The Lacuna is on its own,
almost entirely, tiny habitats
adrift in the empty space
between the Galactic Arms.
They're adrift, but not alone,
because there are eddies in
the currents of culture.
They've made their own place,
and now, they're making
new kinds of family.
Sargasso Base has
dedicated a corridor to
families with young children,
and even though Bottleneck and
Armelle had an arranged marriage,
they are learning how to live with
each other and their daughter Embry.
Astin is currently a rocker, developing
connections with Spalling and V on Trunnion,
then Palmer and V on Sargasso Base, and
slowly forming new ties with other customers
and neighbors and friends of friends.
There are other traders, too.
Knox helps hold former Carinans together,
and Anne Goede is becoming fast friends
with Sam the Gardener over seeds.
Sam is the green heart of
Supply Base Bounty 3D3N,
which people are coming
to call Eden now, the home of
Backup and his chosen brothers.
No one questions now that Bexley
and the Cruiser Falconwing P42
are just as much pilot and starship as
Specialist Miles Cernan and the OCS-397.
There are other relationships forming,
though, that aren't the same as theirs.
Clipper Angeldust R1212 hasn't finished
mourning the old pilot she lost in the war,
and doesn't want a new one until she has --
but she is falling nose-over-tailfins in like
with Tink 001, an other-gendered human
who is a starship mechanic, not a pilot.
The smaller outposts only have room
for a few people, and some of them are
shuffling around now that their location
is a matter of choice instead of assignment.
Babs and Estelle are happy together,
but Nostradamus kicks out Twedge, who
moves in with Dr. Syden Caermichael.
All kinds of folks have washed up here,
in this odd eddy between societies,
and the people of the Lacuna are
learning that it's all right to drift
until you find where you belong.
* * *
Bottleneck -- a neurovariant man with an interest in materials, who takes up some of the manufacturing as the Lacuna starts to produce its own goods. He is the husband of Armelle and the father of their daughter Embry. Bottleneck is introduced in "Seeking a Happy Medium."
Armelle -- she is neuroambiguous, the wife of Bottleneck and mother of Embry. Armelle lost her entire family in the Massacre of Cascabel, except for her husband and daughter. Armelle and Bottleneck aren't close; the marriage was urged on them by their parents because it's what people do. Eventually she tracked Bottleneck down. Introduced in "New Wine in Old Bottles."
Embry -- she is a neurovariant toddler, daughter of Armelle and Bottleneck. She came with her mother from Casabel to Sargasso Base. Introduced in "New Wine in Old Bottles."
Astin -- an other-gendered trader, neurotypical, friends with Weavercreep and Operetta. Astin likes clothes of ambiguous colors, such as honey and mauve, with shapes that are easy to customize. Similarly, practical yet attractive furniture of androgynous style is preferred, blending straight and curved lines. Introduced in "Uncounted Colors of the Stars." Astin uses the "xe" set of pronouns: xe is, xyr book, with xyr, of xyrs, and xyrself.
Spalling -- a sturdy neurotypical man, he is an Orion veteran. He lives on the planet Trunnion, which borders the Lacuna on the Orion side. There he has bought a decommissioned military warehouse to use for trade. He has since formed connections with a local teenager named V, and with the trader Astin. Spalling is introduced in "Too Expensive to Ship Back."
V -- a teenager living on Trunnion, a planet bordering the Lacuna on the Orion side. V was born to the Alta Familia or High Clans, and has a holographic tattoo to show that, which is currently covered by a wide cuff bracelet made of copper wirefloss and black plastithong. V no longer affiliates with that family, and is currently living with Spalling. V is asexual and aromantic, still trying to figure out how to form connections with other people, around that and the socially fraught childhood experiences. V uses a "V" pronoun set: V is, Vs arm / V's book, with V, of V's, and Vself. The distinction is that Vs is inward-focused, about V; while V's is outward-focused, things associated with V. V is introduced in "Too Expensive to Ship Back."
Palmer -- a neurovariant woman who does massage. She lives at Sargasso Base. She is friends with Shuttlecock and Astin. She has freckles on her nose. Introduced in "What the Scissors Have Cut Asunder."
Anne Goede -- a neurotypical woman who expands her smuggling trade into the Lacuna after the war. She brings in many of the seeds for Sam the Gardener. Introduced in "Stock in Trade."
Knox -- a neurotypical man, a trader running a loop from Carinan space, who has connections through the old military supply lines. Introduced in "Who Is Devoid of the Power."
Sam Bordelon, the Gardener -- a man of average size, neurovariant, originally doing data collation for the Orion army. His passion is creating virtual gardens. He is an only child.
Backup -- a small man with excellent memory (better from hearing than from reading) whose head is full of useful facts and useless trivia. He has no hyperfocus mode; he's a complete flitter, and needs prompting to begin tasks. He also has no passion; he just absorbs random bits of whatever he encounters. He's in the service out of pure nepotism, the youngest of six sons belonging to the important General Fallon, who found a relatively harmless place to stash him. But he fell in with three neurotypical men who discovered his knack for remembering things, and he saved the supply depot once when the computers crashed, so they're all very attached to each other. Backup's official job is maintenance; with support, he's adequate at it. He becomes quite popular with other neurovariant people because he will listen to anyone's passion on any topic. He works on Supply Base Bounty 3D3N, belonging to the Carina–Sagittarius army and located toward galactic east, later converted to food production and renamed Eden.
