system, the Walton would use its nuclear-pulse engines to accelerate to cruising speed. If all went well — and we didn’t blow up, run out of air or freeze to death — we’d rendezvous with Proxima Centauri in a little more than 85 years. Mom and Dad would be dead and I’d be pushing 100.

“It took us less than 200 years to damage our first space ship, Earth, beyond repair,” Lt. Quinn said. “The one we’re on now is a lot more fragile. The air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat is all part of a carefully balanced system. Follow the rules, watch out for each other. We’re all in this together.”

There was applause and some crying after that. Mom made us all hold hands around the table for a few minutes of silence. I peeked once and saw that Dylan was looking all around with a big grin on his face. I scowled at him and he grinned even harder.

“We’re in space,” he mouthed.

Tell me something I don’t know, I thought.

The rest of the day was full of meetings and tours. The officers said they didn’t expect us to remember much our first day, which was why the whole of the next week was scheduled for orientation. After dinner we went back to our quarters and I told Mom and Dad I was turning in early. I wasn’t tired, really, just … full. In the space of 24 hours I’d left Earth for the last time and boarded a ship that I would spend the rest of my life on.

I washed up a little in the bathroom and headed to my bunk. I changed into pj’s and engaged the privacy screen.

Then I cried.

It wasn’t fair. My family was practically religious about recycling and power conservation. Mom and Dad both biked to work and the bus we took to get around town was electric. Problem was, Mom said, all that came too late to help and too many things sped up the problem. That big oil spill in 2010, the nuclear meltdown in Kansas in 2015, the meteorite strike in California the year I was born … Scientists said we’d vaulted over the so-called tipping point and there was nothing we could do about it. Most of the life on Earth was dying and humanity, as we knew it, wouldn’t be far behind.

Part of me cared but part of me didn’t. I missed Earth. I hadn’t seen any of my friends since my family entered quarantine six weeks before launch. Sure, there were Vid calls and e-messages but fewer and fewer of them as the days passed. Only six kids bothered to wish me good luck on launch day and Ben’s message called me a “deserter”. I knew he was only half joking.

I dried my eyes on my sheet and went to sleep.

School on the Walton was different than it was on Earth. For one thing, we attended class in person instead of logging in from the study carrels in our bedrooms. We also ate lunch together, which meant we could talk about other people in person, not just in e-chat.

My new friend Amanda’s news made me forget to chew my sandwich. “Megan is dating one of the crew? I can’t believe it!”

“Believe it,” Amanda said. “I saw them making out on the observation deck.”

“She’s going to get her heart broken,” said Brenda, another one of our lunch crowd. “You know what they say about the crew.”

Amanda grinned. “They’ve got a girl —”

Brenda chimed back in. “Or boy —”

I finished it. “In every residential area.” I’d only heard it about a dozen times.

“So what do you want to do tonight?” Brenda said, changing the subject. She was 13, and still a little awkward about boy talk.

“We could hit the movies,” I said. “They’re playing a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ marathon.”

Amanda winced. “Seen it. Don’t need to see it again.”

“Me too, half-pint,” Brenda said. “There’s never anything but old-time stuff and Westerns at the movies.”

“It’s brainwashing,” I said. “They want your brain to be nice and clean for the colony.”

Colony life was going to be nothing like life on Earth, or so the teachers kept reminding us. We wouldn’t have houses, or stores, or highways. Anything we’d need, we’d have to make using the limited resources we had on board and whatever we found on the planet. To prepare us, “entertainment” options trended toward films about pioneers and the Old West. When it wasn’t turning us into cowboys, the theater showed movies about the end of the world.

A single syllable chased the vision of the Cowboys of the Apocalypse out of my head.


I jumped. The voice was deep, and close enough to my ear to tickle. I turned my head in time to see someone straighten behind me. I squinted upward and then swallowed hard.

“Hi,” I said. I saw perfect teeth. And blonde hair. And blue eyes. And boy.

Oh, boy. “Creep much?”

He grinned. “What are you guys doing tonight?”

Tom was a grade ahead of me and president of his class. He grew up in Alaska. His Dad was a survival-skills teacher, his Mom was a geologist. I’d learned all this when he’d come in to talk to all the new students. Part of me must have been listening, because I remembered it. The rest of me was tingling and, in my head at least, shooting around like a comet. I know I was nodding at the right things but I had only two conscious thoughts in my head: “Pretty” and “Mine”.

I shrugged. “Oh, you know, taking over the ship and going to party with the Marslings.”

“Cute,” Tom said. “If that doesn’t work out, the sophomore class is holding a dance in the cafeteria at seven thirty. Music, food. Just like a sim, but real.”

