Scene 1: The
The vessel was minuscule, not
much larger than lifeboat. It moved purposefully along, ignorant of any series
of hazards that may have conspired against it.
The first sign of danger was a faint glitter, thirty degrees above and coming in on the five. It may have been an anomaly: some star that flickered through a passing gas-cloud, or the light refracted off another ship that had passed this way once before--or would pass this way some years future. But, that the glittering object changed vector—-and grew larger—-quickly dismissed that theory. As the proximity sensors went off, the individual piloting the vessel took evasive maneuvers: stalling the engine, firing retros, jumping forward.
The glittering object got larger. Now that it was in visual range, it was obvious that the object was actually five small, star-shaped ships. The engines circling the rear-assemblies of each spurted rapidly as the attacking acrobats spun around each other. They fanned out: the fingertips of some giant grasping hand.
SOUND: radio--the sound of
singing: five notes in
quick succession, scaling over each other, in rounds
The individual manning the
weapons array of the vessel started to fire; but
even with the computer-assisted system, it couldn't hit the spinning and
circling targets....they dodged the clumsily
fired bolts with ease and started to dive, osprey-like, towards the vessel. The
glittering ships opened fire...
SOUND: Harmonic of singing rises
Becca pushed tight fists against
her stomach as the vessel fell to pieces. The
singing over the radio had stopped.
iDana started to pack up her remote-control gear.
Even at half their size...
I'd say that was pretty good.
oDele, how was the lag on
the sensors when you fired?
(radio) Wasn't bad. Didn't drag
the burn too much.
(radio) We'll adjust the tune so
instrument can play it.
Try coming in at bay
twenty-eight. I want to see if we can
do a half-spin recovery.
Let's wait on that. The
was a success, but there's no hurry on recovery. Come in at bay thirty-four.
We're still at dead-spin there.
Let's go see what the recorders
SOUND: they leave
You didn’t ask for any
clarification this time. Does Doctor-Doctor suddenly understand everything?
Your sisters get annoyed anytime
I ask questions. I’m just
trying to stay out of the way.
Evie was in an ancillary lab working on a larger version of
her mechanical mantis automaton. She was wearing a pair of thick safety glasses
and had a small screwdriver in her mouth. The mantis rocked back and forth on
How’s it coming along?
It just feels so primitive.
Evie pushed back her safety glasses and rubbed the back of her head. Her hair was getting longer and dark roots were coming in; it had an odd, mottled look.
It looks fine to me. What’s so
primitive about it?
Watch out, I need to try something.
SOUND: Evie knocks over the mantis. it rights itself.
You fixed the arms. It can right itself now.
Yeah, that had always bothered me. What good is it if it
Does it learn?
It’s only using a basic set of commands. I just have to pare
it down to the essentials. Simplicity is elegance....
I suppose this thing needs you more and that’s why you spend
time with it. The girls don’t seem to need you much.
They’re very independent. I guess that’s a bit of my own
childhood in there. I probably wouldn’t have asked anyone for anything if
things had been...normal.
I’m sure your parents still loved you.
I don’t think it really had anything to do with love after a
while. I wasn’t really there for them, you
But they were always there for (her voice breaks)you—
You want to talk to me
How long do you think we'll be out here?
I know you don't have anyone back home, but I... (she starts
Hey hey hey... What's all this about? What's wrong? Why are
(still crying) I have to get back. I never should have
come out here. I don't want to miss her growing up.
Don't want to miss who growing
My daughter, Huri. She's only
nine-years-old, but... When her father died....
(surprised) I didn't know you were married.
I was. Huri was only
three when he finally.... succumbed. After so long, we were practically
bankrupt. I took up these flights because...You can't raise a child properly
with that kind of debt.
What kind of debt?
It's a lot.
Well, how much is that? I mean, I might be able to—
They froze our accounts! There's nothing you can do!
Say, why don't you write her a letter?
Evie, that's not funny.
I'm serious. You spent all that time writing a letter to
your cousin. Why not send a letter to your daughter? The Vencume can send it.
Are you serious? I don't see anyone being too open on passing
along a Vencume message to a nine-year-old child...
Why not? Isn't that proof that you're you? (full scheming
mode now) Look, Becca,
it's not just you saying...whatever it is you want to say...it's politics,
right? I mean, you could write several letters. I'll help! I'll write a
couple—one to the Wainwrights and one to the Shipping Authority—and we can say,
'Look, there's no war. We're just a couple of kooky chicks in space, kicking
around on an alien space-craft but we're still Human, right?' Tell me what's
wrong with that plan.
