Crewkin is one of my favorite stories and deals with a possible future scenario where corporations use gene manipulation, brainwashing during childhood, and intense education to make their ship crews. The resulting adults are little more than slaves. The captain and senior officers were 'doms.' All other crew 'subs.'
These crews, who spend their lives on one ship in deep space became known as crewkin. In developing such a restricted social group, one result became the inability of crewkin to reintegrate into society as a whole, so if the ship was destroyed, any surviving crew committed suicide. In fact, corporate policy encouraged this outcome as show in the excerpt selection of Crewkin on this blog's excerpt page.
I hope you can sense Renna's emotion in this six paragraphs (actually seven — I'm pretending I can't count) from a little further on in her journey.
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Renna swallowed the painful gasp swelling in her throat, ignoring those regarding her exit. Good kin performed joining before committing the heresy of desertion... so Markham taught. Their notice made her exit a judgment.
Renna stopped before the massive plasmetal hatch disguised as elaborate carved doors which defined the Markham Company boundary. Through a transparent section of the gate, Renna watched the norms crowding the space station's causeway. A memory of walking with her kin out of this portal flashed before her. They had left as a group. All dressed in their neat tan utility suits. All heads bore the same short blond hair, except for her. Dom Dukan demanded her head remain shaved to eliminate her unkin colored hair. She swiped her scalp, felt the prickle of growth, and swore to never again cut whatever grew. He could do nothing about her dom-matching height, or her colorless eyes. Markham Company had deemed his request to change her eye color frivolous.
The automatic portal to the astroport opened, closed, and opened again while she hesitated. Her kin had found leaving their ship Markham3 difficult; leaving Markham territory terrified them. Safe among her kin, Renna remembered her excitement for the chance to explore the space station alive with so much noise, so much color. Stepping through the doors, she remembered, how upon returning, Dom Dukan refused to leave Markham property again. She quashed the memory, refusing to look back. She would never return, no matter what.
Now everything looked gray. The resonance in the port swallowed individual sounds forming a cacophony of white noise, which created an odd noise construction of silence. Unfamiliar smells permeated the air, mixing into a repugnant strange atmosphere. The difference divorced her from any response as effectively as the hatch closing behind her severed her past life. With steady steps she headed for the station's main concourse.
She focused on the people. Some stood, turning their head to read signage, looking for their direction. Others talked in small groups. Often a jagged burst of laughter erupted around them. Still others rushed, carrying, pulling or pushing packages, crates, or luggage.
People…strangers...norms, no matter what you called them...they crowded, jostled, and shouted in fast flung sounds she didn't understand. Each one appeared different in shape, size, color, and clothing. Their smell curled within her nose. Each seemed at once both selfabsorbed and attentive, threading through one another's journey with little interest in other travelers. So different.
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The story starts there!
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