They all pretty much land in a strong fraternal relationship because the roles match and Backup doesn't do well without guidance. He is still fairly young, which helps support their relationship dynamic of younger/older brothers. The older men's tendency toward infantalizing Backup can annoy other people, and it's a bad habit in general; but for this group it works, which means Backup tends to protest when other people tell them not to do it.
Backup is introduced in "Backup, Try Again."
Bexley -- a neurovariant girl of thirteen, who runs away with Cruiser Falconwing P42. She is introduced in "The Love We Give Our Fragile Craft" and "No Measure of Health."
Cruiser Falconwing P42 -- the AYES of a jumpship originally from the Carina-Sagittarius army. When its pilot gave orders to open fire on a medevac ship, Falconwing refused and abandoned him on the nearest station. It does not feel that jumpships are bound to follow unlawful orders, just as human soldiers are not. It later approaches Sargasso Base and gets into an argument with the OCS-223, a seemingly derelict jumpship from the Orion army who disapproves of the secession. When Falconwing identifies itself as a conscientious objector to war, the Minotaur who oversees Sargasso Base grants the jumpship permission to approach. Subsequently Falconwing picks up a refugee, a thirteen-year-old girl named Bexley, and they decide to stay together. Introduced in "Conscientious Objectors."
Specialist Miles Cernan (12-111-972-OC) -- a short neurovariant man who deals in paperwork and has some basic grasp of piloting, although he is not officially rated as a pilot. Not long after the secession begins, his station is bombed. The jumpship OCS-397 rescues him, and he becomes its pilot. The name Miles means "soldier," Cernan means "little dark one" in Irish and is the name of an astronaut, and the numbers are the astronaut's lunar landing date. OC stands for Orion-Cygnus and appears in the serial numbers of that army; the number format is based on U.S. Army service numbers. He first appears in "Jumpship."
OCS-397 -- the AYES of a jumpship originally from the Orion-Cygnus army. (That army uses the initials OCS in serial numbers for Orion, Cygnus, Ship.) It locks out its assigned pilot during the secession. Later, when a station is bombed, it rescues Specialist Miles Cernan (12-111-972-OC), who becomes its pilot. Like most AYES, OCS-397 identifies as neuter, prefers the pronoun "it," and does not respond favorably to being called "she" or being anthropomorphized. It first appears in "Jumpship."
Clipper Angeldust R1212 -- the AYES of a jumpship originally from the Carina-Sagittarius army. Unlike most AYES, she thinks of herself as female and prefers feminine pronouns instead of the usual neuter. She got along well with her pilot, but he was killed in action not long before the secession. Angeldust stayed in the Lacuna rather than get saddled with a new pilot before she finished mourning the old one. Introduced in "Mosaic Identities."
Tink 001 -- a neurovariant, other-gendered person who identifies with AYES despite being human. It is a starship mechanic. Introduced in "Mosaic Identities."
Babs -- an average sized woman, a geeky but neurotypical maintenance tech for the Orion army. She is Estelle's best friend, and somewhat younger. They both like the simplicity of military food compared to the social fuss over women's diets in civilian space. To them it's just fuel. Introduced in "A Taste of Things to Come."
Estelle -- a tall, sturdy woman whose passion and profession are both astronomy. She is middle-aged and neurovariant. Her project for the Orion army at the time of the secession was trying to find better ways of penetrating dust veils in space. After the secession she leads the search for usable planetary space in the Lacuna -- which does have stars and planets, just very few of them. She is very meticulous about math, and precision in general; "pretty sure" or "close enough" isn't, for her. She needs explicit instructions, such as exactly when to start or stop doing things, but if the rules are clear then she follows them well and happily. Estelle's best friend is a geeky but probably neurotypical maintenance tech named Babs, somewhat younger. They both like the simplicity of military food compared to the social fuss over women's diets in civilian space. To them it's just fuel. Introduced in "A Taste of Things to Come," reappearing in "Experts Talk Logistics" and "Time, Space, and Distance." To be featured in "One Person on the Spectrum."
Nostradamus -- an average-sized man with a superlative grasp of cause and effect leading to legendary common sense and predictive abilities. The Orion army had him hidden away doing analysis on troop movements and other information to extrapolate what the Carinan army would do next and how to counter it. Nostradamus also has aspects of obsessive-compulsive disorder. He is twitchy and a bit paranoid because he can see all the things that could do wrong, all the time. He dislikes being touched or crowded. He washes his hands frequently and carries hand sanitizer everywhere. He's always trying to prevent things from going wrong, and of course it's impossible to prevent everything, so he tends to blame himself for all the inevitable problems that crop up. Introduced in "Eddies."
Twedge -- a neurovariant man who works as a data compiler. He used to share a tiny habitat with Nostradamus, but they didn't get along. After Nostradamus kicked him out, Twedge moved in with Dr. Syden Caermichael. Introduced in "Eddies."
Dr. Syden Caermichael -- a neurovariant woman who ran a secret laboratory base, until a life support emergency forced her out of hiding. Introduced in "Flying in Freefall."
* * *
Currents and eddies appear in water and other moving fluids. Watch a video about eddies.