There once was a settlement on Arizon’, 20 kliks from a ruined moonbase at the far edge of what the Space Cowboy Coalition called the 66th Quadrant. The planet to which Arizon’ had been attached is as long-gone and forgotten as its name. By all that’s natural and what we believe to be the laws of science, the tiny golden moon Arizon’ should have spun off and disappeared as well. But there she sits, spinning slowly, holding her place in the quadrant, wreathed in pearly-gray clouds.
A transformation is occurring…
Many, many years ago, when the red planet was untamed and sparsely populated–not like it is now, with its towering star scrapers and rumbling freewheelways—Schmitties roamed the plains, and the atmosphere was breathable.
A man could make a fine life for himself as a Schmittyboy. The pay wasn’t great, but the vistas couldn’t be beat.
“Tell me again why this particular hill?” Grace glared at her grandmother Maeve.
“’Tis our best hope of marshaling all forces of Man and Nature,”retorted the old woman, her lavender cape, the only warm color for miles, whipping about her bony shoulders in the dry wind. “Plus, the light is better. Image is everything—well, nearly everything–for this plan.”
“You’re remarkably hip for an old crone,” she remarked, “But if you don’t slow down, Hjordis may drop her young one right here on the path.” Continue reading