Genre: Science Fiction
Type of Short Story: Novelette
Summary: Clones, motherhood, and a luxury spaceliner. What could possibly go wrong?
With five million credits in her pocket and a nanny-clone to take her place, Lydia thought walking away from her marriage would be easier than sipping cocktails at a society party. But Lydia's plans didn't include an illegal sport-fishing expedition on an interdicted waterworld, and her husband has a scheme of his own.
FLIGHT OF THE KIKAYON is classic sci-fi with a side order of adventure.
The alien skies of Jannah IV stretch above me, infinite as time itself. This is day six hundred forty seven since the Kikayon's departure, but no one will come for me because no one knows I am missing. Well, no one but Cara.
It is an hour before dawn, and I am standing on the beach fantasizing about bread. Dreaming about the warm, yeasty aroma, the crisp surrender of the crust under my teeth and the yielding whiteness inside. I imagine dinner rolls torn in half and filled with melting butter, then licking my finger to dab runaway crumbs from the tablecloth. Pungent sourdough. Crusty baguettes. Small, sweet loaves dark with molasses.
I turn over a lump of seaweed to reveal sand fleas bigger than my thumb. I've learned to crack their shells with my teeth and suck out the insides. They are cold, slimy, and nothing like bread. When the sand fleas are gone, I slurp down some of the velvet kelp fronds, grumbling over their fishy stink. I spit grains of sand and look to the sky.
The edge of the horizon glows an incandescent pink against a cloudless, indigo heaven.
I shield my eyes with my hand. My once-manicured fingernails are splitting and caked with grime after my breakfast.
The coming heat warms my palm, and my eyes water in anticipation of the harsh light. The planet's twin suns will rise soon, and I must return to my cave to wait for the next dark.
On the sandbar some four hundred meters distant, the Kikayon's looted airskiff lies mired like a mastodon in a tar pit.
Squinting into the foredawn, I turn away from the water's edge. My bare feet leave footprints where the sand is wet, then shallow craters where it's dry. The trail ahead of me is hard to see in the gray light, but my feet know every rock and root from two years of nightly pilgrimage.
I gave the tissue sample to make Cara nearly seven years ago. With that amount of time to plan, you'd think I might have done a better job. If not for the accident, I'd be on Cirrus now, probably sipping a glass of wine at a cocktail party.