Yet, with only a short warning, he learns that the entire project is obsolete due to new technologies. Worse, Van Atta is ready to remove the quaddies’ ability to reproduce and exile them to the planet surface to slowly die a protracted death as a new race.
Leo wants to help them to survive, but Van Atta has made it clear that the mutants are expendable. Because GalaTech has its own rules and laws, he has the ability to follow through on his plans. The quaddies have no rights at all, since they are considered merely post-fetal tissue samples – not people – by GalacTech. They are, therefore, property to be disposed of in whatever way GalacTech sees fit.
Leo sees the ‘disposal’ as murder and wants to save the quaddies. He pairs up with a female quaddie named Silver that has been ‘trading her services’ for goods only available outside of the habitat and forbidden to the quaddies. And everything Silver learned or received in trade was shared with all of her fellow quaddies. Together, they come up with a plan and Leo must choose to give up his current life as he knows it, or he must betray his new friendship with the quaddies and follow the corporate policies.
Ultimately, Leo sounds an alarm alerting the ‘normal’ people to gather into a safe area while the quaddies are left on their own as the habitat slowly loses its air and depressurizes.
I’ve been reading many genres of novels and short stories since I was ten years old, some thirty-five years ago. In all that time I cannot remember even once that I compared a novel to a short story for any reason.
Sadly, I must now break that streak and say that the author’s lack of depth with her characters and environmental development are glossed over as they would be in a short story, with just enough detail to move the story forward. It is difficult sometimes to picture the scene taking place or the people that are involved without some amount of disassociation creeping in.
The lack of descriptive imagery notwithstanding, the author keeps the pace of events flowing smoothly and evenly, at a fast enough pace to keep your attention between actual action events. Aside from that, the author alludes to future events and builds up to what is supposed to be a climax, but it falls short in that not much really happens. There is minimal suspense or drama built up before the telegraphed escape.
The inclusion of a sexual encounter between a ‘downsiders’ and a quaddie is handled tastefully and again, without much detail. But, in this case, the lack of visionary writing is a positive thing.
When the story ends with a kiss, a few major questions still fill my mind. Things like: “What happened to…”, and “… but they are supposed to get supplies to keep going…”, and “What would happen if…”, and etc. All of the questions I had after I finished left me unsatisfied with the final chapter.