Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Fiction for March 27, 2009

Friday Fiction is being hosted this week by Josh on his blog, Just Joshing. Head on over to find Mr. Linky and the other great submissions for Friday Fiction.

“Precocious by Consent” is now up to over 7200 words, and I’m in the middle of Chapter 4. I thought about posting an excerpt from it this week, but wasn’t sure which portion would work well for Friday Fiction. Additionally, I felt like something a bit more upbeat, and so far, PbC has been fairly heavy on the drama.

I decided, instead, to post another excerpt from “The Eridanus Dream”, which gives a bit more insight into the two main characters, Y’La and Sean, along with the contrast between the spiritual views of the two cultures. The scene takes place aboard the lander vessel, Pisces, the first night after Y’La has found Sean. Y’La is in the bunk compartment with some of the women of the crew, and has surprised them with her ability to access Sean’s memories (including language) from a distance.

The Same God
From Chapter 4 of “The Eridanus Dream”

Y’La turned her attention to Amanda, who was starting to regain her composure. “You… are… aloof… one?”

Her expression turned serious. “Is that what Sean thinks of me?”

“No… not… Sean. Your… eyes… tell… me.”

Amanda sputtered. “Why?” She stammered for a moment, before blurting out, “I’m from an Executive Family. We’re supposed to be aloof!”

***

Y’La stood, assuming the pose and the expression of authority. “I am a priestess,” she said confidently and without hesitation, holding the strongest connection she could to Sean’s mind. “As were my mother, and my grandmother, and all their grandmothers before them. We are the leaders, and the teachers, and the judges of our people, but any priestess who does not love her people is nothing.”

“It’s different with money,” Amanda said.

Y’La found the key she was looking for in Sean’s memory, though the strain of the heightened connection with his mind weighed on her. “You lost this wealth?”

“How did you know that?”

“Then you have no more than these others?”

***

Amanda blanched under the intense gaze of the priestess. Only once had she ever needed to appear before a municipal council, and this felt very much the same way; something within her feared terrible reprisal if she attempted to lie. “No. I have no more than my crewmates.”

“Then you are the same?”

The question was rhetorical, yet Amanda resisted the implied answer. Her social pride screamed inside her. No! We’re not the same! I am from wealth and power, not some middle-class development! I have been raised to be respected, admired, and attended to! The words threatened to spill past her lips when she heard her sister’s voice from before they left. They never respected us, Mandy; they respected the money, and now that the money is gone, so is the respect. It was why she had applied for the mission; the potential million credit bonus offered the way back to the life she preferred. She bit her lower lip, holding the gaze of the priestess.

“Then you are the same?” Y’La repeated the question.

Amanda averted her gaze. “I guess so,” she admitted quietly. At the end of the mission, they would all either be wealthy, or just adequately compensated for their time, but all would have the same payout.

Y’La sat back down.

“You must be a pretty good priestess if you can get her to soften up,” Becky said. “What does a priestess do here, anyway?”

The hesitation was back in her speech, and her words sounded tired. “We… teach… about… God… and… Her… ways. We… rule… on… Her… laws. We… must… be… God’s… hands… here.”

“A woman God,” Lorraine said. “What a concept. Won’t that set off the traditionalists back home? The men will stick to the male God, and the women will flock to this God.”

“They… are… the… same… God.”

“How?” Lorraine objected. “If they’re the same, why did women get such a lousy deal for so many thousands of years on Earth?”

“Your… world; father… is… strong. You… identify… God… as… ‘Father’. My… world… mother… is… strong. We… identify… God… as… ‘Mother’.”

“But what gender is God really?” Amanda asked.

“Does… God… need… gender… to… create… life? No. Gender… is… for… flesh… not… spirit.”

“But how do you know it’s the same God over both worlds?” Lorraine pressed.

“Sean’s… memory… of… your… scriptures. God’s… name… ‘I Am’. Our… scriptures… God’s… name… ‘I Am’. Chance? No… I… think… not.”

“If you say so,” Lorraine commented dryly. “If you don’t mind, though, I’m still going to prefer the woman God.”

“As… you… wish. Forgive… me… I… tire… of… all… this… searching.” She lay back on the bunk and closed her eyes, quickly drifting off into a peaceful slumber.

***

Sean stood in the darkness a short distance away from Pisces, staring at the stars overhead. It was the first quiet moment he’d had since Y’La had found him, and he thought over the events of the day.

“You okay, kid?” Bob asked, laying a hand on his shoulder and giving him a gentle squeeze.

“She’s asleep, Bob, and right now she’s dreaming that she’s standing out here, looking at the stars, and talking to you,” he said, ignoring the question.

“You sound pretty sure of that.”

He rubbed his forehead and then brushed his hair back. “Now that I know it’s happening, I have an awareness of it. Just like she knew when I was dreaming, and would do things to help me prepare for the meeting, I was supposed to be doing things when she was dreaming to help her identify where I was. I think it wouldn’t have mattered what the weather was like for our descent, we’d have still ended up in this valley.”

“Yeah, I think you’re right about that. Are you okay, though? You’re going to spearhead the meeting of two worlds, without much training in Xeno-anthropology. I know I’m scared, and I don’t have nearly the role you have to play in this.”

“I’m a bit scared right now, but whenever I’m touching her, all I can feel is the confidence she has that this is exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. She has no doubt in her mind whatsoever that she and I were intended for each other and that this is all part of some Divine Plan. Why me, though?”

“Do you believe in God, Sean?”

“I was raised to; I was taught from a young age that nothing happens by accident and that everything fits into God’s will.”

“I didn’t ask how you were raised; I asked if you believe. Do you?”

“Three weeks ago, I told Alice I wasn’t sure if I did. Tonight, though, I’d have to say I do believe in God.”

“Maybe you just answered your own question, Sean. Maybe it had to be you because you were the one willing to believe. Maybe all that stuff you were taught from a young age was just to prepare you for this day.”

7 comments:

Teresa Lee Rainey . . . said...

As always, love your characters. I'm quickly becoming a fan.

Catrina Bradley said...

You always leave me wanting more, which is what a good chapter is supposed to do, huh?

The Surrendered Scribe said...

I love how you can take a chapter out of your works and it easily stands on it's own and captivates. I'm so glad you participate in FF!

Joanne Sher said...

Fascinating characters, Rick. Got me anxious for more.

Stina Rose said...

I enjoy your style. Your characters are wonderful!

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Intriguing!

Josh said...

Wow. I have to read this whole story. This is amazing stuff, Hoomi. I really like this a lot. Makes me also want to check out Cardan's Pod. How can I purchase a copy?