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Christmas on Iago Prime
by Cora Buhlert
Copyright © 2017 by Cora Buhlert
All rights reserved.
Cover image © by Gerd Altmann
Cover design by Cora Buhlert
Pegasus Pulp Publications
A Year on Iago Prime
Iago Prime is humanity’s first interstellar colony, inhabited by a crew of brilliant scientists and fearless pioneers.
However, even so many lightyears from Earth, the people of Iago Prime still cling to the traditions and holidays of their old home.
Not all holiday traditions can be easily adapted to conditions on Iago Prime. Nonetheless, the colonists do their utmost to celebrate the holidays the way they always do, even lightyears away from home.
I. Outer Space Is Boring
Outer space was boring.
Libby would’ve never thought that she’d ever say those words, especially since all the vid dramas always made a trip to outer space look so very exciting.
But vid dramas, so Mom and Dad always said, weren’t the truth. And the truth was that outer space was boring, so very, very boring.
Libby’s parents were scientists, stationed for a “tour of duty”, as they called it, on the newly settled world of Iago Prime to “evaluate the viability of the colony established there”, whatever the hell that meant.
Whenever Libby’s parents went somewhere, it inevitably meant that Libby had to go there as well. And absolutely no one ever asked her how she felt about that or whether she wanted to go at all.
Up to now, Mom and Dad’s assignments had only taken a few weeks or months at most. They jetted off somewhere — a deep sea colony, an Antarctic research base, Luna City or even the Mars colony — did their evaluations, wrote their reports and that was it. They never stayed for very long anywhere, never long enough that it was a problem, at any rate.
But Iago Prime was different. It was much further away than anywhere else, for starters, and therefore, Libby’s parents were supposed to stay for eleven months — almost a whole year — on Iago Prime.
Worse, they’d left in October, which meant that they’d spent Christmas here on Iago Prime. And wherever the jobs of Libby’s parents had taken them, they’d always made sure to spend Christmas at home in Boston on Earth. It was — like — the law, an absolute rule that could never be violated.
Until this year. Until Iago Prime.
Libby’s parents always made a big ado about how great it was for her to experience all those different worlds and cultures while growing up. Cause research had shown that getting to experience a whole lot of different worlds and cultures as a kid was beneficial for future development. It made individuals more open-minded and was an effective antidote against the sort of narrow-minded patriotism and nationalism that had almost destroyed the world in the previous centuries.
However, no one had ever asked Libby how she felt about being uprooted and dragged to a different place, even a different planet all the time. Okay, so she figured being raised to be open-minded was a good thing — it sounded like a good thing, at any rate. As for that whole “antidote against narrow-minded patriotism and nationalism” thing, Libby wasn’t quite sure what all that meant. But there had been a lot of wars in the previous centuries — Libby had seen pictures and vids — and there weren’t any now, so she supposed that was a good thing, too.
But she still didn’t understand why those undeniably good things required moving somewhere else all the time. Why couldn’t she become more open-minded and get the antidote against whatever, while staying put in one place?
Because to be honest, this constant moving around was annoying. Cause whenever Libby had made friends somewhere, she had to leave and move somewhere else, cause Mom and Dad’s job was finished. And back home in Boston, she didn’t have any friends either, because who’d want to be friends with someone who was never there?
Mom and Dad didn’t seem to mind — in fact, Libby wasn’t even sure, if they had friends at all. But Libby minded. Because she wanted to have friends, good friends like the kids in all those vid series who went swimming or played sports together and had adventures.
“But you’re having adventures, dear,” Mom had once said, when Libby complained about that, “You’re visiting places that most people never get to see, let alone most kids.”
Libby didn’t care. She’d rather have friends.
And making friends on Iago Prime was not just difficult, it was impossible. Because there were no kids on Iago Prime, not a single one. The youngest colonist was seventeen — that was almost ten years older than Libby. Everybody else was even older. And Mom and Dad were always busy.
“You’ll just have to amuse yourself, dear,” Dad had said to her, when Libby had complained she had no one to play with.
But there was nothing to do on Iago Prime. It was even worse than the deep sea mining colony where they’d spent two months last year. Here on Iago Prime, there were a couple of habitat domes, connected by walking tubes, a greenhouse, a hangar, a cafeteria, lots of labs. That was it. There were no playgrounds, no shops, no parks, no swimming pools, no cinemas.
Libby had only needed a few hours to explore the entire colony, even with people shooing her away all the time. Because that was another thing she hated about Iago Prime. You couldn’t go anywhere, because everywhere was dangerous. It was always, “Keep away from the labs! Keep away from the airlocks! Keep away from the hangar!” Libby had even gotten herself thrown out of the kitchen, because it was supposedly dangerous.
After two days, Libby was bored out of her mind.