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Pleiades Federation, Ark, New Ark, 3148

What were the first things?

His name was Lorq Von Ray and he lived at 12 Extol Park in the big house up the hill: New Ark (NW. 73), Ark. That was what you told somebody on the street if you should get lost, and that person would help you find home. The streets of Ark were set with transparent wind shields, and the evenings from the months of April to Iumbra were blasted with colored fumes that snagged, ripped free, and writhed above the city on the crags of Tong. His name was Lorq Von Ray and he lived Those were the childish things, the things that persisted, the first learned. Ark was the greatest city in the Pleiades Federation. Mother and Father were important people and were often away. When they were home they talked of Draco, its capital world Earth; they talked of the realignment, the prospect of sovereignty for the Outer Colonies. They had guests who were senator this, and representative that. After Secretary Morgan married Aunt Cyana, they came to dinner and Secretary Morgan gave him a hologram map of the Pleiades Federation that was just like a regular piece of paper, but when you looked at it under the tensor beam, it was like looking through a night window with dots of light flickering at different distances, and nebulous gases winding. You live on Ark, the second planet of that sun there, his father said, pointing down where Lorq had spread the map over the rock table beside the glass wall. Outside, spidery tilda trees writhed in the evening gale.

Wheres Earth?

His father laughed, loud and alone, in the dining room. You cant see it on that map. Its just the Pleiades Federation.

Morgan put his hand on the boys shoulder. I you a map of Draco next time bring. The secretary, whose eyes were almond-shaped, smiled.

Lorq turned to his father. I want to go to Draco! And then back to Secretary Morgan: I some day to Draco want to go! Secretary Morgan spoke like many of the people in his school at Causby; like the people on the street who had helped him find his way home when he had gotten lost when he was four (but not like his father or Aunt Cyana) and Mommy and Daddy had been so terribly upset (We were so worried! We thought youd been kidnapped. But you mustnt go to those cardplayers on the street, even if they did bring you home!). His parents smiled when he spoke like that to them, but they wouldnt smile now, because Secretary Morgan was a guest.

His father humphed. A map of Draco! Thats all he needs. Oh yes, Draco!

Aunt Cyana laughed; then Mother and Secretary Morgan laughed too.

They lived on Ark but often they went on big ships to other worlds. You had a cabin where you could pass your hand in front of colored panels and have anything to eat you wanted any time, or you could go down to the observation deck and watch the winds of the void translated to visible patterns of light over the bubble ceiling, flailing colors among stars that drifted byand you knew you were going faster and faster than anything.

Sometimes his parents went to Draco, to Earth, to cities called New York and Peking. He wondered when they would take him.

But every year, the last week in Saluary, they would go on one of the great ships to another world that was also not on the map. It was called New Brazillia and was in the Outer Colonies. He lived in New Brazillia too, on the island of Sao Orini, because his parents had a house there near the mine.

Draco, Triton, Hell3, 3172 | Nova | Outer Colonies, New Brazillia, Sao Orini, 3149