So: I had something on my fiction list titled post-scarcity, and LilFluff, in his… Fluffiness, called for Post-Scar City.
Technically, it’s a Post-Scar University, with some influence from The 100 and AM Harte’s Above Ground.
This is an introductory chapter. Don’t know what I’ll do with it after this, but it does seem to, well, introduce things.
Adeline pressed up close to the screen that showed their descent, wedging between two taller people that she didn’t know while still trying not to lose her hold on Geordi’s hand. “It looks… green. Really green.”
“I’ve never seen so much green,” one of the tall people agreed. She peeked up, but she didn’t recognize their faces, either. They were tall, and blue-eyed, with dark hair, and both of them looked the same. They must have either come from one of the other Habitats, or from the other side of Lazarus Habitat. “It doesn’t — It can’t– where are the scars?”
“There ought to be scars.” Geordi’s right hand moved in the signs he used to talk most of the time. “There ought to be — black, grey.”
She twitched her free hand in the same method. “It looks like a hydro suite. Or the sort of things that they show on vids of Before Times.”
Geordi had implants, had since he was ten, but they’d met in the creche, and when it came down to it, he’d always be more comfortable with sign than with spoken language.
One of the identical-tall-people looked down at their hands and smiled. “We have something like that. For when we didn’t want the adults to follow. Oh, hi. I’m Lacuna. This is my sister Lorelei.”
“I’m Adeline.” She echoed Lacuna’s half-bow back at her. “This is my best friend Geordi. We’re from Lazarus Habitat.”
“Tertius. I didn’t know Lazarus got included in the lottery.”
She found herself prickling. “Just because–”
“Hey, no judgement, none at all. It’s just, Lazarus does its own thing, don’t they? Always have. They barely mix with the rest of us.”
Adeline winced. “I – I was going to go to university at Tertius. We both were. But we got pulled in the lottery. And then, well, And then, well, what were we going to do?” She looked at the screen again. “It’s so green.”
“Oi, someone else wants a look, too,” complained someone behind them. “If you’re gonna talk, do it somewhere else.”
Geordi tugged Adeline away from the screen and gestured at a four-seat table in the lounge. They could go back to their seats, of course, but maybe they could make friends, instead.
“Are you going to go to school down on earth, then?” one of the twins asked. “We are. Down in New .”
“Us, too,” Adeline agreed; she kept her hands moving to translate, even though Geordi could hear everything. She didn’t think she’d ever outgrow that. “We had a couple choices…” She trailed off, because she wasn’t sure if everyone’d been given choices.
“Must be smart. Or it must be a Lazarus Habitat thing.” Lacuna looked at her — she thought it was Lacuna, at least — with a steady gaze like she was scanning Adeline in. Maybe she was. Lazarus implants didn’t come with things like people’s IDs unless you enabled them, but that didn’t mean that other people couldn’t read them.
“I’m betting smart,” the other twin opined. “They seem smart.”
“Well then.” Probably-Lacuna grinned widely. “Well then, I suppose we should be friends. You’re doing the whole ten-year cycle, university and internship and all of it?”
“We are.” Adeline nodded slowly. “We – that was the only option given.”
Earth was, in a manner of speaking, welcoming back its prodigal children. “Welcoming” wasn’t quite the word, Adeline didn’t think, but Earth still had dominion over the Habitats, even if it hadn’t chosen to exercise it in more than a century.
And now it was exercising that dominion in the form of its “Lottery” and, in turn, on the forms of Geordi and Adeline and a couple hundred other Habitaters.
“Yeah. Us too. Didn’t know if Lazarus – okay, okay.” Probably-Lorelei put up her hands. “Okay. I won’t go on about that anymore. Not for now, at least. So do you know what you’re going to do?”
“I barely know what’s available,” Adeline admitted. “The catalog they sent us was pretty… slim. I was planning on going into bioforming or maybe habitat design. Geordi was thinking -” She fell quiet, guiltily, with a glance at her friend.
He patted her shoulder. His hands flew while he talked. “-Geordi was thinking,” he echoed, his expression teasing “-of habitat design or plant design. But none of those are in the book.”
“The book has nothing,” Lacuna agreed. “It’s just – history of Earth. History of the Sciences of Earth. Medicine. Engineering. Like – land engineering. Architecture.” She made a face. “Did they leave their schools back in the pre-Scar era?”
“Maybe…” Adeline had been giving this more than a little thought. “Maybe they want us to think about Earth while we’re there.” She wanted to look at the image again, at the lush green planet. “But there ought to be more about the Scars then, shouldn’t there?”
Lorelei frowned. “It seems… it seems like they care a lot less about the Scars than they ought to-”
“Or maybe than we think they ought to,” Lacuna picked up.
“Or maybe just than we do. There’s almost nothing about them in the literature, almost no classes on them-”
“It’s as if they don’t really think about it. Or maybe…” Lacuna’s brow furrowed.
“Maybe they just accept it the way we accept that “up” is the other side of the ring so you can see your neighbors’ roofs,” Lorelei finished.
Adeline pursed her lips. “That’s possible,” she agreed slowly. “But — does that look like anything we learned about?” She gestured at the screen.
“No,” Lacuna agreed. “And neither does-”
“-that university. That looks like.. like it’s ancient and like nothing’s ever happened to it.”
“That,” Geordi put in before the twins could keep on, “shouldn’t be.”
“There’s a lot,” Adeline agreed, “that we’re going to have to figure out. And we’re going to have to figure out their classes, too.”
“Not to mention,” Geordi added, “how to go for our chosen careers when we’re stuck taking Earther classes.”
“And here we thought this would be boring,” Lacuna joked.
“At this rate,” her twin put in, “we’re barely going to have time to meet anyone. Well,” the twin grins were broad and happy,
“-at least we met you two!”
Adeline smiled back at them. “At least we met you two,” she echoed.