by Grace Bridges
Cool, smooth metal met Ave’s fingers as she slid down the wall to sit in the corner. No one would bother her here in this obscure corridor—not for a while, at least. She concentrated, and felt the distant, almost intangible vibrating of the station. Its comfort calmed her, and she hummed to herself, head down, hair shutting out the world and thoughts of Smith. A good kid, but they were both too young—only fourteen Foundings.* And the children—the beggars, the poorest of all beings, who didn’t even have a claim to parents—they looked up to her. She must do right, and not be distracted by an obsession for love, as heady as it was. The time was not yet come.
Ave recognised the tune she hummed, and smiled a little: her name-song, and that of the colony. “Arise, Avenir Eclectia; be strong, Avenir Eclectia. Stand firm, Avenir Eclectia; live on, Avenir Eclectia.” A rousing anthem that gave her the tingles. Her first carer had given her the name of the entire colony: Avenir, though she went by Ave. She placed her hands on the floor, felt her connection to the huge space habitat and the presence of the planet below, and hoped she hadn’t hurt Smith beyond repair. He’d understand, someday. Wouldn’t he?
The beings on the planet called to her and she rested in their mental embrace, sensing only the living station through the cool, smooth metal.
Click here for the Eleon song she is humming!
*A Founding being every 15 months, her age is close to 17.5 Earth years.