Amanda put her arms over her head to stretch. I scowled because I knew she was really making sure Tom saw the difference between her chest and mine. “Maybe we’ll try to fit it in.”

Tom shrugged. “Your call.” He looked at me. “Hope to see you there.”

I watched him leave, feeling like I’d been hit with a heavy pillow. Amanda laughed. “Someone’s got a boyfriend.”

I scowled again. “I don’t —.” An alarm siren cut me off, leaving my mouth hanging open. I sort of recognized the sound from safety training but any doubt vanished when the captain’s voice sounded over the intercom system.

“This is not a drill. Drop what you are doing and return to quarters immediately. All hands to general quarters.”

The message repeated on a loop, and the siren continued pulsing.

“What’s going on?” Brenda said. She sounded scared. She looked it, too.

I took her hand. “We’re leaving orbit in five days, it’s probably a maneuver or something.”

She nodded but didn’t look convinced.

“Let’s get back to quarters,” I said. “We’ll find out faster if we’re online anyway.”

It was a bomb. It would have taken a nuke to blow up the ship entirely, but the bombers hadn’t been that ambitious. They’d rigged the explosive to take out the water tanks, instead. Spaceman Jen had spotted the bomb during a routine spacewalk and had died moving it away from the tanks.

The Walton was one of six ships in the colony mission, one from each of Earth’s inhabited continents. The bombs were safely defused on four of the ships but the European Union vessel, the Richard Branson, wasn’t so lucky. No one was hurt but the tanks had blown, leaving everyone onboard the Branson very high and mostly dry.

We were confined to quarters and put on emergency rations until the crews could get a handle on what happened. I was just getting used to the idea of living on board the Walton, I’d even made a couple of friends; now the whole colony mission was in jeopardy. If we missed our window, we wouldn’t get another shot at the Jupiter slingshot maneuver for years. Then what? The Mars colony was barely self-sustaining and would never be able to handle a 300,000-person population explosion. Would we just orbit until the next window? Go back to Earth?

We got our answer three days later.

“Tuesday, at 07:20, the colony ships Sam Walton, the Rupert Murdoch, the Gates-Sawiris, the Carlo Helu and the Li Ka-Shing will leave Earth orbit for rendezvous with the planet Jupiter,” Lt. Quinn told us the day after the lockdown ended. “Then it’s no stops until we’re at Proxima Centauri.”

“What about the Richard Branson?” a tall man yelled from the middle of the dining hall. “What about the terrorists?”

The two bombers on the Branson had been caught. They’d made it easy by sending a message to Earth, crowing about their success. They’d claimed to be part of No Escape, a group of mixed-faith religious fanatics who’d decided the colony missions defied God’s plan to let the Earth die.

“The Branson will not be joining us on this leg of our trip. Repairs and resupply have pushed them past the current launch window,” Quinn said. “They will be fully ready for the next window, two years from now.” It looked like he took a deep breath; then he gripped the edges of his lectern. “The No Escape conspirators on this ship, and the four others, have yet to be identified.”

I’d never seen a riot before but Quinn’s answer seemed about to cause one. The terrorists were still on board! Someone had planted a bomb on the ship, and they were still free to cause trouble.

Quinn signaled for silence, shouting to be heard above the din. It took a couple of minutes for people to chill. “We’ve identified a list of potential targets and have placed them under high security for the duration of the emergency, however long that might be. Meanwhile, we are continuing our investigation.”

Quinn took a few questions and then left for another meeting. Most of us stayed put, talking about the terrorists. Dad figured there was not much the terrorists could do with all their potential targets under guard. “Plus, where are they going to get more explosives?”

“Colony stores,” a woman answered. “There are literally tons of explosives in there.”

Dad nodded. “True, but only the crew has access to the stores.”

“If nothing else,” Mom said, “the terrorists will be dead by the time we get to P.C.”

As we filed out of the cafeteria, I felt a hand on my arm. I turned to see Tom.

“Hey,” I said.

“Hey.” He grinned. “We missed the dance.”

I nodded.

“How about a movie tonight instead?”

I smiled. School wouldn’t be back in session until we’d left orbit so I had a bonus weekend. “Let me ask my parents.”

It took some work but I convinced Mom and Dad that the movie theater was not a likely terrorist target. Tom and I got to the movies just as one got started, a real oldie about overpopulation and global warming.

During the film, I looked over at Tom and saw that he was looking at me. I leaned over. “Are you staring at me?”

“Maybe,” he said, catching my hand in his. He lifted it to his lips and kissed it. “Watch the movie.”

