CHEAPJACK PULP, Issue 916
Belane Haddaway stows aboard a wormhole ship to see the stars.
The knock on the door came as no surprise to Belane. She was shocked it had taken this long.
Every hour since they had taken off Belane had waited for angry messages. They had finally come. Several of them, all in a row and each more furious than the last one. Her father was made more furious by his impotent inability to reach her. If her thoughts were a bit smug, Belane forgave herself. She had not thought it would be so easy. Now, facing the angry crew member, she regretted having to involve the ship.
“You are not supposed to be here,” the crew member said. His name was…Gant? His solid body rippled with muscle, a surprise for a person who spent his life aboard a starship. There was artificial gravity and no doubt a variety of equipment to keep all manner of humanoid bodies in shape on the long journeys. He was attractive in that way that similar humanoid races shared. It had been long ago suggested that all the technological worlds had to be seeded somehow as they all bore a great deal of DNA in common. That could not have evolved at random, scientists agreed.
“I am an adult,” she said, lifting her chin in defiance. “I can be anywhere I want.”
His eyes narrowed. He had no eyelashes, as if the people on his original planet did not need them. She saw no body hair under his crew suit. She shouldn’t have been intrigued by a non-Earth human but warmth suffused her body.
His skin was the rich color of bricks like back on Earth, the planet her ancestors had come from before they went to Oobos. The world had suited her family for over a century. It wasn’t for her. She yearned to see their original home of Earth, the second world discovered to have space going humanoids on it. Compulsion drove her—she had to see it. Getting off Oobos and out from under her parents had been the first step.
“Do you have permission to use this cabin?” he asked, gesturing around the cramped quarters. There was little need for cabins in a wormhole ship. Most people chose to make the journey in stasis to avoid losing the time between planets. Once a person took a trip on a wormhole ship their life was never the same. Even if they came back to the planet within the lifetime of their friends and family, they would be a few years older while decades would have passed on the world. This knowledge had been enough to keep her home for years past her eighteenth emancipation date. But not anymore. She had to see the stars.