I have had my blogger blog for years but in recent months it has been glitchy. I decided to switch to wordpress.
Christmas is almost upon us, my favorite holiday. Not that I am very religious–the parts I love are mostly the fun secular kiddie parts. Santa, the North Pole, reindeer, elves, cookies. Presents under the tree. Christmas snow, lights.I like Christmas carols, too. My family has a super secret fudge recipe because my mom could do math, lol.
When my mom was a young housewife, one of her neighbors worked in a candy shop and swiped the fudge recipe, but it was in huge commercial quantities. She took it to my mom to reduce. So my family has a fudge recipe that requires 128 miniature marshmallows. Yes, that is the key. And if there are no miniature marshmallows you cut large ones into fourths.
I hoped to have a Christmas SFR short out this year, but I have been fighting a nasty asthma issue for which I spent a few days in the hospital. I was not improving, even with all the yucky meds, so I decided to take December off from writing. I did go to the Survival Job, but came home and lounged. Often went to bed at 7 pm and read for a couple hours. And I am off the steroids, plus avoided some of the worst side effects that I have dealt with in the past. Feeling like myself again!
While not actually a Christmas story, I do have a flash fiction short that leads into my next Diaspora Worlds book, New Prague Immigrants. Two sister, one with an infant, and their two young cousins found refuge on a commercial space hub after their home world was destroyed. They survive with the help of the Starwoman’s Sanctuary. Then a New Prague Recruiter comes to the hub looking for workers in its space ship building industry.
Blight Star, Bright Star
Manufacturing Position, Anslem Shipping, New Prague
Skill Test *Required for employment
1400 hour GSM 9.4
Communal Hall 2771a, Level 2000, Pickersty Hub. 400 test openings.
Required for Employment:
Legal Age 17
Skill test score of 80%.
Pass medical physical. Disability may not be a deterrent for hire depending on positions available.
No criminal history on background check.
Signed attestation for industrial practices non-share, non-compete contract.
*Families with dependent children hired based on availability of housing and services required.*
Transport provided on hire and transport back to place of hire on work termination.
Salary starting at 20000 galactic standard credit per galactic standard month. Advancement opportunities.
Housing, uniforms, two meals per work day, full medical for worker and dependents, child care and schooling for dependent children, New Prague citizenship available with application on fulfillment of three month trial period.
No DNA test required.
It sounded like a dream job. Well, except for the New Prague part. She heard it was industrial and not very scenic. Not that Pickersty Hub was scenic, not for hub rats like her. Some of the wealthy sections were pretty nice, but security chased low level workers like her away.
She’d have to blow off Chin Sun’s to take the test. Oh well, if they fired her she would apply at some other restaurant. Someone was always hiring.
Demaia Xiarr captured the holo to keep on her armcom. This sounded perfect. She squashed any excitement. Opportunity didn’t often come to Hub rats, kids abandoned on the Hub to raise themselves with the help of overworked Starwomen. No point getting too excited.
She was, though.
Thinking of that, she jogged to the Sanctuary and burst inside. She hadn’t been inside the common room since she graduated four years ago, but it was just the same, crowded with old folk sitting on benches, children on the floor. Sister Lorleen was serving morning porridge in hot tubes. “Demaia, how nice to see you!”
“Thank you, Sister. I dropped by to give you this. They are taking kids age seventeen!”
Sister Lorleen perused the holo. “I will get the word out. Get there early, Demaia, camp out if you have to. Milori, too. I will watch the baby! You want to be in the four hundred. In fact, I will organize so all the Sanctuary applicants can stand together. Safer that way.”
Demaia jogged home with a porridge tube for each family member in her pack. Milori and all the kids were still asleep on the narrow bunks in the one closet room they shared. “Milori! Good news.”
Milori blinked at her, then grinned.
“We have moved from under the blight star,” Milori said the day they received their test scores. They were both in the nineties. Milori’s was highest. Naturally.
She said it again when they signed their contracts. “The blight star has vanished.”
Demaia wasn’t sure about that. A blight star that killed an entire planet would be hard to escape. If it existed on some realm, surely it would cover all her days. But still, a contract!
Almost in a daze, Demaia stood in the line to board the New Prague bound Anslem transport ship, Edifier. She couldn’t concentrate on a thing except keeping an eye on the kids and the luggage. All of them were leaving together. Milori was accepted into the Environmental Services Department; Demaia would work in the ship building factory itself.
Tesvala and Mardin, their young cousins, had been accepted as dependents, as was Milori’s infant son, Shuna. Housing, schooling, monthly salary triple what they had earned before. Both of them earning that salary! Demaia could barely believe it.
Milori, long legged and long necked, stood a head above most of the others in queue and reported on the line movement. She started laughing, a wild, full sound in the echoing metal chamber leading to the ship. Shuna squealed in delight.
“You are insane,” Demaia told her older sister. Trust Milori to catch all eyes.
“Oh, definitely bright star, little sister.”
“That is just a silly old myth from a place that no longer exists.”
“Rasha lives on within us.” Milori grinned and pointed.
A young transport officer in the Anslem rust and cream was inspecting the new hire’s contracts and directing them into the ship.
Valberg Dev. Of Rasha.
Time stopped but the line still moved. His eyes were just the same, a toasty warm brown, like a honey cookie, perfectly baked in her mother’s kitchen on Rasha. His lips curved into the smile that still made her heart race. “I wondered if you were here on the hub,” he said. “But I had no free time to look.”
“You are not mining in Ford Belt?” He’d left to work on a mining scow. She had stayed with Milori and the kids.
He shook his head no, black hair gleaming under the dock lights. One brown hand stroked over the Anselm orange star logo on his chest. “Brighter star.”
Tesvala and Mardin recognized him at that time— though how they could Demaia would never know, it had been four years since he left— with excited shouts, and they could talk no more. Valberg grinned. “You are all checked in. Level four, exit the lift to the left, room 417.”
“I am off in seven standards,” Valberg called as they moved with the line to the ship. “I will join you.”
“I told you,” Milori said, smug as always.
“You are right. For once.” Demaia couldn’t contain her smile though.
Bright star above.