Whether and Why

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Ever since the starships abandoned Loess, red-orange plumes of smoke and fire scoring the sky and mirroring the conflagration below — ever since then, people have been talking about how to call them back. The question, of course, is not just of how and when, but of whether and why.

Historians argue over the circumstances of the past. There were signs, some say, that a slow, deliberate withdrawal from Loess was already underway. The silences between transmissions grew longer. When messages arrived, they were conciliatory but cryptic. The New Blood ships came less frequently. It was just a matter of time, some historians posit, before the ships stopped coming at all.

Others believe it was the manifestation of generations of accumulated resentment and rage. There had been insurrections before, after all. Not all of Loess’ inhabitants had settled here willingly. Even those who loved the harsh, brilliant beauty of these dusty seas and layered cliffs chafed under the rule of the Council-appointed leadership. Especially those, perhaps. But some saw the burning of Verdure’s spaceport as the final, unpredictably violent release of a pressure valve.

Then there are the politicians. They argue over the consequences for the future. A world in turmoil. Communications primitive and sporadic at best. The Planetary Council disbanded or fled, the Governor deposed and each settlement left to fend for itself. Some clamor for a return to a single world government, others for the dispersion of power. Some envision a new status as equal players on the galactic stage. A minority insists on the status quo: isolation from the larger galactic community.

Everybody talks about calling the starships back: how, when, whether. My desires are not so far-reaching. My concerns are personal. What I want to know is why they left, why they stayed away, and whether it was my father’s fault.

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This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. Though I try to make these installments enjoyable as individual pieces, I highly recommend that you read the series from the beginning to really get what’s going on.

This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge weekly prompt:

You should write a creative response using the third definition of the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

1: characterized by or resulting from careful and thorough consideration <a deliberate decision>
2: characterized by awareness of the consequences<deliberate falsehood>
3: slow, unhurried, and steady as though allowing time for decision on each individual action involved <a deliberate pace>

10 thoughts on “Whether and Why

  1. Kerry says:

    Yes, that last line definitely raises some curiosity and also brings it back to the personal, which throws a different light on what has come before. Nice.


  2. EagleAye says:

    I enjoyed this a lot. To me, the whether and why you want something is most important. Calling the starships back may not really be a great thing. But the concern of the writer is most interesting, if their leaving was his father’s fault. Very nice. I liked this.


  3. steph says:

    I think it works well as a stand alone. I love the paragraph about the politicians. And the end about the narrator’s father keeps us intrigued.


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