A ship is designed to carry only what it is meant to carry, for exactly as long as it meant to carry it. For to have even a hair out of place could mean tearing open the tightly sealed hull, or scrambling the control unit, or distort navigation, or throw off the air pressure. If a ship is damaged in flight every human being would die in seconds, still strapped to their seats in the empty vacuum, the one-way travel tickets frozen against their breasts as the open wound of their ship drifts into infinity.
Theodora woke to snow hush. Her bedroom felt as cold as mountain echoes. She burrowed deeper beneath her blankets, warm in the wool smells, and listened to the winter dawn. She’d always called that white silence ‘snow song’. Thinking of bare trees and bright fields, breath puffs and sinking steps, she heaved off the bed covers. She wanted her footprints to be the first on the snow. Chill floorboards stung her feet as she darted to the window. Pulling open the curtains, she peered through frost-patterned glass: white fields glittered like comet trails; low sun hazed the pale sky. The black shapes of distant trees seemed the letters of an unknown language. Stillness lit the air.