The Umae teeter on the brink of extinction. Their blood rivals, the Hek, have mysteriously made huge leaps forward in technology and are now poised to exterminate them. Their godlike protectors, the Journeyers, have not been heard from for centuries.
Just as their society is poised to collapse, the Journeycraft Starshine returns to them from deep space. Prohibited from using advanced technology by an ancient set of laws known as The Protocols, the Starshine’s terminally ill Command Agent must lead a ragtag group of exiles on an overwater quest to investigate a clue to the Umaes’ ultimate salvation. But the Hek stalk them at every turn, and a would be dictator plots his own ascension to power.
Can the Journeyers restore the faith the Umae once had in them? Can the key to the Umaes’ survival be found in time? And what is the Starshine’s Command Agent willing to sacrifice in order to have the only thing he ever truly wanted?
John, welcome back. And, welcome back to the readers who’ve decided to come visit as well. John, who have you brought with you today?
May, do you have a full name, or a nickname you’d prefer us to use?
- That is my full name.
Then, May it is. We spoke with Min not too long ago, so I’m curious, are you the same species as he, or are you something special?
- I’m an Umae. There really isn’t anything special about me.
That makes you special to me, as I haven’t met many Umae until now. Will you tell us a little about where you are from, and your family to get us started?
- I was born on the planet Uma, Atla settlement. I have about 40 ellipses.
- Atla is a nice place. The lake is pretty. We are safe here. Everyone gets along very well for the most part.
- I never knew my parents [so I] I don’t know [if I have any siblings].
I can see where that might make life a little difficult. From what Min said, the Umae have some interesting professions. Can you tell us a little about yours?
- I’m a Rearer. I’m in charge of raising a group of young Umae along with another Rearer named Cap. I also get to rear my own son, which is sort of unusual. I was already a Rearer when I had Dom and the Chroniclers couldn’t find anything in the Protocols that prohibited me from raising him myself.
It sounds like you enjoy your job, all right. Do you think it fits with your personality?
- I’m very attached to my Wards, and that makes me rather protective. I’m outspoken (Cap would say too outspoken). I like to question authority.
What about stress or frustration? How do you handle that in your job?
- Helping rear 5 children of various ages causes a lot of pressure every day.
Do you ever play the “what if” game to get away? If so, what do you dream of yourself being?
- I’d love to be a bird of some sort. I’d love to be able to fly around and see the world for myself.
Do you have any friends or co-workers who can cover for you to get away for a little while?
- Well, there’s Cap. I guess he’s my main ally.
What do you do if Cap insults you, even if it is not on purpose?
- Cap doesn’t insult me. He thinks he is protecting me from myself sometimes.
Do you get along with others?
- I don’t like to be lied to though.
Do you have any enemies or people that you are afraid of?
- I don’t have any enemies. I don’t understand the Chroniclers though and wonder if they really know what they are doing.
When they complement you, what is your first reaction then?
- I’d wonder what he or she was up to.
Coming back to the realm of the possible, what do you want to see happen?
- I wish my son Dom would show a bit more maturity.
Is there anything you’d like to see changed about you?
- (looks down, breaking eye contact) I can’t talk about that with you right now.
Do you have anyone in your life who you’d like to be closer to?
- (smiles) I’m very fond of Cap. I’ll leave it at that.
Fond enough to marry?
- We Umae don’t marry.
I’m sorry to hear that. I know for humans, having someone who’s pledged themselves to you, and you to them is something many strive for, and when it’s a good match it can be a source of great comfort.
Do you have any fears that you can share, or are they too personal?
- That something will happen to Dom. He is my world. I want the very best life for him.
Do you hold any secrets that you can share?
- I’m a Portentist. I don’t think the Chroniclers and the Journeyers know how to take care of us. But there are signs that appear every rotation that can guide us if we just take the time to look.
Sounds like you have quite a few things to juggle to stay balanced in your life. Do you have any achievements or accomplishments that you can use to gain strength when things seem to be going bad?
- The Wards that I have helped raise with Cap have always turned out to be fine citizens. We are good at what we do.
That is an accomplishment, and sounds like a wonderful point of strength for you. I won’t keep you any longer from your duties May. Thank you for joining us today.
John, thank you for stopping by, once again.
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