By Vonda N. McIntyre

Associated tales by means of Vonda N. McIntyre: "Wings" and "The Mountains of sundown, the Mountains of Dawn." Alien humans abandon their loss of life planet in a iteration send, yet a number of are left behind.

"Wings" used to be nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards.

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He touched her hand, very lightly, his claws retracted. “I’m sorry. ” She became clear of him, compelled through the shortcoming of gravity to take advantage of clumsy swimming motions. She back to the low areas of the habitation, feeling nearly bodily wounded through the choice to not land. The send might maintain her existence now not. The formative years was once in her room. “Shall we fly? ” She hunched within the nook close to the window. “There isn't any cause to fly. ” “What’s occurred? ” The formative years crouched beside her. “Thou needs to depart me and fail to remember me. i'll be passed by morning. ” “But I’m coming. ” She took the youth’s hand, extending her silver claws opposed to the patterned black and tan fur. “No one else is touchdown. Thou wouldst be left by myself. ” The early life understood her plans. “Stay at the send. ” The tone was once past pleading. “It doesn’t topic what I do. If I remain, i'll die, and thou wilt suppose grief. If I depart, thou wilt suppose an identical grief. but when I let thee to come back, i'm going to thieve thy lifestyles. ” “It’s my existence. ” “Ah,” she acknowledged unfortunately, “thou artwork so younger. ” The previous one introduced out a flask of hot pink wine. because the sky spun and tumbled beside them, she and the formative years shared the thick, salty liquid, forgetting their sorrows because the intoxicant went to their heads. The early life stroked the previous one’s cheek and throat and physique. “Will you do something for me prior to you permit? ” “What dost thou want? ” “Lie with me. aid me make the switch. ” With the wine, she chanced on herself part amused via the youth’s endurance and naivete. “That is anything thou shouldst do with thy mate. ” “I need to switch quickly, and there’s nobody else i need to courtroom. ” “Thou dost search loneliness. ” “Will you aid me? ” “I advised thee my determination whilst thou requested to stick. ” The early life appeared approximately to protest back, yet remained silent. The previous one thought of the straightforward capitulation, however the strangeness slipped from her as she drank extra wine. Stroking her silver claws opposed to her companion’s patterned temple, she allowed her imaginative and prescient to unfocus one of the swirls of tan, yet she didn't sleep. o0o while she had set herself for her trip, she slipped away. She felt a few remorse whilst the early life didn't stir, yet she didn't wish one other argument; she didn't wish to be merciless back. As she neared the craft bay, pleasure overcame sadness; this used to be her first event in lots of years. She observed not anyone, for the bay used to be at the comparable point as her room. She entered a small energy craft, sealed it, and gave orders to the bay. The equipment labored easily, regardless of loss of use or care. The previous you may comprehend the younger people’s implicit belief within the send; her iteration had outfitted seldom, yet rather well. The air long past, she opened the hatch. The craft fell out into area. Her feeling for the workings of the facility craft lower back. with no numbers or formulae she set its direction; her imaginative and prescient was once now not so undesirable that she couldn't navigate in harbors. Following gravity, she quickly may well think the variation among this international and the house planet; no longer, she concept, an excessive amount of. She crossed the terminator into sunlight, the place swirls of cloud swept via underneath her.

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