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This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), has just signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child.



Brenton was in no rush to live with her, and Rekka felt relieved and a little hurt by that fact. But it was, after all, she reminded herself as he offered cordial goodbyes and left the room, business.  Just business.

He’d promised her a healthy child, who would be cared for their whole life, and given all the opportunities the company could offer. He’d promised her a roof over her head for as long as she lived, and connections that would help her career. And that part, he’d already delivered on. She’d had a few job offers, but as soon she’d agreed to sign the contract, several far more lucrative job offers had come in.

Someone from outside the companies, unaffiliated as she had been, didn’t have nearly the advantages. And since she’d had to spend hours and years learning control of her ability, she might as well reap a reward from it, too.

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

34 responses »

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    There’s bound to be emotional fallout from this contract.

  2. I agree with Ed. They are people with hearts, I assume. So well written and what a concept. Write on, Caitlin.

  3. julieevelynjoyce says:

    I always love your unique story ideas, and this one is no exception. I agree with both Ed and Charmaine, and I can’t wait to see how you deal with the ’emotional fallout,’ as Ed said. Great job so far! 🙂

  4. Kim Magennis says:

    What I like about your premise, Caitlin, is that it is not far from what happens in the Corporate Wife Arena (in First World South Africa). She provides him with progeny, and he and their children become her profession. There is financial compensation, and terms and conditions apply. I am looking forward to finding out what her ‘thing’ is!

    • In this case, she isn’t going to become a professional mother, only take time off–and the company wouldn’t mind if she made contracts with a few different men. Which I’m guessing would have scandalized the corporate wives! 🙂

  5. Well she can tell herself all that now but once there’s an actual child….all bets are off, I’m guessing. Fascinating snippet!

  6. This sounds like an interesting arrangement. I have the feeling that, in spite of going in with eyes wide open, things won’t go quite as planned.

  7. I don’t know that I could live there.

  8. Fascinating. Dang! What great world-building! The Handmaid’s Tale with rights. Nice!

  9. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    I have a feeling she will regret this business contact, as it involves situations that are usually a lot more personal, where many more emotions are involved. Definitely intriguing. 🙂

  10. Diane Burton says:

    Great premise. I think she doesn’t realize what she’s agreed to. Wait until the emotions kick in.

  11. It was all a matter of survival I expect, but goodness it’s a dry type of life.

    • This is no way prevents her from falling in love or marrying–the colony has developed a less structured approach to parenthood, with people often having one or two children and then marrying someone else.

  12. Something tells me it’s not going to be just business as usual…

  13. Lots of details and promises, but I’m willing to bet it’s all going to collapse very soon. 😉

  14. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    She has everything all planned out as if this could really be just a business transaction, but she hasn’t taken into account the emotions that will be there once she’s living those plans. I’m curious to see how this will all pan out.

  15. Alexis Duran says:

    Sounds like she’s trying to convince herself she did the right thing. Nice insight into her internal logic, with the doubt seeping out sideways.

  16. Andrea R Huelsenbeck says:

    Interesting world.

  17. kellyfbarr says:

    Hey Caitlin,
    I didn’t know you are a fellow writer. Your story sounds fascinating and it sounds like you have a good grip on it and are doing an excellent job!

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