A Thousand Years Of Nanking
The security crew found her in one of the Buffer’s depleted waste cisterns. She’d triggered a gantry trap and been dropped in the stuff.
The trap sent an automated alert: the crew was there within fifteen minutes. In the darkness, she’d struggled out into the center of the cistern, rather than head toward the relative safety of the wall. She was panicking, thrashing about. Her screaming gave the crew a place to aim their flashlights.
Gravity was low in that part of the Buffer, but she’d managed to stay upright and keep the residue out of her lungs. It was smeared all up her legs and splattered on her body and arms. Her feet had been immersed the entire time it took to reach her.
The crew should have shot her cleanly, there and then. But two things made them to decide to haul her in alive.
Firstly, she was in the early stages of labor.
And secondly, the thing she was screaming was my name.
After 500 years, the multi-generational spaceship Kinzua is still only half way to its destination – and conditions onboard are desperate. Not for the so-called ‘steering committee,’ whose role is to manage the ship. For the human cargo they carry with them: the abused, imprisoned, and all but abandoned remnants of the manufacturing class whose role is to craft ethnic trinkets of Earth for whatever alien encounter awaits them at journey’s end.
A Thousand Years Of Nanking is a standalone novella about the desperate power of hope.