The words 'kooky chicks', for one.
Listen. Write a letter to your daughter.
Sure, the Shipping Authority will read it first, but who cares? That's what
we'll do. We'll tell everybody everything and maybe by the time we get back, it
will all be OK.
How can we send a message from here? The Vencume don't
Maybe not, but they can take images of things and send that. Will that work?
(internal) It's preposterous, but so is
everything else that's happened up to this point.
It had taken a
while for Becca to write the letter; her right hand did not move
as smoothly as she had expected and the fine motor skills involved in writing
weren't there. She eventually worked out the text in square, compensating
Did the Shipping Authority have any examples of her prior handwriting? Surely, that would be something they would try to use against her. Nonetheless...
I remember the day you were born. I was so happy, but at the same time, I was scared. You were a tiny, naked, little life that was solely dependent on me and I knew I could not let you down. On that day, I experienced what it was like to love someone completely and unconditionally. And, from the moment of your birth—even before you were born, when I talked to you in the womb, or when I first felt you roll over inside me—I’ve always loved you without conditions. I knew then, that no matter what would happen to us in life, I would always love you. I still do.
I remember your first day of school; you were so excited, but you didn't cry. I did, however, because my baby girl was growing up. I know I couldn't protect you from getting hurt as you grow, because that is part of growing up. Even as an adult, you will find pain in life. Please, take those lessons and be a better person.
When I left you with Popo Sefer and Nana Fatma, you cried and begged me to look at you. I couldn't turn my head and let you see my tears. Daughters have to know their mothers are strong, but my heart ached more than when you waved bye-bye to Daddy on that bright, sunny day. Do you remember the flowers everyone brought? You were so happy around those bright colors, while we adults were dressed in black and dabbed our eyes. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, but everything was gray for me except you. Any pain I felt leaving the cemetery then was nothing compared to the day I had to leave you behind and the regret gnaws at my heart.
When you are older, you'll understand. I don't want you to grow up angry at me. Everything I did was for you. I miss you more than life itself and you are always in my dreams. Take as many pictures as you can so if I get back I can watch you grow up. I look forward to your tales.
You are a lucky girl that we have such a good family and I am a lucky woman to have had you in my life. People might say terrible things about me, but please know that what I did was in your best interests. When I realized I could not be there and provide for you at the same time, I was torn in half. I have always wanted you to have choices and I blame myself for not being a good example on that front. I want you to be able to be yourself in the world. Be clever, be strong, be graceful. Above all, be a kind and loving person. If you grow up happy and well-adjusted, then I know that everything I have given up is not in vain.
My heart is aching, my family is waiting, my love for you will never die,
Becca had just
finished the letter and was wiping her eyes when Evie stuck her
head in. She waved some papers she had with her.
going? I finished mine, so
whenever you're ready.
a doctor. You have terrible
their letters to the Vencume, Evie went to work on her mantis
Becca went to the mess-hall and ran into the pilots. They were round, golden children with large eyes and small hands and feet; their minuscule extremities only made their well-padded torsos look the rounder. Becca remembered Evie in her silly, yellow jumpsuit; however, the duck-like quality the limping engineer had was not present in these girls.
She had not
interacted with them much, but had learned to tell them apart; only
occasionally did she confuse their names. oFira had the darkest hair; oRiana,
the lightest. oLathe was a little taller; oVida was a little rounder. oDele had
the strongest voice and was usually the first to speak.
The five girls were practicing some song and the harmony rose and fell. As Becca entered the room, oDele made eye-contact with her and sang a little off-key.
Hello...oDele. You girls trying out some new
remembered my name.
But she had to
think about it.
One of the
bolts from the test almost hit me. We have to space ourselves out a bit more.
coming here for something to eat?
That’s not for a while yet.
No, I was
looking for something to...everyone here is healthy,
so what’s a doctor to do?
Let’s take her
to the garden.
others laugh and agree
have a couple gardens on the ship, for food
and oxygen. Well, the one for us makes oxygen....
Should we use
the pod or the bridge?
