Title: "The Wrong Side of History" Characters: Original Timeframe: Original Trilogy Summary: It wasn't what they had said, but they might as well have: This is your chance to atone for the sins your father committed. Don't you want to be on the right side of history? -------------------- "The Wrong Side of History" 1/Need to Know My mother called me up today, and she had actual relevant news: she has accepted that one and only offer on the Coruscant flat. She managed most of the talking—which was good, as I hadn’t a thing to say that I haven’t wasted time telling her before—and I do think she was pleased, and in her private thoughts, relieved, with the results. She only ever lived there, and in the mirror-polished sleek buildings of the political district, to begin with because of Father’s Position. She hasn’t ever told us that she doesn’t like it there, but (I know I’ve thought this before, and I may have even written it down) she doesn’t. That would be understandable: it’s a ****hole. Yes, I know—I live on Eriadu. No one has ever been known, of all the people in residence here, to like Eriadu. But while I have always lived in a city, and I don’t have a sacred woo-woo connection with nature (I suspect I may be of the wrong species for that), I do not think a world, an entire planet, really ought to be comprised of naught but cityscape. I don’t care if millions upon millions of beings compete to live on Coruscant. They can have it with my own relief: it is made of machine-metal straight down to the core. The only ground is that hard flat duracrete pavement flooring--and that is in the skylit dumps of the upper city. Of course, I didn’t tell my mother any of that. While I listened to her rose-flushed voice telling me the details of the sale, I lit a cigaret awake with my free hand, and wandered over to the theatre-picture windows as I took in the first gasping-hard drag. It was nearing the end of the morning in this city (which my mother was kindly aware of), and the window was flooded with thin stained-grey light. There was an occasional echo from the traffic thudding past in the sky outside. I had been awake for one mere hour, when I had given up on sleep in part because my back hurt. I had intended to dress, but since I didn’t have one reason to leave the confines of my flat, I was still slumped in that dressing gown I have with the chewed lace cuffs. The soles of my feet were gritty with glitterdust. My mother accepted my answer when she asked how I have been, and I told her that I was “oh, just fine.” It has always been easy to lie to her, so easy that it doesn’t feel like lying at all: because I’m only telling her what she already wants to believe. We have already discussed her plans for once she takes leave of that flat: she and Prunella will be returning to live here on the home planet. Now it is a reality, and they have an agent looking into the house market. Prunella is predictable and wants to be in the City, but my mother told me that she would prefer to live here, near both Wilhuff and me. That might be too close for you, I said, finally offering an opinion. I looked away from the blank picture of the sky inside the windows. I sat down on the golden leaf settee and smashed the burning end of the cigaret on a tea saucer. Oh, you don’t have to worry. I won’t let Prunella call you up every single day, my mother said, going along with a bright shivered laugh. But I hadn’t had to force that remark. This wasn’t one of those days: when I have a boiling cloud of thick wool space-black words in my mouth, and about to fly loose. I don’t actually speak them—it took long enough, but I know better—but it makes it difficult for me to say anything else. That may be one of the reasons why I have taken up writing, though it hasn’t been a benefit. It’s actually like I’m an animal with its skin ripped off and tears drooling from its custom-made violet candy eyes. And that is another thing I shan’t be telling anyone. But anyhow: the conversation with my mother didn’t take up so much as an hour, and then I was left with the rest of this day to live through. I got dressed. After several more hours, Wilhuff called up, as I rather knew he would. He had just dragged himself from his bed, and gotten the message with the same news I had received. His voice through the speaker was dancing and perky with his fresh dreamstick high, and he wanted to talk and talk. And talk. I obliged him. Today, on this day, I decided to read one of the Hyacintha Era novels I loaded into my datapad last week. I know, I know—no one uses their time to do anything so quaint as read fictional stories. I don’t want to think about how well those who are actually writing the things are making out. These were the Basic translations, though—I can no longer read Middle Grizmalti well enough to make out more than several lines of a poem. It really hasn’t been a skill I could use outside the paperdry air of the university. But I can say that I used one of my degrees today. Well: sort of. I made up a sandwich (in the style of that kaffa house I was at last month) in the kitchen, and then managed to make myself eat half of it. It has been some while since I last read anything at novel length, so when I had difficulty concentrating on the screen, and not the snarl of my thinking voice, I stood up and went to look out the window. The sky was pale, and empty save for several smashed limp clouds in the distance, and I couldn’t watch it for too long. It was, to be honest, like being asleep again.