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Previous Entry New story Oct. 30th, 2006 @ 06:49 pm Next Entry

Letters Home, Chapter 1: the Grand Tour

Inspired by:

taken by partylikechewie
Prompt posted
Oct 16 2006
Story Type: Original
Content Cautions: Absolutely none, though if you're insanely extremely agoraphobic you might find this story a little squicky in the implications. As you can tell from the picture. :-> Other than that, G-rated and innocuous.
Critique: Very welcome, no kid gloves needed.
Summary: Kids always move away in diasporas to the Frontier, but sometimes they still write home. Quite short. Possibly first in a series.

Lillivaran Station
Terran date: June 11th, 2062

Hi, mom!

Sorry it's been so long since I wrote, but here's some pictures to make up for it. You know how I am when things get busy. After a long day's work slaving over the electrons one of the last things I want to do is sit down and stare at a screen trying to write ...

I finally got my permanent residency permit! That's right, your baby girl is now officially a Lilliputian. There is a traditional hazing ritual-cum-celebration for flatlanders like me who decide we want to belong -- the Grand Tour.

I don't know how much detail I went into before about exactly how Lillivaran's put together, but think of us like a big soda can spinning in space, only with a giant novelty pencil shoved through the middle and a bunch of stuff welded on the outside skin. The farms and parks open onto the main cavity, both to scrub the air for us and to give those of us not born vacuumheads somewhere to go and pretend we can see sky. Most of the living quarters and offices are under the farms, since the gravity's better out near the edge; there's a bunch of zero-gee industries in the Spine, which doesn't rotate. That's also where ships dock, since trying to hit a moving target with an airlock is just stupid.

Between the Spine and the farms (which are colloquially called 'Kansas') is 'Tweenspace, a network of catwalks, causeways, and supports, rotating with the outside; it's where they mount the lights and the misters, for one thing. There's also, however, a well-marked and traditional path of clambers and climbs winding through that mess from one end of the can to the other, and I'm sure you can imagine where I'm going with this, now that you've seen the picture! That's Bill next to me, he works in my office and was applying for a permit too, so we went together for company and moral support.

Let me tell you, fifteen miles on the flat in Chicago is NOTHING AT ALL like fifteen miles of catwalks hanging a hundred feet over prime farmland, even with the safety lines -- and even without all your friends standing underneath with binoculars and big orange pennants to cheer and jeer you on.

It's a good thing Bill's holding me up for the picture, because I was just about ready to fall over and sleep for a week. Instead, of course, we went out drinking, which is why my official picture on the permit looks hung-over. But bad ID pictures are as traditional here as back home, so that's all right.

Geez, I gotta go, but I'm going to send this off now anyway, since I've owed you a good letter for weeks. This still isn't it, but it's better than nothing, right? Say hi to Dad, and give Snookums a hug for me. I miss him!

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Date:October 31st, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)
I had this idea the first instant I saw the photo when picking prompts, but I couldn't figure out how to say, "And they're in a space habitat!!" in anything more than a few sentences until this framing device came to me.

No idea where, if anything, this is going to go. There's some Stupid and some Sloppy built into this story because of me deciding 'now and done' was better than 'amazing,' but that's what this community is for, right? Practicing JUST DOING IT when it comes to writing.
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Date:October 31st, 2006 02:17 am (UTC)
I didn't really notice that it was "stupid and sloppy." In fact, I liked it a lot. Awesome job! Now I have to get off my duff and write that one story I've been meaning to.
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Date:October 31st, 2006 04:09 am (UTC)
Well, not to get too far into the details of sausage-making, but I have her exposit several things that, in theory, she oughtta've told her mom a looooong time ago, only it's convenient for me to explain it now so the readers understand. :->
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Date:October 31st, 2006 04:17 am (UTC)
I like it--a lot of worldbuilding in a very few words. And the Grand Tour sounds like a lot of fun. (Obviously I'm weird--but 15 miles of low-gee monkey bars? How could anyone resist?)
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Date:October 31st, 2006 04:20 am (UTC)
I know a lot of other similar quirky things about the Lilliputians and their customs, and an outsider who's becoming, slowly, an insider, is a great way to exposit such things.
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