‘Verse: Blackguards and Plaster Saints
Length/Rating: 272 words, PG, Gen
Summary: When the ship left, four Advisors remained behind.
For the first week they were awake, the ship’s inhabitants simply let them wander. Karen spent most of her time on the observation decks, watching the blur of stars sail by. Of course they weren’t all blurs, in fact most of them were still stationary, too far off to be affected. A few of the closer ones did shift position, marching stately from one side of the window to the other.
She wasn’t always alone, most of the time at least one of the other volunteers was curled in a couch watching the same stellar processions. There were aliens too, although the ship’s crew seemed to be giving them room. The language classes hadn’t started up yet, so there was only the barest of communications. Hand gestures that had obvious meanings and the exchanges of names and other untranslatable pleasantries.
And slowly the impact of what she’d done, what they’d all done, seeped in with the starlight. She would never see Earth again, never talk to anyone she’d left behind. Cut off from her prior existence as cleanly as if she’d died.
They take to calling it Second Life, because they aren’t sure how else to refer to the gap. Some of the volunteers refuse to talk of Earth at all, as if somehow denying it’s existence will erase the homesickness they all feel.
After a week they start classes, and after a year they start waking up the other volunteers. Someone calls those first awake angels, and it sticks. They aren’t quite human, but not quite alien either. A buffered transition from what they’d known into what they were to become.