They left the mess-hall and went to the long walkway where Evie had said she kicked Gordon over the railing. Half-way across, the lights flickered and the spin stopped. Becca scrambled in the sudden loss of gravity.
this do this?
with the garden doesn't always spin at the same
rate. This section stops to catch up with it.
Or to slow
getting used to zero-gee maneuvers but she still kicked too hard or
found herself spinning out of control. The pilots, meanwhile, had no trouble at
all; but then, they danced when they walked and sang when they spoke.
Everything about them had a lush grace to it. As the group glided across the
bridge, the girls laughed at Becca's awkward attempts to swim across.
It's not like
in water. You're not going to get that
kind of resistance.
it. You have
to offer as little resistance as possible when you’re moving.
If you can
find a natural air-current, like a vent, that helps too.
be comfortable in the air.
came back up and spin resumed; Becca was happy to feel the weight in her
feet again. They walked the rest of the way across the bridge where oLathe
pressed her hand against a small panel next to a door and...
MUSIC: Neotropic "The Man Who Catches Clouds"
Scene 6: the
Becca squinted in the sudden light. Once her eyes adjusted, she saw a large room with planters and trees and a pond and Oh! This is what they should have had on the station! Trees stretched up to the incredibly high ceiling studded with huge, bright floodlights. Becca felt its warmth on her face. oDele called out to a redhead kneeling by one of the planters.
Can we leave Becca with you while we practice?
Do I have a
Just be a
dear. The poor woman is
bored out of her mind and looking for something to do. You can use another set
golden girls want her out
of the way while you practice being the star of the show.
That is so kind of you. I'm
so glad that you're such a team-player.
Reminds me of the popular girls' clique in school. Why am I embarrassed?
And I am so happy that you would trust me enough
to leave me such a huge responsibility.
so much of me.
I knew we could trust you.
You'll be OK
here. We have to get back to practice.
I've just been dumped. They're treating me like pretty-girl's friend.
The pilots danced away to the door, giggling amongst themselves.
transferring seedlings from a pallet to a prepared bed and her
square hands and broad shoulders worked in a smooth pattern. Becca was nervous
being left alone with her. She knelt next to the child and took a seedling.
Do you need
If you like.
did these come from?
beans. iLyssa brought some on
board and the Vencume multiplied them.
Did these come
from the Tong Dizhou?
I don't know.
Maybe? I was told that the ones from the ship
wouldn't give us any viable seeds. Like they had been neutered?
they were designed new seeds, the company that made them
wouldn't want them to make anything but foodstuff. If you keep the farmers from
replanting, they have to buy more.
I think the
Vencume did something to them. We'll save
some from this crop and make more.
like a new seed?
intact. Ulan already had her
neotenic for now.
Vencume want to keep them as children. This is still an experiment for them.
distracting. We're taking injections for it.
I think these
planting the next bed. It was a mindless endeavor with a Zen
quality to it. Becca was happy to handle something alive and dependent again.
Do you all
work in the garden?
don't. They tire too easily. And it's too bright in here for Cerberus.
The three-headed dog from hell?
(internal) She must mean the three
They're nothing but heads. What
you call those gray-haired freaks? It's like a hydra or a....King Ghidrah or
something. No, the light in here is too strong for their eyes.
But not the
redheads? So you all work in the garden?
done it. The Vencume can't; they dry out or something. They work their own
Vencume can't stay in the dry like this and some plants don't do well with
hydoponics; they don't get the same immune factors unless they have soil.
this dirt come from?
produce a lot of waste.
I heard you were in here!
Evie came in
with the twins closely behind her. The
twins were chasing and tickling each other.
discovered tickling today. They can't get enough of it.
I've already told them not to—
Knock it off!
personal space, OK?
Tickle so and force a laugh
It causes less harm; less than half
Halting action easily
Without a broken arm or knee.
If one of them
does that again
I'll do far worse than "tickle" them.
let you know that our
letters have been sent. No response back, but it might help to put a human face
on this little diplomatic tiff.
you come to...restricted areas like this...make sure you use
your right hand to open the door, not the left.
happen if I use the left?
It won’t work.
It’s missing the mitochondria or something.
grow a clone for this hand, did they?
(laughs) Not for just that. You wouldn’t grow a whole one for
parts; you'd start with a framework and build up from there.
The twins ran
out and started to tickle Evie. She laughed loudly and returned
the favor before they ran off. Becca pointed at Evie's mid-section; a band of
bright white belly stuck out.
it all back.
