Lovestar Galaxy Ch.1

Lovestar Galaxy

A Technofantasy

by Dominika Lein

– + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + –  + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + –

Chapter One

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”

– Voltaire.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want it to happen. It was just that I didn’t care. If I had been born five years earlier, I probably would have considered joining the Nihili Nation, but that nation was extinct now. There were only twenty-two left to choose from. Considering there used to be over 100 in Earth’s history, less than a quarter is an odd contrast, but that was also when citizenship used to be based on birth or monetary means, not free choice.

“Are you hungry?” My father looks from the pilot dashboard. Our hovercraft is on auto-pilot, cyan electric lines glimmering with information about other crafts in the area, buildings to navigate around, borders to remain wary of.

I shake my head, “Not really.”

“You should eat something.” He decides anyways, dragging the brightest electric line with his gloved index finger. The cyan shifts to a brilliant green as he tries to choose where to place the destination marker, “Green Sus?” Though he asks, he places the marker on the resteraunt in a decisive way.

I shrug. It didn’t matter what I decide either way. He always wants to go to Green Sus.

When we arrive, the hovercraft powers down and I fix my hair in the mirror. It has grown longer since last summer, nearly past my ribs. Twisting it into a topknot, I’m frustrated by the silky strands that refuse to curl no matter what. The thought reminds me that I’d soon have the freedom to do what I wish my hair.

I suppose I should consider myself lucky that my hair is the only real issue. My nose is curved out into a sharp point with a wide bridge, my eyes are slanted upwards – a marker of my father’s lineage – and though I’m only fourteen, I can see the shadow of a woman appearing. I try to coax this woman out as I line my eyes in gold-purple wax and dust my cheeks in silver. I paint my lips with bronze and finish with a 3rd eye symbol in the center of my forehead. It is not a rare fashion choice, but it isn’t common either.

“You’re beautiful without all that,” My father waves at my face, “junk on.” He doesn’t partake in appearance modifications beyond haircuts, but doesn’t require me to be plain like him, “You’re lucky I’m not my father.” He adds, reminding me that he hadn’t always been part of the A-Utilitari nation. His family had been based in R-Utilitari, a bordering nation that was strikingly different in how they structured society. One of the differences was that appearance modification was banned in R-Utilitari.

Green Sus is always busy. There are fifty locations of Green Sus, thirty-five of them are within our nation. Our neighborhood was the founding location for the chain and thus, I am familiar with the magnificent spiral building looming in front of us. Like most A-Utilitari buildings, the building resembles an upside-down tornado, stretching the thinning spire high into the sky where clouds covered the point.

I lead past the row of painters – both digital and traditional – who detail elaborate works of art. Recognizing a friend, I wave to Zoey. She is concentrating on her tablet and barely nods in response.

Inside the restaurant, there are booths lining the tall ground floor windows. Almost every seat is filled with people talking, working on something. At the counters, which are woven into a curved infinity symbol, smiling A-Utilitari citizens stand ready with Green Sus uniforms, five feet apart from each other.

My father passes by me to choose a particular server, “Happy day, Leah.” He greets her.

Cheerfully, she glances at me before nodding to him, “Happy day, Beau. How can I help?”

“Avery is going to choose her Citizenship today.” He replies, briefly putting his arm around my shoulders.

“Congratulations!” Leah’s teeth are blindingly white, like an abyss of ivory, as her smile remains frozen on her face.

“Thanks.” I mutter politely.

“Today’s Sus is complimentary for such an occasion.” She informs, “Our carrots are extremely fresh from above, received about five minutes ago.”

“We’ll have two Orange and Green Suses then.” He looks at me and I shrug, “Add a topping of blue too.” I smile slightly, but keep it from showing clearly.

“Anything for you, Beau.” Leah laughs brightly, bringing two tall glasses out from under the counter, “Have you checked with the Bureau if there is anything to deliver to the U.N. while you’re there?” She places a small bowl of green vegetables on the counter, followed by a small box of freshly washed carrots. Carefully, she places the carrots into the slicer.

“Yes, actually that was the first thing I did when I woke up today.” He watches her hands so intently that I realize neither of them are paying attention to me anymore.

Slipping away as Leah laughs about how clever my father is, I head back out the front door to find my friend.

Zoey sits on a plastic stool with one leg tucked under the other and a deep furrow to her thick brow. Her royal blue and crimson red hair is viciously curly, teased up behind a plastic headband to frame her round face. She is my age, though a few months younger, and since we were ten, I’d known her to always be creating works of digital art. Her colorful, patterned dress mimics the triangular pattern carefully painted over her cheeks and the bridge of her wide nose. As I approach, this time she actually notices me. Setting down her electronic brush, she gestures for me to sit next to her.

“Are you excited?” She asks as I sit.

“Not really.” I answer honestly, glancing at the vibrant landscape she was painting on the tablet.

“How come?” She folds her hands in her lap, looking intently at me.

“Whatever I choose, it’ll only be for ten years anyways.”

“Ten years is a long time!” Zoey insists, “And if you choose a nation you’re going to like, then you won’t have to change at all.”

“I don’t know what I like or don’t like.” I admit.

“Hmm,” Zoey leans back, crossing her arms and looking at the sky, “Well, you like being here, don’t you? Aren’t you going to stay?”

“Are you?” I retort.

Zoey grimaces, “You make a good point.” Uncrossing her arms, she leans forward to rest her elbows on her knees, “We should go to the same nation, then in a few months, I can see you again!”

I shrug, “Maybe.”

“Your poor dad though,” She sighs, twisting a curl around her finger, “I bet he thinks you’re going to stay here.”

“He wants me to be happy.” I defend, “Besides once I’m gone, he can do whatever he pleases without worrying about me.”

“That’s true, I guess.” Zoey replies reluctantly, “So, what about Epicuri? My grandmother is there, and I want to go when it’s my time.”

Noticing my father walking out with the glasses of green and orange juice, with the thinnest topping of blue, I say good-bye, “I’ll keep it in mind. If not, we can always write.”

“As long as you don’t chose the Empire.” Zoey adds, then picks up her brush, “Good luck, Avery.”

“Thanks.” I don’t have the heart to tell her that there is no way I will choose Epicuri. Walking over to my dad, I take the glass and drink the Sus.

– + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + –  + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + – + – ~ + –

next chapter