12 December, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 15:1

This is the first section of the fifteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

“How you holding up old chap?”
“Worse for having some gravity back” replied Laurence “They say freefall makes bones heal really badly but I’m sure this gravity lark is the problem.”
“Sorry it took us so long to pick you up.”
“Well there’s not exactly any fast ships left in the system, well except for this one and it’s hardly properly finished. Why did you come anyway?”
“And miss a little pleasure tour are you kidding”
“You hate space travel.”
“Hey it grew on me.” replied Tom “Besides, they messed up my facilities so there’s nothing for me to do back at Saturn for a good few months until they fix it. Say what you like about drones, they may make things for you for free, but they’re useless at showing initiative.”
“Is Jane avoiding me then?”
“Not really, just knows what you’re like when you’re grumpy.” Tom saw the expression that created on Laurence’s face “Her words not mine”
“No no I know my wife anywhere” Laurence paused “Wife? ex-wife? I’m not sure. We were supposed to make a clean break but you know how it goes. You can’t change the way you think.”
“Why break it off, if you love her?”
“Then nothing would change and I always said it was important that people died so that society can change. Then offered immortality I jumped at it but still had my principles. Now look at me, back in exactly the place I ran from.”
“This is no bad thing”
“It is, people need to die otherwise nothing can improve, the young can’t move on from their mistakes. What would society be like if those in power at the time of slavery were still in power. No I need to either give up the reins of power or change myself. So far I’ve managed neither.”
“There’s always tomorrow.”
“Not really no, they’ve pulled me into the design of the new battleship and designing some new fighters based around the bodging the bats did. I’m back where I was thirty years ago.”
Tom stared at the man in front of him who looked like he’d have trouble getting served in a bar and put a hand on his shoulder “Are you learning from your mistakes though, or at least not making the same ones twice.”
“Plenty of room for new ones.”
“Then maybe there is merit to a long life.”
“Tell that to those fleeing the Habitat to go to Saturn”
“James’ plan worked then?”
“Not really just as many are fleeing here to go there. Change is in the air though.”
“Vacuum”
Laurence looked at Tom “Just leave the physics jokes to someone else please. Actually no, leave them to no one else.”
“You know on this little return trip we’ll be the closest I’ve been to the Habitat in years”
“Yeah, nice co-incidence we should be able to see the actual shape of it, make out the plates and even the hub. With any luck the pylons will be lit up so we’ll be able to see those too”
“I’ve heard it’s quite beautiful”
“Beauty in the dark. How poetic” He spat.

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