Farthinghome [Farthinghome Book I]
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by Nina M. Osier
Category: Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
Description: For years, the peculiar "nosey-globes" have harmlessly visited Farthinghome. Now that's about to change, along with the life of every Human who calls that star system home, because this time the "noseys" are anything else but harmless
eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net/ebooksonthe.net, 2007 ebook
eBookwise Release Date: March 2007
12 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [182 KB]
Reading time: 102-143 min.
Kiev and Sedna hung in the after viewports like blue-green gems awaiting the jewel smith's mallet. A mad smith, who would soon fling them into a furnace--the heat of which their fragile loveliness couldn't hope to survive.
Viewports on a sleeper ship seemed like such a useless luxury. After today, who would be awake to appreciate them? And what was there to see, anyway, in open space?
"Janna, our stasis couches are ready. It's time, don't you think?" Fraya, the watching woman's sister and research partner, stood at the hatch that led from this narrow compartment (a mere viewing gallery, no wider than a corridor) to the place where they would lie through the long years of their journey. Just the two of them, close to the vessel's secondary controls. At its bow, near the primary control center, their brothers already slept.
Janna asked nevertheless, without turning around, "Are Kar and Adair all right?"
"Yes. Their readings show everything's normal." Fraya took the single step that carried her to her sister's side, and stood at the viewports with her arm around Janna's shoulders. "It's difficult to imagine, isn't it? That when we arrive, we'll wake up and not realize time has passed at all."
"It'll be like when we did this to test our tolerance for it." Janna nodded as she ran the tip of her tongue over numb, dry lips. "As if we'd gone to bed for a night's rest, and wakened with the morning."
"Yes. That's exactly how it will be." The other woman tightened her clasp. "But that's not why you're so afraid right now. Is it, Janna?"
"No. It's not what's going to happen to me physically." How well her sister knew her. "It's everyone for whom we're responsible, Fraya. All those lives, suspended. All that distance to cross, with no one to take care of an emergency if one arises. And then, at the end--what if we've made a navigation error? What if our calculations are wrong, and we wake up somewhere that Humans can't live?"
"That won't happen. Farthinghome is a recognized, charted colony world. We know where it is, and how to get there safely. We will get there safely, Janna. If I didn't believe that was true, I wouldn't be here. I'd have stayed behind, to die with our grandmothers on Kiev. And so would you." Again the warm arm tightened.
"I still think we ought to try for Earth. After all the time it's been since they banished our foremothers, surely they've forgotten there was ever a reason for sending us into exile. It's not too late to plot a new course. We could do it from here. Without waking Kar and Adair." Janna was grasping at sun sparkles now. Grabbing water in her hands, watching it trickle through her fingers, and then trying again to get a grip on the elusive stuff, because she'd reached a pitch of desperation at which such behavior almost made sense.
"No. Terra sent us here because they didn't want people like us contaminating their society any longer, and that can't have changed. Our ancestors didn't leave the home-world that long ago." Still gently, but with growing firmness in her tone, Fraya pressed her case.
"They didn't want people like the ones they sent to Farthinghome, either! What makes us so sure there'll be room for us when we get there?" Janna snatched at one last handful of beloved, fast retreating Kiev's golden lake-water. At one last breath of Sedna's blossom-perfumed breeze. "What if the people already on Farthinghome tell us we can't stay?"
For that question Fraya knew she had no answer. So she said, "We'll deal with whatever we find on Farthinghome when we get there. The last time our worlds communicated, the settlers had taken hold and started building themselves a good life. In spite of what the prognosticators on Terra predicted they'd do, if dumped together on a planet and left to fight each other as they'd battled the authorities where they came from. They've had centuries fewer than we had, to fill their new world and move out into space beyond it. And unlike us, they didn't arrive united by a common culture and a coherent belief system. So I can't imagine they won't have room. Especially once they understand what we can offer them that Terra never could!"
"If they're still Human at all, I suppose they'll have to take us in. Just because we're Humans, too. Because by the time we get there, we really won't have any choice but to stay." Janna put up a hand and wiped her face. "All right, Fraya. I'm ready now."
"Good." The other woman lowered her arm so they could walk separately through the narrow hatch. Leaving their final view of twin worlds soon to be swallowed by a star going nova, to enter the state that everyone on board this ship must attain before its hyperdrive could kick in and put enough distance behind them so the coming catastrophe wouldn't engulf them in its fringes. And, by so doing, wipe out the last few hundred Humans whose dangerous customs and unholy skills had sentenced their ancestors to perpetual banishment.