Afterward, we got some nachos in the Star Lounge. The big window was about three-quarters full of Earth. Even from here the world looked dingy, and I knew from school that the oceans used to be a lot less green.

“Do you think it will get that bad?” I said, pointing at the view with my chin. “Riots and people making crackers out of dead bodies?”

Tom shrugged. “Maybe. That’s what everybody was saying before we left.”

“Do you ever feel guilty that we got to leave?”

He shook his head. “I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”

“What about the people still down there?”

“They’ll be OK once they get their heads on straight.” Tom grinned at me and took my hand. “Come on. Leave the nachos. I want to show you something.”

Tom led me to a part of the habitat ring I hadn’t seen before. We stopped in front of a door and he put his hand on the biolock. He smiled. “Come meet my family.”

Tom’s Dad, Tigh, looked just like Tom, but old. He also looked tired, and like he hadn’t shaved in a couple of days. When we came into the family room he only looked at Tom. “Who’s this?”

“This is Hayley. You said you were looking for –”

Tigh held up his hand. “Who are her parents?”

“The O’Briens. Her Mom is a programmer, Dad works in Engineering.”

Tigh nodded. “She’ll do.”

I was doing my best to follow the conversation, but I felt like I was missing something.

Tigh sighed and rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands. When he finally looked at me, his eyes seemed wet. “Hayley, today is going to be hard on you, and I’m sorry. This wasn’t part of the plan.” He smiled thinly. “At least not my plan.”

The air felt thick, and I swallowed to clear it out of my throat. “What are you talking about?”

“We’re going to stop the colony mission.”

Oh, crap. “You planted the bomb?”

He nodded.

“You killed Spaceman Jen!”

He shook his head. “That was an accident. No one was supposed to get hurt.”

I turned to run, but Tom was leaning against the door. I glared at him. “Are you part of this, too?”

He nodded but didn’t look at me. I turned back to Tigh. “I’m not helping you do anything!”

He nodded. “You won’t have to. Just look scared.”

That wasn’t hard to do once he tied me to a chair in front of the Vid and started recording. He waved Tom out of range of the camera before identifying himself as the No Escape bomber.

“Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they that pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him,” Tigh said, reading from his fone, screen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come.”

Tigh looked back at the Vid camera. “We live in a time of wonders but have forgotten where these wonders come from.” He shook his head. “We sin and then try to escape God’s judgment by fleeing to the stars. But we can’t.” Tigh looked at his right hand and then raised it to show the camera. “I have given myself to the Lord and this is His hand. With this hand, He can reach you, even here in the darkness.”

Tigh had started out calm and quiet but his voice rose as he spoke until he was almost shouting. “You cannot hide from Him!”

Tigh promised to set off another bomb, one that would kill me, kill him, and blow a big hole in the side of the Walton, unless the captain vented the ship’s water into space. If the No Escapers on the other ships were following a similar plan, and it worked, the colony mission would be set back by years, if not stopped completely.

“You have twelve hours,” Tigh said, and stopped recording.

I was crying by then, and I could barely see as Tigh turned to Tom. I just wanted to go home.

“You need to go,” Tigh told his son. “Stay somewhere public. I’ll send the message out in thirty minutes.”

“But I want to stay with you!” Tom said.

Tigh gripped his son’s shoulders. “If this doesn’t work, we’ll need you in reserve.” He smiled. “Besides, I’ll need you to explain this to your mother later. You tell her I’m sorry, and that I’m praying for her to find her way back to me.”

“To us.”

Tigh nodded. “To us.” He smiled and patted his son’s shoulder.

Tom looked at me. “I’m sorry.”

“I thought you liked me.” I cringed at how pathetic I sounded.

Tom looked like he was about to cry. “I do. But God – my Dad – needs me to do this.”

“Bullshit!” I threw myself from side to side, trying to get loose. “I hate you. You people are crazy!”

Tom ducked his head like my words were actually hitting him, and hurried out of the door. I saw Tigh glance at his fone. He sat on the couch and clicked around on the Vid control until he found a movie. “Be quiet and watch this, or I’ll gag you.”

We watched together for a few minutes.

“Let me go,” I said. “Please. I’ll hide so they think you still have me.”

Tigh shook his head. “No you won’t. Watch the movie.”

It was a comedy. Some kind of mistaken-identity thing. It didn’t hold my interest.

“Where’s the bomb?”

“You don’t need to worry about that,” Tigh said. He pointed at the Vid.

He checked the time a few more times and finally pushed a button on his fone.

We watched awhile more.

“I need to use the bathroom,” I said.

