My awareness spins as I leave the seven towers and my life as a Gen.
Soon after, I awake in the small, cramped vat.
My body has grown again, leaving my sisters, the old ones, behind.
The world is different after my time with the Gen.
The future calls my name, and promises joy and possibility.
Still, my heart is unsettled.
I’m filled with sadness, and a strange feeling of urgency.
Something is wrong.
Not here, but somewhere far away.
I start down the ladder, and stop.
The liquid in the vat is a beautiful, sparkling green.… Read more
Vala and I hover, waiting, five hundred feet above the stadium, as the gates open.
Another newborn Gen and her master hover near us.
We watch the first rush of walkers, as they pass through the gates to get the best of the unreserved seats.
The arena where the Gen perform is round, a hundred feet across.
An empty space, five feet wide surrounds the arena.
Each row of seats forms its own circle around the performance area, rising, higher and higher, toward the outer walls of the stadium.
The first circle of seats is reserved for … Read more
It took me three cycles to reach level seven, and another ten cycles of intense training to advance to level twelve.
At level twelve, there are only two choices.
Become Gen, or die.
Vala says that I’m almost as fast as a Gen already.
But I’m still bound to this world and this flesh.
Now that the birthing is so close, I’m filled with doubts and fears about becoming Gen.
Will I lose myself?
Who will I become?
People say that the Gen reject emotion.
Some say that they don’t feel anything at all.
Is that what waits … Read more
A cycle passes, away from the school and Vala.
My desire to be Gen fills me, stronger and stronger, but I miss Vala even more.
Most students are told to wait a cycle between classes, but Vala said that I could return in three months.
The months are long past, and I haven’t seen or spoken with her since I left.
She doesn’t answer my messages.
Every few months she sends me a note with one word: “wait.”
What does the council want, and why does Vala ignore me?
I won’t believe she is silent by choice, but … Read more
Twelve of us stand in the large, bare room at the school, and wait impatiently for Vala.
Some distract themselves with practice, while others just talk.
Vala is fifteen minutes late, unthinkable on a test day.
She is Gen.
So different from us, we who are tied to our small, fragile bodies.
Still, she knows that emotions run wild today.
The tests twist our hearts and thoughts.
They stand between us, and our dreams of becoming Gen.
We prepare for test day the whole week, every week.
We sit in class and listen, practice our … Read more
Lines and Symbols
A ring of buildings surrounds me, miles high.
Sunlight flows down the edges of the buildings, through light pipes, and brighten the walkways far below.
This is my city, the largest in the world.
Today,it seems tiny, as I imagine the endless world that the Gen live in.
When I get home, my rooms feel too small to hold me for the long hours until day’s end, and my meeting with Vala.
After a short rest, and a light meal, I wander the city until I reach the streets and parkland near the school.
Day’s end … Read more
I wake up, and almost jump off my mat.
I’m thirty-five cycles today, a child no more.
Fully grown, with all my adult strength.
I want to celebrate, but my friends think it’s foolish.
I also hear mother’s voice in my head, saying it’s childish to celebrate birth cycles at my age.
Once, there were great celebrations at thirty-five, but the customs are gone, five hundred cycles ago.
I live on my own, and I became a full citizen at thirty, but I’m still excited.
What the world has forgotten, the Gen remember.
At thirty-five, you … Read more
My mind slips back from Jaina’s world, falling down an endless hole.
Soon the body lands, solid again in my awareness.
Warmth surrounds me and supports me.
How long have I been in the vat?
No way to tell yet.
Is this the same world and the same room?
The vat is smaller than before, and the room feels different.
I slowly stretch my muscles, waiting for them to protest their long sleep.
Instead, I find my body relaxed, strong, and well rested, not sore or weak.
I look at the liquid with energy eyes.
Energy covers … Read more
Fifty suns gone.
The years run quickly, and the village changes.
So big, and filled with children.
Soon the village will split.
Villages must stay small, so everyone is known.
This is our way.
My sister, Shanir, is in both councils.
Like elder mother before her.
Elder mother left this world two suns ago, and Shanir is sick.
Her days fade.
I whisper to Shanir that we must go climbing together, become children, again.
She laughs, and then the smile turns sad, and fades.
“We lead now, Jaina,” she says.
“Our days belong to the village.”
“Who … Read more
The Love of Chiefs
Our chief is a great man, powerful and smart.
He loves children, and fights for his people like each one is his child.
I am his nephew, but he treats me like a son.
Every chief is commanded to see his people as children, but this chief lives it.
Tonight I am fifteen.
We feast after a great hunt.
I think of another feast to come.
In a month, we gather with the people of the low country.
I will take Nanik as my first mate.
Tonight, I drink too much, and go a short … Read more