A lone alien refugee escapes the destruction of her race. Those she flees are highly organised and ruthlessly efficient. Where will she hide?
Long, long ago, there was war in the heart of the galaxy. The core stars were ripped apart by the fury of that conflict. Lucky is a survivor from it; she is lucky to even exist. Her people, the flowing people, were destroyed by the measuring people.
War separates the victors from the losers. The victors survive and the losers are crushed from existence and from memory. To go home would have been death, so Lucky fled. She programmed her ship, the Expedient, to take her away from the galactic core, away from the planets where her people once lived and into the skeins of stars that make up the spiral arms of the galaxy. That was a long time ago. Few of the places she once knew can now support life. She has been a refugee since, drifting from star to star, in a half-life of suspended animation, known as slowtime.
The Expedient charts a careful course, ploughing its lonely furrow between the stars, always away from what she once knew, ever alert for signs of the measuring people. She’d stop running but it’s now all she knows. Eventually her ship comes upon a back-water of the Milky Way, known locally as the Orion Arm.
What do we know about the universe? It’s kind of hard to say. The science keeps changing (along with web addresses). At the time of first draft, my notes to Lucky were:
Not forgetting NASA
NASA HQ 11-183 Chandra Black Holes
As a child I read tons of SF. Tales of out there were great but the one thing that bugged me was how the story got from here –Earth as it is, to there –us exploring, colonizing, getting into interstellar dust-ups, etc. The years go by and you realise there are other directions: there to here, just passing; other futures and other ways of looking at things. Gradually, narratives have begun to explore those areas but, the along the way, evidence on where we’re headed has started to stack up. The elegant and trusting tales of contact with nobler, higher beings stretch credulity; it takes less and less effort so see a grim and dark end point. All we need to do is see what we, as a species, are actually like. That’s the curtain call for naïve idealism.
This brings me to Lucky. My original idea was along the lines of My Mom is a Space Alien with plenty of gee-whiz moments thrown in. The backstory became the story: nobility and grim realism. A space alien on the run comes to Earth, hoping to find somewhere to hole up. She’s the last of her kind. Echoes of a long ago war out there, play out here. For the record, I do like to leave the possibility of hope.
Lucky is set mostly on Earth. It’s my intention to return the story to the stars. Space is big and it’s been going a long time. There’s a lot to explore. Her Journey isn’t over.