Old writing: Earth story

I was branching out into sci-fi, trying to do a futuristic apocalyptic piece about astronauts returning to a broken Earth. Again, it ended up more of a character study than any sort of plot. There is a little more of this but it didn’t really go anywhere – you might be sensing that plots are my weak point!

Kawaii went into the medical room to see the people they had picked up. A vote had been taken, and they had decided to remain at the station until any more information had been gathered. Aver had recruited Lance to help him continue through the records, trying to work out what had happened to their planet.

The three people lay in the beds set into the walls, the healing mists gently curling over them. The Doc chimed as Kawaii walked in.

“Stable and successful.” it said quietly. “Shall I wake them?”

“If you could just wake the girl for the moment, Doc, and leave her slightly sedated? I want to talk to her. Let the other two sleep.”

The mist over the second bunk retreated. Kawaii pulled one of the chairs out of the wall and sat down, watching as the girl’s eyelids flickered. She wasn’t pretty, having a slightly mis-shaped nose and a thin face, but Kawaii could see animation and beauty in the face as the girl awoke. Her character gave shape to her features. She was still bemused as the mist fully retreated, so Kawaii put out a hand to stop her as she tried to sit up.

“Stay there.” she said gently, putting all the reassurance into the tone that she could muster. The head turned towards her, eyes large and an odd grey-green colour, filled with a slight panic and looking a little scared. “I am Kawaii, and you are on the spaceship Starlight. What is your name?”

Ah-ha, so she really was a telepath. Kawaii felt the touch on her mind and smiled, but tried again to get the girl to talk. “Do you have a name? Where are you from?”

A feeling of incomprehension, of curiosity, a slight fear. Kawaii fed reassurances back, and then began to make the link stronger, trying to get images, beginning with the Earth and the bundles tied to the metal, adding a sense of curiosity.

Back came a feeling of time and fear…her fear over their ship? No, other people’s fear of the ship. The choice of three outcasts as a sacrifice, maybe a wonder – they would delay the monster. The vibrations of the ship, and then nothing.

Why her, Kawaii mentally broadcast, why the three outcasts? Why outcasts?

The youth, a flash of an image – the boy bending over a heap of metal that Kawaii recognised as a skimmer, fiddling and mending. And a flash of triumph as he managed to power it, the hum starting again, even through they had found him and smashed it before he had got it to lift. He had been beaten for that, and not trusted. The other man knew stories and believed old tales of the moon, explained what the light in the sky was, tried to piece together records. He had come across them suddenly, from somewhere else. He looked different. And she knew what people thought, she was strange. They did not belong.

So what had happened? Did she know anything about the past, why the cities and machines had crumbled?

Fighting, anger. Something had gone wrong. The machines had gone wrong? The man would know. She didn’t.

Her name? Kawaii tried to frame the thought, as she had no real way of asking. In thoughts, people were automatically who they were. There was no need for names.

Incomprehension.

Kawaii resorted to sign language, pointing to her chest and saying “Kawaii.” The girl’s smile was shy, but she pointed to her chest and said, “Mere.”

Kawaii pointed to the where the young man was. The girl’s smile faded, but she said, “Willam.” Kawaii caught hints of an attraction and a sexual encounter in her portrayal of the young man. To the older man, she shrugged, then said, “Nou nom e Peter, but ich ne known em nom.” Kawaii smiled, understanding from her mind that they had called him Peter, but that Mere didn’t know his real name. She nodded, and then mimed hunger. Mere nodded.

“Doc, can you wake the other two?” Kawaii said. “I think I should introduce them to the rest of the crew.”