Wrote a new intro as part of my ‘finish up the Monkey Draft’ effort this month. Thought I’d share and see what y’all think. If you picked up a book and this was the first page, would you want to keep reading?
The thing I always miss about Earth is the water.
That’s usually the first thing anybody asks when they find out I’m a Lithie, so I thought I’d just get that out of the way to start with. Cat Tecuatl, Earthling Extraordinaire, misses water.
There’s water on space stations, of course, confined to the plumbing. Other planets have lakes and rivers and vast stretches of ocean teaming with creatures, great and small. But somehow it isn’t the same; even Isala, with oceans over ninety-six percent of its surface area, can’t compare to the Mar de Cortés.
I suppose there’s an added bit of irony there. I grew up in Uto-Azteca, an arid province in the south-center-west of North America. We lived in Albequerque, which is 600 kilometers from the Sea of Cortés and 900 kilometers from the Gulf of Mexico. Starting when I was eleven, I lived at a school in Chihuahua which was a little closer- maybe 400 and 700 kilometers, respectively- but it’s not like I was living on a Pacific island or something.
I’m a desert girl at heart, or at least as much as heart as anyone can be these days when everybody lives in environments which are at least semi-artificial. I don’t get claustrophobic living in a tin can space station, though I do sometimes miss the endless stretches of red rock, golden sand, and turquoise sky.
Maybe it was living in the desert that made me love the water so much; nothing more valuable than the one thing you can’t have, right? Even with all the advanced irrigation and water reclamation technologies, I grew up with water rations only slightly more generous than the ones I’ve encountered living on space stations. Thank you, ancestors, for corrupting so much of Earth’s drinkable water supply. Your many-times-great-grandchildren are having a lot of fun with the effects of that particular bit of stupidity.
I was on the swim team at school; we did have swimming pools, although I’m pretty sure the “water” was more Cl2 than H2O; we all had to wear breathing filters in the pool room and scrub vigorously after practice. It wasn’t a terribly pleasant experience, but it was a close as I could get, most of the time, to floating in the open ocean.
But nothing, nothing compares to swimming in the ocean. For me, this usually meant el Mar de Cortés– the Sea of Cortez, in between the Baja peninsula and the North American mainland. It was only a two-hour rail trip from my school in Chihuahua to el Mar, as we called it, and I went out there at least every other weekend- more if I could swing it.
Some of my friends are hardcore Spacemonkeys and they talk about spacewalks like they’re a religious experience. “Floating in the Great Sea of the Universe,” they call it. I never needed the Universe; just give me the Big Blue Seas of our Pale Blue Dot. Just a few thousand tons of water on one little planet– is that so much for a girl to ask?
The answer, if you’re wondering, is yes – and no. I didn’t get to keep my lazy Sundays floating in the Pacific. They took my planet away from me, sent me out into the Galaxy and told me never to look back. Sounds like a pretty good trade, right? One lousy planet for the whole Universe.
But I never wanted the Universe. All I wanted was el Mar.