I can't help
it. I'm predisposed to packing it on. I
have a slow metabolism or something.
Well, that much is true. She always did have a slow heart-rate and low
blood-pressure. But still... (external) That's not healthy, Evie. You have to
exercise. Maybe there's a wave-tank or—
I never want
to be in a tank again.
No, no, no
tank. I'm sorry...I...I
could you forget?
thinking of your health...
jaw is clenching)...maybe that extra weight was
what kept me alive, huh? Did you
think about that? How long were you
lifeboat, huh? How well do you think
I was doing at feeding myself when I
didn't have any hands?
sorry. I'm sorry it
happened, but that was the past and--
It's not the
kind of thing you just get over!
I'm done and
This isn't my fight.
marched to the door and let herself out.
Becca watched the child leave and looked at Evie's back. She could tell by the sound that Evie was holding back tears; the engineer would breathe hard and rakingly through her nose. Her shoulders had risen to her ears.
Evie, I don't
think I'll ever understand what you went
through. I'm proud of you for being able to walk upright after something like
that. I'd probably still be curled into a little ball and screaming. I always
knew you were smart, and kind, but I never knew how strong you were until all
this happened. You've been through so much, and not just on the Tong Dizhou,
but before that and after that. Back at Peg-51, everyone talked about how great
you looked and you seemed so happy...like you finally had a little
self-confidence. I'd like to think that—
If I recall,
you did curl into a little ball and
Nothing is fair.
Becca was in
the kitchen attached to the mess-hall, preparing a dinner with the
redheaded aLima and aRlene. The girls reminded Becca of the Pegger steward,
Franz, with their broad hands, short legs, and heads of thick, red hair. They
even had gruff voices—-oddly deep for their age.
One of Evie's cooking devices was in the kitchen, along with the regular induction-style plates that used a magnetic field to heat steel pots and pans. The fact that there were pots and pans of any kind made Becca wonder if that was what the Vencume had been bought that had upset the portmen back at Peg-51.
The three of them were making dolmas of various kinds: zucchini, aubergine, tomato, and pepper. aLima enjoyed coring the vegetables and aRlene was fluffing a pot of rice. Becca was mincing an onion and some parsley.
How can you
stand that onion? It's
like a weapon.
so good to have a
garden. It's nice to have fresh things to eat.
garden in advancement helps.
We take it out
of field. Just to send it ahead a few
months. Like how they grew us.
have a constant crop in circulation. That must make things much easier.
The Vencume developed it.
aLima finished coring the last tomato and set the bowl of seeds to one side. These would be saved for re-planting. aRlene had finished preparing the rice and took the pot off the plate.
Once the rice had cooled a bit and they mixed in the onion and parsley with their hands. Once it was at a consistency that satisfied Becca, they started to stuff the cored vegetables.
remember seeing any rice in the garden.
grow that themselves.
Do you think
this will be enough for
We'll get by.
We don't have to eat or sleep much.
these. It won't take
there's stuffing left over?
Well...We'll just have to eat it.
SOUND: The two
Come out here!
Becca wiped her hands and left the kitchen.
iDana was pacing, counting something on her fingers.
You! We have a situation. (pause) Who's in the kitchen with
aLima. We were getting dinner
That can wait.
aRlene! aLima! Get suited up!
Authority is here! They've been chasing us this
whole time. Go get ready!
SOUND: the two redheads run off
Why would they—
sentimentality led them right to us! This is all
your fault. You and your stupid letters home!
But we only
wanted to let them know what was going on.
And they traced the signal. They found our location!
Vencume be dealing with this?
Vencume.... (a laugh that sounds like a gag) They’re too busy navel-gazing or
whatever it is they do. We have radio contact
and we’ve set-up an ad hoc bridge. We’re
iDana grabbed Becca's sleeve and started to pull her out of mess-hall. Becca obliged.
Evie was already waiting on the "bridge". Becca recognized it as the room where she had given the Vencume the Human anatomy lesson. The three-dimensional display sat in the center and iMala was making some adjustment to it. iLyssa was attaching a lead to a speaker.
you? Playing Space-Mom?
The display clattered to life, the tiny balls clicking into position to form a rough human figure. Only the front of it was well defined; the back was a vague blob. iLyssa waved dismissively at the image.
