|7,500 words/27 pages double spaced
|Third person, past tense
|An aromantic asexual woman who works as an occupational therapist and has a past studying aerospace and space science. Tends to be emotional and loves the idea of people more than actual people. She was adopted to an American couple from China as an infant.
|Austin May Beckenbauer: Becks's queerplatonic partner, who is graysexual, demiromantic, and gender fluid; is almost finished with medical school and similarly loves helping people but not actual people
Regina: Becks and Austin's coworker who is obsessed with horoscopes
Board members and other authorities who make decisions about their position
Becks's father and birth family who live in Dongguan
|Twenty-second century, urban setting; several scenes depict a conference room, the hospital where the protagonists work, their shared apartment, and later, a spacecraft called the Water-Bearer
|Becks and Austin initially applied for a position on a spaceship to meet aliens because Becks wanted to save her sick father. Soon the practical considerations become secondary to their desire to live together on the spaceship in isolation as a way of fulfilling their dream. They become front-runners for the position, but face opposition because various people have trouble understanding or accepting their relationship with each other. Once offered the position, they will have to decide whether they're okay with a one-way trip into space.
|Information, inspiration, and other notes
|I wanted to write a science fiction story for a certain magazine's submissions call, but I don't usually write science fiction, so I lit upon a subject I've always found compelling: humanity and isolation from normal social behavior. Plus it was a chance to write some unusual stripes of queerness. I did get some of my inspiration for the "one-way space trip" idea from Joan D. Vinge's short story "View from a Height," but it's very different in application. Also, this is the first time I've ever written an asexual aromantic character or a gender-fluid character. The story was not chosen by the market I originally wrote it for, but it was later bought for the 18th volume of the PRIDE anthology from Aurelia Leo.
|[Manga-style drawing of the main characters]
SHORT STORIES PAGE