Sunday, September 14, 2008

Musical Musings #14: My Generation

This week's prompt is My Generation by The Who

Using the theme of being misunderstood or wanting to be understood, follow your muse through the thrashing sounds of My Generation to find your story.

Shet took a moment to let her breakfast settle in her stomach and to savour the last drops of her tea. The prospect of her supply of precious tea leaves running dry was her newest worry. A transport ship from earth was due within the month with supplies for her, but the transports were often delayed. Intergalactic trade and exploration was where nautical shipping was at almost eight centuries earlier. It was more hit and miss than pure science and reliable time tables. So she was daily making her tea weaker and weaker in anticipation that the ship wouldn’t arrive as scheduled.

Ka’Ru looked over at her and smiled. They were heading out onto the Th’urnian tundra together to map and see how the geophysical equipment worked on the alien planet for the first time. He was excited to be out of the mine, away from his father and the expectations that Ra’Keen held for his son. While Ka’Ru was the son of the Principal Mine Engineer he had been appointed Shet’s guide on his own merits. What surprised Shet the most was there was no stirring or whispers of nephatism as there would be on Earth – as there was when she was appointed for this missive, when Kyle was the Chairman of the Clandestine Government organisation that had devised the exchange. She’d wanted to scream that he’d never given her a single break in her life, that he was probably arguing behind closed doors with the others on the board to block her appointment.

“You are worried about going out – no?”

Ka’Ru had turned off the wireless translator and put it back into the small storage space in the wall. They were back to think-speak again.
“I was just thinking about Earth.”
“Think of the tundra instead. Earth makes your face wrinkle.”

Ka’Ru’s point blank honesty had come as both a challenge and a joy to her. She liked the Th’Urns manner of straight talking.
“Your face wrinkles when you think too. Have you never looked in a mirror?
“A mirror. This is something from earth – no?
“I’ll explain on the ride out.”


Ka’Ru lowered the table, making it once again part of the flooring, in an act that would have appalled Shet’s mother’s sensibilities - the lack of forethought for hygiene. Never one to worry for dirt or germs, Shet loved the functionality of everything in the living pod. It seemed that it was only her small personal quarters, nothing more than a bed, a cupboard and a tiny space in which to set up her computer and communication equipment for her broadcasts back to Earth, that lacked no other purpose than to house her.

She went into her ‘room’ and took out a tiny disc – her Fuck ‘Em music. When they’d been working on her suit, she’d insisted the engineer create an alternate route in her communication equipment in which to play music. It was only music on the long lonely days that saved her sanity and while she wavered between sinking and swimming, she needed the music. The engineer had been challenged, more by the doggedness of her request than the technicalities to create a tiny processor to play her disc.

Shet held up the tiny disc with a grin on her face, meeting Ka’Ru in the small area outside the living pod where the Surface Suits were stored.

“Have music will travel.”
“Have music will travel,”
Ka’Ru repeated without any sense of what it meant, but he got the sense of adventure in her words.

With quick efficiency Ka’Ru helped Shet into the suit that was remarkably lightweight and easy to move in despite its bulk. The weight came from the oxygen tanks, not the suit that protected her from the gamma radiation. She put her tinted helmet on and Ka’Ru attached and checked the connections for the two hoses that kept the oxygen mix right for Shet in her helmet.Unlike the Th’Urn, who were masters of oxygen adaptation, Shet needed the same amount of oxygen to keep conscious and functioning. Th Th’Urn were able to breathe both the low oxygen atmosphere natural to the surface of their planet, but also the high oxygen environment of the living pod, as created for her comfort. She tried not to watch with fascination the subtle flutter of the gills in the sides of the Th’urn men’s necks, but like a child drawn to the weird and unusual she was often caught, her eyes transfixed on Ka’Ru or Ra’Keen’s neck.


Ka’Ru donned his own suit and the gills were gone. Shet made the safety checks on Ka’Ru’s suit, forcing herself to slow down and do the job properly, when all she wanted to do was get outside.
“Your music,” Ka’Ru reminded picking up the disc and pushing it into the little control panel on her arm.

Ka’Ru opened an exterior door out into a long and complex set of connection tunnels, eventually terminated in a garage area on the outside of the camp. The whole camp, the living and work pods seemed to be constructed like a spider web, with covered tunnels connecting each pod in an ever increasingly broader, and more complex configuration. As Mine Manager, Ra’Keen’s living pod was almost at the centre of the spider web.

Ka’Ru pointed over to an open topped buggy, with large all terrain wheels, reminiscent of a Jeep back on earth. Shet strapped herself in snugly, and pressed a yellow button to flood her helmet with music, as the large door rolled to the side to allow them to leave and Ka’Ru started the loud engine.

“People try to put us d-d-down
Talkin ‘bout my generation”

The buggy leapt forward, throwing Shet against the harness.

“Just because we get around
Talkin ‘bout my generation”

Shet tried to turn around to see what the complex of pods and tunnels looked like, but the terrain was rough, and Ka’Ru’s pace lethal, keeping her focused on the vista in front of her, that would briefly appear out of the dust eddies.

“Things they do look awful c-c-cool
Talkin ‘bout my generation
Hope I die before I get old
Talkin ‘bout my generation
My generation
This is my generation baby”

As they hurtled over the uneven terrain in the open topped buggy, her body flung violently forwards and sideways in the harness, The Who blasting in her ears, Shet was free – for the first time in years. Free from the unachievable expectations of others, free from the sarcasm of Kyle … and free from all the dark void of her memories. It was the same thrill that she’d had the first time she climbed on the back of a motorbike with Harm all those years ago, her arms clasped about him as they’d sped down the open highway, leaving home far behind her. Not only did she feel free, unencumbered, but young, as though the emotional burdens of the years were stripping off her, displaced by the air that tore past her and turning them to dust.

Was she reclaiming the radical, daredevil spirit she’d had as a young woman? Would she be able to give up her addiction to worrying and debilitating circular thinking - move forward? She'd made it this far hadn't she? She was going forward ....

“Talking ’bout my generation,” she sang enthusiastically and out of tune, as she did in the shower.
“Fuck Kyle,”she thought, she was going to show him this time. She didn’t care if Ka’Ru heard her, even though he was focused on navigating them safely through the rough landscape at breakneck speed.

Ka’Ru had promised not to listen in on her thoughts, when they’d discovered that he had a natural affinity for taping into her thoughts, something the other Th’Urn seemed unable to do without her expressed permission. Still she knew Ka’Ru did, felt him as a presence creeping gently around in the back of her mind and hadn’t worked out yet if he meant to, or if there was simply a connection between the two of them that once established could not be broken.

1 comment:

Annie Evett said...

can't stop her now!!! this ROCKS.. eager to read more...