QSFer Amara Lynn has a new non-binary sci fi post apocalytic book out: “Tundras, Travelers, and Other Travesties.”
Eis has lived on a solar powered outpost in a tundra covered land all zir life.
After zir parents passing, Eis is left to maintain the outpost alone, struggling to do so between chronic pain flare ups, waiting for the day a traveler might come in need of a warm bed and a meal. A day Eis thinks might never come, until a mysterious craft crashes into one of the solar panels.
Eis never expected a traveler to come out of the craft, or for him to be so captivating and beautiful. Everything Eis knows could change with the coming of this traveler, and yet the greatest travesty would be never knowing what else is out there, beyond the tundra, beyond the skies.
Tundras, Travelers, and Other Travesties is a 5800 word solarpunk post-apocalyptic sci-fi short with a queer protagonist.
I’m huddled up comfortably in front of the fire for the evening when the power cuts out.
I let out a heavy sigh. It’s late, I’ve eaten my supper, stabled up Ieas for the night, and all I want to do is stay where I am, basking in the heat which feels like heaven on my aching muscles and ribs.
I groan and curl into a ball, even though that’s an awful position for my ribs. Tomorrow. I could take care of it tomorrow.
There’s no telling what the problem is, though. Either snow has built up on one of the solar panels, or one of those dang sheep has nibbled through a wire again. The backup generators shouldn’t run for too long, or else they’ll burn up. I know I shouldn’t leave the panel unattended long in these conditions.
Outside, it’s a literal tundra. I hadn’t bothered braving any cold weather today between the on and off snow and having a bad pain day. In fact, I’ve been neglecting my duties for a few days because of my pain.
Now, I slink out of the warm embrace of my weighted blanket, my muscles protesting immediately. I sip the rest of my herbal tea, hoping it’ll do me some good before I journey out into the harsh cold.
Ieas looks to me when I come into the stable, and even though they’re a moose, the confusion on their face is almost human-like. Their red eyes blink down at me when I walk over and pet their snow-white snout.
“Hey, Ieas, buddy. Up for a late-night hike?”
Ieas huffs and puts their mouth on my hair. I gear Ieas up for the trek to the solar panels. It isn’t that far, and some days I could walk it. Not today, though. Now with the snow and my pain.
Once I’m huddled up as best I can be, I lead Ieas out into the angry blizzard. Ieas knows the way to the panels as well as I do and needs almost no guidance navigating the white slopes up to the solar panel.
I’m fully expecting for there to be sheep or goats hoarded around the panels, or for them to be covered in snow that I’ll have to push off with my shovel. Nothing could have prepared me for the sight of some foreign, metal pod-like object in the side of the solar panel, gray smoke wafting from it.
What is that?
Ieas doesn’t seem to want to get any closer, which makes my chest burn with anxiety. Ieas isn’t usually one to be skittish. Whatever that thing is, Ieas doesn’t like it one bit. I can hardly blame them, though. There aren’t usually large metal objects protruding from the solar panels with smoke coming from them. I don’t like the look of this. I have to investigate and assess the damage to the panel, though, so I take a deep breath to steel myself as I dismount them. I grab my tool bag to take along, though I’m pretty sure the damages this thing has done to the panel are beyond my means to repair.
“Shh,” I whisper in Ieas’ ear, rubbing my hand on the moose’s neck. I slip off Ieas and poke my tether into the ground so my companion won’t try to run off. If I could, I’d turn tail and run, too. Anxiety has made a home in my chest, perpetuating the ache in my ribs. It’s cold and my body was already aching today. I don’t want to deal with this. But I need that panel fixed. And I need to figure out what this thing that’s wrecked my panel is.
I already had one panel quit on me not too long ago. I was able to reroute the power to the other panels. This is a completely different beast. I had two more panels I could reroute all the power to, which should be enough for just me. Hopefully there would still be enough power between the remaining panels once I redid the wiring.
I’ve never seen anything like the metal beast. It’s oblong with two pieces of metal protruding out from each side like wings. A trail of smoke is rising up into the sky, the black plume a stark contrast to the whiteout.
I walk the rest of the away, ready to jump out of my skin at a moment’s notice, heart hammering in my chest. The smoke is drifting my direction, threatening to fill my lungs; I pull my scarf up around my mouth and nose and press on.
I stare at the silvery object in front of me and reach out a gloved hand to touch it. Before my fingers can make contact, a hatch springs open, making me fall back. A person steps through the doorway, golden hair blowing about their face and obscuring it from my full view. I’m still staring on in shock when the person suddenly falls to the ground.
“Crap!” I skitter to my feet and rush over. This person is obviously injured. They’re also not dressed for the climate at all, which is disconcerting.
This vast, white tundra is all I’ve ever known. It’s all there is. If there is a place far beyond that isn’t covered in snow and ice, it’s far beyond my reach.
I turn them over. They’d face planted in the snow and now it’s all over their face and the front of their too light clothing. I hurry back over to Ieas and pull off a spare woolskin blanket to wrap around the unconscious traveler.
The traveler is much heftier than me, and I have to settle for grabbing them by the arms and pulling them over to Ieas. I groan with the effort of draping them over the saddle, taking a couple deep breaths and wincing at the strain on my already sore bones.
Amara Lynn has always been a quiet daydreamer. Coming up with characters and worlds since childhood, Amara eventually found an outlet in writing. Amara loves anything to do with pirates, villains and superheroes, angels and demons.
Amara is addicted to music and gets the most inspiration from moving songs and lyrics. When not writing, Amara usually reads, listens to podcasts, watches anime, plays a video game here and there (but mostly collects them), and takes way too many cat pictures.
Amara is non-binary/enby and queer and uses they/them pronouns.