The sun never set on the Human Empire. That empire was slowly inching its way across the galaxy. The empire became soap-opera. Those trapped on Earth watched the story lines of colonisation through their cerebral wired entertainment. Wild world-wide celebrations had met the announcement of the first planet to be colonised outside our solar system. Humans were moving forward, in that inexorable desire that had always enthralled us: the dream of progress.
Hundreds of millions yearned to be pioneers. They longed to escape the over-populated mega-cities, the restrictions of rationing, the claustrophobia of Earth.
Yet, resources were limited. Only the brightest and the best would be allowed to go off-world. The rest had to be content with a vicarious exploration through the medium of the cerebral media.
In any system, there are always some who manage to slip through the cracks. Ruthann was not the most accomplished dancer. Yet somehow she had secured a place in the star-circus which toured the human colonies and bought a taste of olde worlde Earth to their faraway homes.
She danced and twirled in the star-circus arena. Moving to the sound of the hurdy gurdy on strange worlds where red sandstorms might rage outside the metal glass domes, where ice mountains might slowly melt under the machinations of terra-forming.
Girls on Earth studied her dancing with scorn. They knew that they were better dancers than Ruthann. They couldn’t understand why she had been chosen.
“Why her, and not me?” they would scream in frustration. “I’m better than her.”
Ah, if they could only see her dance. Not through the mechanisms of their entertainment wires which only transmitted part of her charms.
Ruthann danced within the star-circus as she danced within her life. She danced and spun and and turned to the discordant noise of the hurdy gurdy. Ruthann was fragile, damaged, glorious and courageous. There could be no other; there could only be Ruthann.
She was the spirit of the space pioneers. Whole worlds watched her, as she tried to fill the void within herself which could never be fulfilled. Ruthann was a quantum singularity, worlds of adoration were never enough for her.
And when she crashed and burned, as it was inevitable that she would, whole worlds cried for her.
About the author: After a twenty year period of procrastination Deborah Walker has started to write speculative fiction and poetry. She lives in London with her two lovely, yet distracting young children. Find her most recent acceptances in The Drabbler, Innsmouth Free Press, Everyday Weirdness, M-BRANE SF, and Sideshow Fables #1.