It is February, the month of valentines, hearts, flowers, Cupid, love and time for another long overdue, heart throbbing story of:
For those too new to this blog to remember or those who do remember but wish to forget, Fallen Arches is my grotesque effort to reinvent the romance novel (more on that subject at Fallen Arches Redux). Here, for your reading pleasure, is the latest installment.
The transport carrier was heard before it was seen. The drab, dusty, black-hole like sky of Voltmore 4 prevented sight for more than an arm’s length. The bulky carrier’s engines throbbed as it approached and docked at the colonizing station platform.
Anxious couples milled about in the darkened air, nervously awaiting their turn to be processed and then boarded onto the carrier for their transport to the far off lands of Northeros and Southos in the Gethen solar system, where their lives could begin anew. The exhausting and endless Arrakis wars, stopped then renewed with even more hostility and bloodshed, had seen the near extinction of several tribes caught in the midst of the seemingly endless struggle.
Ultimately the Hainish Truce supplied a welcome but brief relief. At first the warring factions did not observe the tenuous truce but then, after several false starts, it appeared that the truce would hold and repatriation or, at least relocation, of the decimated tribes could begin in earnest. The Wockyjabbs, a docile, retiring, servile people, were among those tribes caught in the unrelenting, harsh wars between the belligerents and nearly obliterated. Oscar was among the few Wockyjabbs left.
Voltmore 4, though incredibly barren and bleak at the edge of the galaxy, was a safe holding place for the remaining tribe members who survived until they were chosen by the supreme Ekumen Council to be paired together and then moved to Gethen where they could settle and breed and continue their lineage. By Council law, each tribe was granted one pairing per transport which occurred only once a nebulon.*
[*Author’s note: A nebulon is a single revolution of the planet Hysteria around its sun or approximately fifty years.]
In the near complete darkness, Oscar, his newly chosen mate alongside, plodded ever so slowly through the dimly lit corridor leading up to the carrier. Painfully shy like all Wockyjabbs, Oscar finally picked up the courage to reach out and touch the hand of his chosen partner. Other than their exposed hands, both were covered head to toe in layers of clothing to protect themselves from the harsh Voltmore 4 climate. When no resistance occurred, Oscar started to stammer out his thoughtful but slow speech.
“I.. I know that we will be together for a lifetime and we hope to.. to form a new life and.. you know.. re-create, I.. I mean reproduce, to keep our species alive and.. and all those things but, but I.. well, I don’t even know your name. Please tell me.”
After a pause, his mate replied “My name is Walter.”
With apologies to J.K. Rowling, Lewis Carroll, George R. R. Martin, Frank Herbert, and Ursula Le Guin.