“Live Long and Prosper”
The Governance said it would make us filthy rich. Filthy as the planet’s tiny, pock-marked moons; misshapen asteroid chips where we mined Uranalite before processing it on this rusty, freezing wilderness. The Collectors never hung around. They loaded the Metamaterials, and disappeared faster than ice-caps. No pilot wanted to discover a stowaway on their ship, and have to jettison them.
We worked our asses off, vented frustrations on sex-bots and retired to habitation tunnels away from radiation, stashing forbidden stimulants grown in the bio-domes. On HiRISE cameras, a blue planet with its moon was visible, if desired. Hal was cool with this place – he was born here. The first. His mother died almost immediately afterwards. Hal had never left, smiling enigmatically when some-one called him an alien. Truth was, we were all aliens, reliant on supplies and medicines from “home”. Hal never got sick, even when accidentally exposed to raw Uranalite.
I fretted. What was this job doing to me? My body, my reproductive system? I still had my period. The night of the dust-storm I invited Hal over and sealed my door. His body was human perfection.
Almost ten months later, birthing was as painless as this century could make it. Medics formed a silent army. I screamed. The baby was long, slimy, with skin like grey-green lichen; the colour of Uranalite. I pulled Hal close to me.
“Kill it” I gasped
© June Palmer
Author - June Palmer