Friday, June 1, 2012


The gleaming towers of Edinburgh rose before me out of the clouds. They looked like spikes of ice with roses frozen inside them: the sun was rising behind me, and I was grateful for the goggles clamped over my eyes.

Over the crackle of the radio came the voice of the landing operator, directing me to the landing dock on the 108th floor of the Karelian Embassy. I gave an affirmative, but my mind wasn't in it. I'd been flying long enough that I could run on automatic until the time came to dock, and I wanted to appreciate the sight of the city in front of me, pristine and luminous, before the reality of conference rooms, and the duality of opulence and poverty that plagues all big cities imposed itself on me.

The sky was beautiful. To the west, it was still dark blue, lightening and morphing into lavenders and reaching finger the pale yellow of old bone. This, I thought, is why I fly.

Suddenly, my copilot said, "Jarmo, watch out! We've got to lose altitude!"

"What?" I said, but my hands were already twisting dials and flipping switches. Our plane dropped fast but smooth, and in a moment I had gathered myself and could look up to see what was going on.

"Oh," I said. Above us, moving north like a great ponderous whale in summer, was an airship that made our plane look like a goldfish. It was massive, all light-absorbing Cappadocian steel, the kind that looks like obsidian. On the underbelly of the ship was painted an insignia in red and gold. As the ship moved over us, the insignia resolved itself: a pit scorpion, the sign of the Mojavian Empire.

My copilot said, "What's their problem? There's not supposed to be anyone else in the air right now!"

I was about to reply, but then something caught my eye. A series of portholes came into sight, and in one of them was a face that -

I blinked. Was that...

Triangular head, wide mouth, large dark black-hole eyes. Sad eyes, that seemed to look into infinity. alien?

I leaned forward to get a closer look, but the line of portholes passed, and it was gone.


Written in English class. Expansion? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Thoughts?


I am going to be in China for the next two weeks. West to the Orient: that's how we do things on a round planet.

See you all on June 19.

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