by Mary E. Lowd
The Lucky Boomerang arrived at the far edge of Sequoia’s chosen star system, and suddenly, the viewscreen under her paws lit up like a Christmas tree. The empty vacuum around them became a cacophonous soup of radio waves. The silence of space that she’d grown used to was shattered and gone, replaced with so many signals bouncing in every which direction that looking at them made the squirrel feel like a country mouse who’d arrived in the big city for the first time, dazzled by the tall buildings and neon signs, unsure if she even spoke the local language.
For a moment, Sequoia was thrilled, excitement spiking through her furry body. Then the feeling plummeted, subsumed by something else… something complicated that she hadn’t expected.
All of those signals, they meant a thriving interstellar society was nestled around this binary star system like starlings settled on the branches of a big tree. Sequoia didn’t want to share her stars with whatever complex society was living here.
She just wanted stars.
Quiet, long-lasting, peaceful, giants floating in the void.
“It looks like we found your grand central station, galactic edition, Captain,” Sequoia said, almost bitterly. Then she pushed herself away from her work station, floating toward the bridge’s door. “Now I’m gonna go get some sleep, just like you wanted me to.”
Maybe she would dream about stars.
Continue on to Chapter 22…