Setira’s mother was asked to retire when Setira reached 708, after she wed but before she bore children. When she turned 73, still a young woman, still trying to understand the world, her mother’s retirement was mandated, right before the birth of her first child.
Yesterday, she and her husband had traveled to the clinic, met with Dr. Mila, who’d healed her broken leg as a child, and delivered her baby.
Dream Child. Her mother’s dream, kindled in vain.
Tonight, she cried over him. Her beautiful baby. Her mother would have loved him, if the lord’s enforcers had only let her stay.
Distant Starlight sat against her and wrapped his miner’s strong arms around her and their child. He propped his chin on her shoulder, his mustache tickling her ear, but he didn’t say anything. There was nothing to say; his parents were retired, too.
“Do you think your parents are still together on Sais?” Sais, the purported vacation world, every need attended in reward for centuries8 of hard work on a lord’s planet. Some reward if the retirees had no choice.
“If they can be, they are. We should all be so lucky.”
Anyone who lived to retire hadn’t been taken in a raid.
She leaned harder into his arms. “We will be. I can feel it.”
They came in the early dawn, broke down the door, and dragged Distant Starlight off the pallet by his ankle.
Setira screamed and beat on the strange men. The man between her and Starlight shoved her hard, slamming her back onto the pallet onto something warm and soft.
Someone warm and soft.
Setira cried for days.
She cried until tears no longer came and her dry mouth no longer stuck closed.
What was the point in water when her family was gone?
This beginning sets up the motivation for why Setira became involved with the Gertewet. I pulled this part out, because it needed a lot more detail to properly set up Setira’s motivation, but doing so would detract from her relationship with Katorin. To keep it would require a much longer story.
A much longer story would have been a problem, as writing “This Alien Sympathy” was motivating me to continue revising Katorin’s plot in Draft 11 of Rights of Use.