Mothers by CM Simpson
An alien ship, two lost daughters, and one grandmother on a quest. When Talie sneaks aboard an alien ship to rescue her daughter, she has no idea she’s walking into the middle of a pending diplomatic incident. With a world at stake, can one old woman even hope make a difference?
I didn’t mean to write a story about mothers. I didn’t even intend to use the word, let alone poke every facet I could find. I wanted to explore the idea that older folk had histories and skills. And while I did that, I explored the idea that mothers had mothers, too—and that mothers were at their most dangerous and dedicated when it came to looking after their young, whether or not they were born to them or adopted, and no matter how old they were. This story has aliens, space pirates, and rebellious heroes, as well as politics and high stakes gambles—and I had an absolute blast writing it.
Talie watched the alien ship spin, a huge disk, looking continents wide, and she felt her heart sink. Somewhere, in that monstrosity, her little girl was hiding. Her little girl, who wouldn’t be anywhere near as afraid as she should be, and nowhere near as cautious as Talie would like. Her little girl, who would be quick to remind her that thirty-two wasn’t little, and that she had a child of her own—a bonafide ship-talker who had listened to her grandmother far too much, and, at ten, stowed away on an enemy troop carrier so she could make a difference where it mattered.
Dammit! Talie thought. It is all my fault.
It was her fault, too that the child’s mother had gone after her. It’s what mothers did—and now there were two little girls who needed rescuing.
Which was why Talie was here—because mothers had mothers, too.
“Take me in,” she said, although there was no need to say where.
The ship could feel her will; it knew where she wanted to go. Her words were just a trigger. Sasha wasn’t the only one who could talk to starships. Her mother, Anlin, could speak to them, too. They’d both inherited their gift from their parents and grandparents, and the men and women before them. There had always been ship-talkers in the family, ship-singers, too, although they were very rare.
“Take it quiet,” Talie said. “Ghost it in.”
For a second, power hummed to the weapons systems, and then the ship heard ‘in’, and read her intent anew. Talie breathed a sigh of relief as the weapons powered down, reminding herself to choose her words more carefully, kicking herself because she’d used the phrase ‘Ghost it’ too many times as a signal to kill—and ‘take it’ as a signal to attack.
At least the ship knew ‘quiet’ meant sneaky.
It was as much as a ship ‘knew’ anything. They weren’t sentient in the way dragons were; they just heard the intent and obeyed… mostly. Talie eyed the mother ship and scowled. Something that big? That was probably as sentient as anything that had gone before it—or it would be, if Sasha woke it up.
And now Talie regretted telling her granddaughter stories of the Capra conflict… or sharing her experiences in the Battle for Diomedes—the same stories she’d told her daughter, and her sons, and anyone who’d asked for them. She’d lost too many people in both wars for them to be forgotten.
Another war had come, this one flying in on a ship they’d recognized from Capra. The all hail had said the aliens wanted to talk, but the first contact had been a disaster. Someone on the human side had held a grudge.
Mothers by CM Simpson is in the Science Fiction/Space Opera anthology The Expanding Universe Vol 4, edited by Craig Martelle.
CM Simpson grew up roaming around the top end of Australia, and didn’t really stop in more than one place for longer than four years, until after she’d left home. She grew up writing stories, sketching, and reading the likes of Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Douglas Hill, Nicholas Fisk, John Wyndam, Harry Harrison and John Christopher, and went on to discover authors like David Weber, Mike Shepherd, Elizabeth Moon, Alan Dean Foster, John Scalzi and Lois McMaster Bujold. More recently, she discovered the likes of Ann Aguirre, Michael Anderle, Scott Moon, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Craig Martelle, and enjoyed their works immensely. All of these authors have influenced the way she looks at the world, and strengthened her love for creating worlds of her own, and they all have her undying thanks for their stories and influence. If you’ve enjoyed her work, you might enjoy something of theirs.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/C.M.-Simpson/e/B0086QFGFO/