Set in the 523 After Starfall period, later on on the same day Anna 35 arrives...

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Newer York, 523 After Starfall, Day 273, 17h03m

The Governor General was, to put it mildly, having a real humdinger of a day.

It had begun with the delegate from the New Anaheim project. If it ever got off the ground as an actual construct, New Anaheim was going to be the start of settlement in the Outer Belt of the system. It was a long schlep from anywhere to get out there, and the Skip Drive was useless in-system, so the logistics were a hassle. Despite that, there was a lot of real enthusiasm for the project.

To hear Ariel bat Yosef tell it, however, all of the delays were purely political, an attempt by the Triumvirate to keep everyone where they could see them. Ariel was probably not the absolutely most passionate about the idea of starting “fresh” in the Outer Belt, but the Governor General allowed herself the private opinion that anyone more passionate about it would be so verklempt with passion as to be unable to speak, thus leaving Ariel the job of representing the New Anaheim Interest Group.

Or rather, shouting about it a lot.

If Ariel had calmed down and shut up for maybe forty-five seconds or so, the Governor General might have explained to her that, no, actually, she herself, and the Admiral, and the Chief Rabbi, were all pretty besotted with the idea. The Dream of Spring had left Earth with the intention of ensuring humanity’s continuation. The idea that the Spring’s evolution into Newer York—both the station specifically and the various “villages” around the Inner Belt—was now ready to spawn a daughter of its own was heady stuff, and seen by all three of them as the real mark of success.

But Ariel bat Yosef seemed to think that every delay was a dotting parent’s plot to keep the teenagers from growing up.

So, that was this morning.

Then, this afternoon, there had been the meeting with the United Dock-workers Clans. Words like “trade union” were not really bad words in Newer York’s economy, but someone had decided they were too old-fashioned and “Earthy”, way back when there had finally been enough people for labor to start organizing.

Instead, at some point, a group of dock jocks had registered as a clan. Since registered chosen-families were not just recognized but encouraged in Newer York’s social system, this was seen as a way to organize while still being “in character”. Since clans were required to be relatively small, no more than twenty adults, before they had to split, the growth of commerce, both within the Inner Belt and via skipships with Old Sol, had led to a proliferation of dock-worker clans, who of course, continued to work together, since a large part of their purpose in forming clans had been collective bargaining.

Whatever you wanted to call it, it was, as it somehow always was, a headache. Not because the UDC’s arguments were invalid in anyway, but because they were quite valid…but so was the reality that the resources to meet their requests were just not available. Fortunately, the UDC’s negotiators were not behaving like thwarted teenagers. They weren’t going to stop asking, or looking for ways to make what they wanted to happen, happen, but they were at least not yelling at her.

But then…then there was the Magenta File that was highlighted on her desk screen when she got back from that meeting, looking forward to a quiet slide down a slope of paperwork to her downshift, and dinner with her own clan.

The cover note on the file was written by a customs agent, endorsed by his senior and her senior, who had cascaded it up to the Governor General’s office as being pretty much above anyone else’s pay grade.

The customs agent, one David ben Shlomo, had not been the one to actually attach the copy of Magenta Thirteen to the note. Chances were good David had never heard of the Contingency Files. That had been Yitzhak, the expert system who monitored her queue and helped keep her work organized and prioritized. Yitzhak, who was remarkably prone to kvetching for an entirely artificial individual, had attached his own annotation to David’s cover note, as well, saying simply, “Oh, brother! Won’t this be fun!”

The report was remarkably dry, detailing an otherwise routine interview with a new applicant to the Ellis program, whom the agent had passed, lacking any obvious reason not to do so. Ellis pre-screeners were trained heavily on the idea of weighing each individual on their own needs and merits and not on their background. This was no exception, as far as he understood it, and that’s how he’d handled it.

And after all, the ban on the Exiles returning from Revi’i had only applied to the original 31 rebels themselves, all now long dead and gone.

The Governor General read the report, and then read it again, and then read Magenta Thirteen, and then read the report from the customs agent again.

Then she swore quite a lot, poured herself a gin and tonic, closed her eyes and consumed it with real appreciation whichever ancestor had determined that juniper was worth preserving in the seed bank, took several deep, calming breaths, and read it one more time.

And then, she made a few calls.


A short one to balance some of the long ones, lately. Anna's part of the Newer York timeline is starting to take shape as an actual series of events and not random episodes. At some point, I need to figure out how to better organize things to make it all easier to read.

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