Sunday, August 12, 2012

Spin the Sky 1-8 - Kathy Stauber

"Cesar stormed off fifteen years ago to the Spacer War as a strapping young man with short red hair and an unmarked face. He knows he bears little resemblance to that young man now. Cesar feels his current long white beard and mane is rather dashing when his hair isn’t matted and his beard isn’t so long he might keep mice in it. He smiles at his own vanity. At least the beard covers some of the scars. “And Lord knows, I’ve got little enough to be vain about these days,” Cesar muses. His days fighting in the Spacer War gave him a mild but definite limp. One of his later adventures earned him the jagged scar running down his right cheek. A narrow escape from a fire left him with a scarred and twisted left ear that his long hair helps to cover. For all the wear he’s seen, he moves with vitality and the odd sort of grace that a man used to trusting himself in space carries. Down the elevators, Cesar steps off and sucks down a deep breath. He bends down and flips the small switch in each of his boots to turn off the electromagnet. Most Spacers have grav boots with strong electromagnets in the heels needed in low gravity to keep them from floating away. Earthers who want to pretend buy the cheaper biosteel boots, but they aren’t strong attractors like the pure stuff. “Ah yes. That’s it. That smells like home. I can die happy now,” Cesar mutters to himself as people walk past him, looking askance. Time to see the ranch. The population of Ithaca is small, so they have plenty of room. Thus the space between habitations is large enough for privacy. Although the crops and livestock are on the level below, the habitation level is made to look as much like a small Earther city as possible. Gardens and small plots of well-tended grass separate the houses. The Vaquero Ranch is set far away from the shops, factories, moving sidewalks and the public elevators. Cesar plods along slowly, hoping he doesn’t die before he reaches his goal. After what seems like hours, Cesar spots a ranch in the distance. His breath catches and he shakes his head desperately to clear his vision. Then his heart sinks. This can’t be his home. Cesar remembered well his simple one-story ranch with the wide porch. This house is twice as big. It has two stories with biostone and other expensive trimmings. A lush garden surrounds the sides where there had only been dust and dirt. There is even a pen of mini-pigs. They must be fantastically rich to afford the water that supports all this" 3.5 out of 5