Updated: May 7, 2020
New Indigenous Futurisms fiction by Weyodi.
Beginning this month, Wordcraft Circle will seek to bring you new fiction (which will eventually make its way to Native Realities Digital). To kick us off, we bring you some excellent science fiction by award-winning writer Weyodi. The story is serialized, so we will have the next sections available every week. Thanks for tuning in! If you are interested in being featured with Wordcraft Circle, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I sat halfway up the number four radial ladder at the map room end of the ship watching two of my mothers corner a porcupine. Just a dozen more rungs up and gravity would be loosened enough that I could let go of the ladder and move on my own through the loose-g to the map room if I felt like it. But not yet. A dozen more rungs would also make the difference between being able to see what my mothers were doing well enough to be entertained by them and Primes-The-Thrusters and Strips-Wires-With-Her-Teeth turning into two tiny moving dots. Below, on the central drum of the ship, Strips-Wires-With-Her-Teeth charged the porcupine and Primes-The-Thrusters threw the blanket in her hands but from the movement of their bodies I could tell the porky had escaped, run through the berry thicket on the other side of the old Pecan tree. But I knew my mothers. Neither of them were the kind to give up. Eventually they would get the blanket over the porcupine and walk away with my old baby blanket full of quills. These they would clip the barbed ends off of, dye, soak, flatten, and sooner or later use to embroider my name, Relativistic-Jet, or at least the meaning of it, a flare of particles escaping from the event horizon of a black hole, onto something I owned. It was kind of a mania with all six of my mothers lately. They were all constantly making me new clothes, jewelry, tools, weapons all emblazoned with my symbol. Even my new atomizer gun had the symbol, which looked like a ray piercing a flattened disc, inlaid in precious stones on the butt. It was a very nice brand new atomizer and the symbol looked very striking but it was also a little bit embarrassing. When was too much too much?
It was both exciting and terrifying to think about why they were doing this. Soon, in less than a standard measure, the length of time it took a human being baby to grow inside the body and emerge alive, we would rendezvous with another ship of human beings and if I met a woman I liked, a woman who also liked me, I could tell my mothers and they would arrange a match. My first-mother, boss-wife Extinguishes-The-Fire, gave me her word none of them would make a match without my consent. I thought about the upcoming meet-up with another ship. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to some pangs at the knowledge that once a match was made I would be leaving my family behind and never return to my home-ship except as a visitor. But that was the way of things. Oh, from time to time, if a ship was getting too crowded or there was some kind of long-running insurmountable conflict within a ship, a group of sisters might build their own ship, but most of the time women stayed on the ship where they were born. Which was why girls were taught to tend to business inside the ship from the time they were little. It would be their responsibility to keep the ship running, make sure there was air to breathe and water to drink, make sure the plants and animals were thriving and the gravity kept them affixed to the central drum. Make sure the thrusters were firing so the ship could be maneuvered. Keep the puuku, the four man ships used for setting down on a planet, in good shape.
It was Men’s Work to make the maps and use those maps along with the Deer-Star-Plant to move the ship through space. It was Men’s Work to sing and drum at the mark of every sleeping and waking, to remind the heart of the ship to beat, and to keep the hearts of the people and the heart of the ship synchronized with each other. It was Men’s Work, along side the Women Warriors, to defend the ship. It was Men’s Work to protect the landing party, so that women could decide what, if anything, a planet might have that the Human Beings might need. Then it was the job of the men to get it for them. Whether by charm, or by negotiation, or trade, or, as a last resort for obvious practical reasons, by simply taking what they wanted and running as fast and as far as they could. The Women’s job was to run things inside the ship while Men were expected to handle things outside the ship. My fathers and grandfathers had put time and effort into preparing me to be a man, and needless to say to attract the attention of women. I knew how to let my looks speak for themselves. I had already proven I knew how to keep calm in a fight, I was a good shot with my atomizer, but my real strong suit were my powers of persuasion. I was also very naturally good looking, but I wasn’t going to say that out loud. I shouldn’t have to. It was obvious. Not that plain, or even ugly boys, couldn’t marry well but...every little bit makes a difference. Doesn’t it?
I figured I ought to be able to make a