As I sit in my office and stare out the window like Joey from Friends, longing for sunlight on my face I’m drawn back into the world of Atom and Margo. What does quarantine mean to them? Does it even affect them?
I’m guessing not.
I mean, they’re the crew of a ship that flies the Black. They spend most of their time in the confines of the ship with only each other.
Seeing as their stories are more action oriented, I never really take the time to get into what the crew does in their downtime. I know, because it’s in my head, but I have to apologize for never really sharing that with you readers.
I assume you think the crew eats, sleeps, and gets into trouble whenever they land.
But that’s simply the tip of the iceberg.
We know that Daisy likes to read and play games. On a couple occasions in Genesis Daisy pits his gaming prowess against the captain, and although I never reveal who is the superior gamer, it is implied that they are well enough matched to pass the time aboard the One Way Ticket.
Shi likes guns. She’s a gunslinger. That doesn’t mean that’s her only pastime. While she can seem cold and distant, that’s more a product of her past life as a soldier. She evaluates and thinks, plotting out the best course of action in the shortest amount of time. She enjoys tinkering in the kitchen, although her success rate there is not 100%. The poncho… well that’s another story for another time.
Byron is the classic tinkerer. He has the most trouble aboard the ship. It’s his first experience off-world and it has taken some adjusting. Luckily, Atom gave him the ship’s workshop. It’s Byron’s world within the ship. It allows him to keep his hands and mind busy. He’s only 10-11 years old, so he still enjoys the finer things of childhood, like running, playing games, and getting into mischief. Being closest in age to Margo, he has become her surrogate big brother and takes the time to play with her whenever he’s not preoccupied with some project in his shop.
Hither is more of a mystery. You know a touch of her background, and if you don’t, I have a book that will fill you in. But without revealing too much, she is a well rounded person. Her training brought her efficiency in most areas of life. In the seclusion of the ship, she spends time reading and watching vids. Oftentimes she can be found competing with Shi in various time consuming games of skill and while she often tops Shi in games of physical dexterity, the gunslinger always comes out ahead in shooting matches.
Atom often spends the downtime with Margo. Much of his life is spent as a teacher. Between jobs he reads to his daughter and shares laughter. Atom is happy in solitary situations. In fact, he relishes the loneliness of deep space. Through his life, more time was spent aboard ships than off. Even as the Emperor’s Left Fist he was constantly traveling. As a result, many of his pastimes are solitary in nature or spent with a single companion. He reads and studies, plays games of strategy with Daisy, and can be found meditating in the cockpit as he stares into the void.
Margo is the simplest character. She is two and has the curiosity and playfulness of a toddler. She is old enough to communicate and understand many facets of life that adults overlook.
The crew has become family and while they have moments of annoyance, Atom chose them for their ability to maintain the familial closeness in the face of the Black. In a place where man can easily lose himself, the crew draws together in the knowledge that they have each other, but there is always another port of call to stretch their legs.
Now, I wish that could be us in real life. Unfortunately, my house doesn’t seem to have another port of call and while I can imagine my office window is a cockpit screen looking out into the void, I have to come back down to earth and realize when I open my eyes I’ll be right back where I started. The good news is, I have a good crew on this ship with me. There might be tense moments where we get on one another’s nerves, but at the end of the day, we will get through this.
In other news, the artists over at Three Furies just unveiled the first draft of my new cover. It’s similar enough to the first edition to make sure people know it’s the same book, but different enough to stand out. I’ll get that up for you all to see in the next day or so.
In the meantime, I’ll keep writing while you keep reading, and keep on flying the Black.