Raj Patel pressed his face against the porthole, his fingers locked tight around the nearby handhold. His stomach lurched and rolled, only partly because he was still unused to weightlessness. Mostly it was the emotional stew created by the sight of the massive planet appearing before him, its almost inconceivable bulk entirely obscuring the four wheel-shaped habitats he knew were there, orbiting Jupiter. Sat Yuga, Fiddler’s Green, Eden and Arkadia.
He rolled the word around in his mind. Arkadia. His new home.
A reflection in the port caught his eye and he clumsily turned himself. It took him a moment to recognize her — it was the biologist, Marian something — bouncing off the sides of the small corridor as if she’d been born in space. “Almost there,” she said, deftly grabbing a handhold to halt her momentum.
Raj nodded, then regretted the quick head movement as a wave of pain washed over him. “Ugh,” a groan escaped from him. “The sooner the better,” he said.
Marian smiled. “Good thing we slept through the bulk of the trip, eh?”
“I almost wish we could sleep until we’re docked.”
“And miss the view?” Marian asked, squeezing next to Raj to peer out the port. Raj twisted himself around again and gazed at the planet.
It was huge and foreign and Raj was momentarily stunned by a wave of homesickness. He couldn’t wait to leave Earth but now he couldn’t help but think back to the planet he’d left behind.
He reminded himself again why he was here: after spending years helping to organize the growing economic protest movement, Raj finally came to understand that restoring balance was never going to happen peacefully. The urban battles breaking out all over the globe made that clear enough. Even as he organized activist cells and lobbied sympathizers, he signed up for everything that might get him out of the EU working class slums — visas to Scandinavia, a place in a kibbutz, even the Utopia Project. But until he was actually aboard the Mohandas Ghandi, the IV in his arm, he had never really believed it would be the one.
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