By Elizabeth Hand
400 years after the 3rd Shining, Hobi, Reive, Tast'annin, and Nefertity organize for the prophesied cave in of Araboth, the domed city-state most likely preserving its voters from the alleged horrors of the surface.
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Lalelelang considered the remnants of what had been a less than serene meal. "I expected no more. I'm sorry you will not be present. " Both wings rose at just the precise angle to emphasize unease. "I have heard quite enough already. Remember that though as a good parent I tolerate your fixation, that does not mean I am required to share in it. It astonishes me that any in your department can do so. " "I am sure there are some who do, as a precautionary measure if for no other reason. You may not believe it, but there are others besides myself who can examine everything without special preparation.
I have gone as far as I can. " "Brilliant. Highly original work. One might almost say ingratiating despite the unpleasant nature of the subject matter. " "And I intend to bring even more, by pursuing my studies in the field. I need this grant in order that I may visit, in person, a combat site. The battlefield. " The true meaning of her request had still to sink in. "Correct. " Forgetting courtesy, he gaped at her as they entered the spiraling Gucheria garden. "You cannot be serious! You are Wais.
Someone must do the distasteful work," Lalelelang countered. Her mother's beak clicked regretfully. "Yes, but why you? " She straightened formally in her chair. " "It is not an obsession. It is simply what I have chosen. Or as certain poets say, for reasons unfathomable it has chosen me. " An uncomfortable pause followed this observation, which neither mother nor daughter knew how to gracefully break. As the younger, Lalelelang finally felt it incumbent on her to speak out. " The senior 'lang's feathers quivered.
Aestival Tide by Elizabeth Hand