We have to
make do. The Vencume can
see, but not that well, so they don't really have anything like we're...like
you're used to.
is Captain Deng Xueshen of the destroyer ZhengYang.
on your ship and we are requesting her return.
the imager on. Let's see what they think.
the male figure move its head to one side, looking at something. The
eyebrows shot up.
iLyssa approached iDana carefully with her hands behind her back. Another figure came into view: a woman.
You will cease your pursuit of this craft and its inhabitants. This is a peaceful ship and you are well into Vencume territory.
(radio) Let us see her.
iLyssa and focused the imager on Becca.
Becca held up her hands.
any questions to the best of my ability,
but please call off your attack.
want to see Dr. Tabib. I want to see that horrible little
I am Dr. Tabib. See? I...I still have the
mark...here. I hit myself with the
block when you brought me in. It scarred. It was never looked after, so
I have both of my hands. I lost a hand when...(external) The Vencume have stem-tech. They grew or built a new one...the hand. We mustn't go to war with them. This has all been a big misunderstanding.
want the prisoner returned to us. We
also request the body of--
I'm not dead,
is her! She must really hate Evie to chase her this far.
for everything that happened between us, but you should have understood it was
me. You could have checked my medical history. You assumed I wasn’t who I said
I was and I'm sorry.
want the...prisoners...returned. If
you put them aboard a lifeboat,
we'll pick it up. If you do not comply in the next fifteen minutes, we will
deploy our fighters.
If you deploy
your fighters, we'll deploy ours. And
ours are better than yours.
We don't want
a fight. We have a schedule we're trying to keep.
Please, just let us go. You can have them later, when we're done.
There was some
minor discussion between the two Shipping Authority figures.
Rosemary's hand was out of view, possibly covering a microphone with her hand.
outrank you. (clear) You have fifteen minutes.
clattered to a flat pool. The signal had been cut.
We need a
proper video system. I don't think that the
hand-held really did anyone any justice.
a lot of non-verbal communication. Forcing a 2-D
image into 3-D doesn't work.
off-putting...oDele, go ahead and do a full spin launch. I think we’re
going to have to prove something to these people.
to see this.
The two women
went down the hall to an observation deck. Past the stern of the
ship was a Shipping Authority vessel. Evie pointed to a bay door that was
opening three sections down. They were rotating at the same rate, so the launch
was never obscured. The five golden attack-fighters flung out of the bay in an
easy arc; and, after turning around each other a few times, they circled the
Shipping Authority vessel.
Becca and Evie went back to the bridge.
Get them on
the line. They need to know we aren't kidding.
over the radio
Are you getting this? We've launched our fighters and it will be another couple of minutes before you can launch yours. Are you going to turn around now?
I need to know
you can hear me...and that you aren't
just ignoring us.
We don't want
to attack you. But we really do need for you to
stop chasing us. Please stop.
Once we see
you turn around, we'll bring them back. This is not
the clattering display to a view of the Shipping Authority
vessel. It stood on a thin stalk and five antenna-like spines came off it, each
terminating in a model of one of the fighters.
installing a proper display once all this is over. This
off your fighters. We are not
moving until they are gone.
and go home. If you halt a bay for launch,
they will open fire. You have ten minutes. We're not going to sit around in a
over the radio. singing on the radio.
The display exploded into many fine spikes coming from the Shipping Authority ship. The models started to turn on the ends of their stalks.
Is there a fault in the...?
They've opened fire on us.
Why can't we hear...?
There's no sound in space. (pause) Halt your fire! You understand? You can't hit them. We're going to open fire if you don't...
singing over the radio changes to a new harmonic. rattle of the display.
Now, the fighters grew thin spines that reached back to the large mass of the vessel. Tiny metal balls rushed from point to point. There was a burning smell.
handle this kind of image. We're going to loose the
Turn it off!
We'll continue this on the observation deck.
piled out of the ad-hoc bridge to the observation deck. The battle rose
and set under the ship.
on us! They will tear you
battle rose over one side of the ship with the spinning sections
waving between them. It looked like a war on some distant shore.
How am I
supposed to direct this if I can't see what
the hell is going on?
on the radio falls in descending scales over the receiver.
I'm trying the
display again, but on a lower resolution.
back onto the ad-hoc bridge. An amorphous blob grew and shrank before
We can follow
the battle better from the song.
