Addergoole
Rix's Guest Story
Planning Ahead



some time in the first quarter of Year Six


“Hi ya, Penny,” the ebullient Kath plonked herself down on the couch in their common living area beside her pod mate. “Watcha doing?”

“Making a list.” The girl with the dark blue eyes tapped her newly iridescent fingernails on her note book. “A list I hope is going to help me through my graduation requirements as soon as possible.”

“Oh,” said Kath wisely, “The baby thing.”

“Yes, the baby thing,” agreed Penny.

“Well, if you’d gone off with any of those guys at the first dance,” giggled Kath, “You could be like me and already working on half of it.”

“True,” Penny agreed, “But at the time I thought it was the alcohol talking, the boys at home were never that interested in me. Now I think some of them were just...desperate. Look at this list.” She shoved it in front of her friend. “Half of them are on it.”

“What’s it a list of?” asked Kath.

“Third Cohort blokes who don’t have two kids yet. The ones with asterisks are Kept or Keepers, the ones with dashes are dating girls and the ones with circles are dating guys. I figure the circles and the blanks are my best chances for negotiating an arrangement that gets us something we both need and doesn’t get me Kept.” Kath sneaked a look at her friend’s profile, which looked calm but determined. Aside from the iridescent finger and toe nails, the only visible signs of her Change were that Penny looked, well, more Penny than she had before.

“So what are these other notations besides their names?” Kath asked, “Their Words?”

“Yep. As much as I can find out.” Penny nodded, “I figure words are likely to be inheritable, like being good at maths or mechanics. According to Mark, Jamian, Kailani and Elfred starting off last year was much worse for the Fifth Cohort than it is for us Sixth Cohort. I figure that the nastiness is likely to go in cycles. So if it’s bad when our kids get here, I want the sh’Penstemon to be some of the toughest little sods walking these halls.”

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