He shook his head.

“I really have to go. Please!”

He shook his head again but got up and walked over to the chair. “No screwing around. You have three minutes.”

I nodded.

Tigh untied me and walked me to the bathroom. “Leave the door open.”

I scowled at him and crossed my arms.

“Fine, close it. But don’t lock it.”

I nodded and went in. The door slid shut behind me and I immediately slapped the big red button marked “Emergency.” I heard a hiss as the door sealed and the tiny room switched over to its emergency power and air supply. Outside, I knew, a bright red light started flashing over the bathroom door and I heard Tigh start hammering on the lock.

It pays to read the safety cards.

There were emergency rations and a comm unit behind the mirror in the bathroom. I called Mom and Dad to tell them I was alright. “Tom is in on it, too. He’s staying out of the way until it’s all over.”

“Your father is calling the captain now,” Mom said. “Are you sure you’re OK?”

I swallowed. The sound of her voice made me feel like a little kid, and I suddenly wanted a hug more than anything in the world. I almost told her that I wasn’t OK, that I needed her and Dad to come get me. “Is Dylan there?” I thought my voice sounded shaky.

He’s right here. Dylan, say something to your sister.”

“What should I say?” Dylan said.

“Tell Hayley you love her,” Mom said.

“I love you.” Dylan paused. “Does it smell bad in there?”

I laughed, wiping my eyes with my sleeve. “Not as bad as you, punk.”

I was in the bathroom for about an hour. Tigh tried the pounding thing a few more times, but it didn’t do him any good. I couldn’t hear much more than that through the insulated walls. Mom, Dad, and Dylan stayed on the fone with me the whole time. They only hung up after one of the crew tapped in the code to let me out. The chair with the ropes was still there, but Tigh was nowhere in sight. I took a deep breath. The air tasted kind of tangy.

“Where’s Tigh?”

The crewman grunted. “In the brig. We gassed him.”

I nodded. “You get Tom, too?”

He nodded.

“Can I leave?”

The crewman palmed the door open for me. “After you.”

He walked me back to our quarters. Dylan tackled me as soon as the door slid open. He was crying, and I hugged him hard. Mom and Dad joined the hug and pretty soon we were all crying.

“What’s going to happen to them?” I asked after a while.

Dad shrugged. “A trial, probably. There are prison facilities onboard. Maybe they can be rehabilitated. It’s a long way to P.C.”

I nodded and started sniffling again.

Mom hugged me. “What’s wrong, honey?”

I wiped my nose. “Nothing. I’m just glad to be home.”

Copyright © 2012 by RWW Greene

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R.W.W. Greene

R.W.W. Greene is an American writer who got into the fiction game after a decade of print journalism and a career change. He teaches Creative Writing and Journalism at a large public high school and is studying fiction writing at Southern New Hampshire University. If asked for his literary influences Greene would list Kurt Vonnegut, J.G. Ballard, Gary Shteyngart, Hunter S. Thompson, and Robert Heinlein.

Greene lives with his wife, Brenda, their son, and two cats. He was married by Princess Leia in front of the full-sized Tardis he built in the backyard

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8 Responses to “It Pays To Read The Safety Cards”

  • It pays to read the safety cards, no doubt! Great piece of fiction. I really enjoyed it.

  • Kellianne Sweeney:

    Captivating story. I enjoy stories that are set in a different reality. This would be a great start to a full length novel.

    • I agree, this could be developed into a full-length novel.
      From the very beginning, it had the “taste” of some of Robert Heinlein’s juveniles–“Farmer in the Sky,” “Time for the Stars,” and “Podkayne of Mars.”
      If you haven’t read them you should. If you liked this, you’ll like those. The first two are first-person narratives from a teenage boy. The third, though, is first-person by a girl just about Hayley’s age.

  • Richard O.:

    A well executed piece of short fiction. I’ve read a few other pieces by R. W. W. Greene in the past, and this continues to live up to my expectations of how good his work can be. As Kellianne said, I could certainly see this becoming a very interesting full length novel, but it still works on its own as a short story, and a great one at that!

  • Will:

    Good read — love the ship names.

  • Pratima:

    Great story! I was on the edge of my seat.

  • I liked it. As I wrote to Kellianne, it reminded me of three of Heinlein’s juveniles. Oh, and I liked the (unnamed) reference to the movie, “Soylent Green” which was based on the Harry Harrison novel, “Make Room! Make Room!”
    That was Edward G. Robinson’s last movie.

  • Fred, I’m glad you liked the story. Another story exploring this universe was published in Mused last weekend. Best, Rob