One of the
most important tests we've ever faced
and we can't even get a proper view of it.
at the shifting display. The blob adjusted with the singing over
happened? What was that? Why is it a different shape now?
oDele, bring them home.
in. Full spin recovery.
the settings. The Shipping Authority vessel came into clear
The three girls stood, staring, silently at the tiny model of a ship. iMala rubbed her right eye.
We've lost a
pilot. Not sure who, yet.
Becca ran from
the bridge back to the observation deck. The Shipping Authority
vessel rose under one end of the Vencume ship—-a glittering debris field next
it. She watched it until it set.
Back on the bridge, iLyssa and iDana were arguing.
The Reds can
tear them apart. We have the
buzz-landers. Even if we don't launch any ground-troops, we can still put holes
in their ship.
I don't want
to risk any more of us. It was only a matter
of time. We haven't had a proper test.
I might have
How the hell
lucky! They were firing blind! Who knows how many
bolts they put up before—
We are not going to let this pass. We made
a big enough mistake when we let the first one go.
still have communication. They could still call for
help and give their location.
I want everything on that ship destroyed.
something. I...I was just toying
What were you just toying with?
We can do this.
one of my girls. The
Shipping Authority killed one of my girls.
Where are the
Vencume? Why are they not involved in this?
We can make
more. And we will. We will. There will be more.
have lost stability on four sections. Sensors
out. Multiple injuries.
talking to us. He's sending out a distress signal on all channels.
forty percent...three-five-seven. Two-four-six.....
the location. They aren't going to survive.
three two seven
nine five zero...
pick you up. Please, hold on. Get your people evacuated to lifeboats. No one
has to die because of this.
display shifted behind her; something had attached itself to the
model ship. There was a flicker.
Captain Deng Xueshen, come in! Launch your lifeboats.
I can talk to the Vencume. They'll understand. They're children. They were just
children. No more people have to die. Please, they don't understand. The
children don't understand. Launch the lifeboats...
that had attached itself to the vessel bloomed, long fins extending
Becca ran to the tiny observation deck and waited for the ship to come into view.
What rose over the nose of the Vencume ship was surrounded by a shimmering bubble. Inside that, a vessel crumbled under its own weight. The implosion was silent and slow.
Please come in! Captain Deng!
Becca ran back
to the bridge. The clattering display showed the ship folding in
Captain Deng. Rosemary. Someone? Come in!
to death decades ago. They can't hear you.
(pause) They collapsed the field, Becca.
time field slows us down during travel, but if the field collapses, or if the
snapback fails, or if the MOUS doesn't make the correct observation...I knew
the Vencume were doing something like that, but iMala really figured it out.
(pause) She's using our mode of transport as a weapon against us.
10: Mourning that is not mourning
It was oDele who had been killed.
Evie had tried to explain the situation to the twins, but they had not been the most sympathetic audience and called oDelle a "silly pilot". Evie complained to Becca about it later that day.
They don't seem to care much about death. I don't
think the others are even phased. It's like they're less upset about the death
and more upset at being bested.
Well, you said they would make more. Why would anyone care
death if there was an inexhaustible supply?
You're handling this rather well.
Have you ever had someone close to you die?
I guess. I don't know...well...I guess I felt
like it served them all right. I know that sounds weird. But...uh...it was
like...I don't know.
You're not talking about Rosemary.
I don't know how I feel about that. I never...I never
wanted to hurt her, but...even back at Peg-51, I knew she was trying to do her
job. I never...I don't think she deserved that. No one really deserves that. I
don't think we were really close. I bet it's different if it's someone you
really care about.
And people see you and they
don't recognize you. They're so used to seeing that other person there that
looking at you is like seeing a face without glasses. And you go to bed and
it's empty....it's cold. You lose an arm or a leg and you
can't stand up right or function, but you know you have to keep going.
But you were close. And if you care that way, then it feels
that. It's iMala's formula for the value of a thing. It's effect over effort. I
suppose that if you can replace a thing easily, it has no great effect on its
own. The effort is valueless.
Do you feel that way about Ulan and Uma?
I don't want them to get teased. They don't really understand
people and I worry that...if they ever meet other children...as long as they
have each other, it should be OK.
There is protection from most everything,
from fire and storms to frosts that sting,
add whatever blows may come to mind
but there is no protection from mankind.
There's nothing more cruel than other children. I don't want them to face anything like I did. They aren't twisted and weird like that.
(internal) No, they're twisted and weird in their own way.