by Athena Andreadis
Starship navigators live
by renunciation and arrogance.
Alone at the helm,
I dream new constellations
and harness the starwind.
When need or fatigue grow imperative,
I land, prowl among ground dwellers;
they cannot touch me.
Rarely, though, I meet one of my kind,
beleaguered, ruthless, demon-driven.
Kinship cannot be denied
but sustenance is more critical.
We plunge a needle in each other's plexus.
A shot of pain, a shot of pleasure,
with each twist.
Soon, our ships lift again.
Stunned by acceleration and loss,
I fall back on staples:
Gallantry; brute endurance;
finally, comic-book slogans:
"Aid me, Demons of the Deep,
till pain debrides my thrusters."
Athena Andreadis was born in Greece and lured to the US at age 18 by a full scholarship to Harvard. She does basic research in molecular neurobiology, focusing on mental retardation and dementia. She is an avid reader in four languages across genres, the author of To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek and writes speculative fiction and non-fiction on a wide swath of topics. Her work can be found in Harvard Review, Strange Horizons, Crossed Genres, Bull Spec, Stone Telling, SF Signal, World SF, H+ Magazine, io9, The Huffington Post, and her own site, Starship Reckless.
Art: Adapted from Spaceborn, by Eleni Tsami. It is reprinted here with the artist's permission.