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Popular Features. New Releases. A hundred years before Ender's Game, humanity is slowly making its way out to the planets of the solar system, exploring and mining asteroids. When the ship's telescopes pick up a fast-moving object coming in-system, they're unsure what to make of it.
Little do they know that this object is the most important thing to happen to the human race in a million years. It's humanity's first contact with an alien race. The First Formic War is about to begin.
Book one of the First Formic War - a thrilling space adventure series set in the world of bestselling science fiction classic Ender's Game show more. Other books in this series. Earth Awakens Orson Scott Card. Add to basket. Earth Afire Orson Scott Card. Victor's own invention, an HVAC booster that could increase the central heating temperature on the Italians' ships by as much as eleven degrees, had been an immediate hit with the Italians. The Italians had been so smitten with Victor's booster, in fact, that it had brought in more trade goods and prestige than anything else the family had offered.
The captain's office was a small space adjacent to the helm. She was in her early seventies, but she had the energy and command of someone half her age. We debated whether it was wise to even tell you beforehand and allow you two to say good-bye to each other, thinking perhaps that it might be easier for you to find out afterward.
But I don't think I could ever forgive myself for that, and I doubt you'd forgive me either. They were close. He would obviously be devastated by her departure. But a half second later he understood what was really happening. Janda was sixteen, two years too young to marry. The Italians couldn't be zogging her. The family was sending her away. And the captain of the ship was telling Victor in private mere minutes before it happened. They were accusing him. They were sending her off because of him. We would never be able to trade with the other families if we suddenly developed a reputation for dogging.
Dogging, from "endogamy": marrying inside the clan, inbreeding. The word was like a slap.
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But I would never in a million years marry Alejandra. How could you even suggest that we would do such a thing? I've watched you. We've all watched you. In large gatherings, you always seek each other out.
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You talk to each other constantly. Sometimes you don't even need to talk. It's as if you know precisely what the other is thinking and you need share only a passing glance between you to communicate it all. I know of several dozen such friendships on this ship. And they are all between a husband and his wife. When we don't. Not much of a relief. The Council consisted of all the adults over forty. This was a difficult decision for all of us, Victor. But it was unanimous.
Victor pictured the scene: All of the adults gathered together, aunts and uncles and grandparents, people he knew and loved and respected, people whose opinion he valued, people who had always looked upon him fondly and whose respect he had always hoped to maintain. All of them had sat together and discussed him and Janda, discussed a sex life that Victor didn't even have! It was revolting. And Mother and Father had been there. How embarrassing for them.
How could Victor ever face these people again?
Earth Unaware (First Formic War Series #1)
They would never be able to look at him without thinking of that meeting, without remembering the accusation and shame. But that's why we're acting now, before your feelings further blossom and you realize you're in love. No, unfair would be a better word. Completely unfair and unfounded. Not to mention humiliating. They were sending away his closest friend, perhaps his only true friend, all because they thought something would happen between them?
As if he and Janda were animals in heat driven by unbridled carnal impulses. Was it too much to imagine that a teenage boy and a teenage girl could simply be friends? Did adults think so little of adolescents that they assumed that any relationship between sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds of the opposite sex had to be motivated by sex?
It was infuriating and insulting. Here he was making an adult-sized contribution in the trade with the Italians, bringing in the largest share of income for the family, and they didn't think him mature enough to act properly with his second cousin. Janda wasn't in love with him, and he wasn't in love with her. Why would anyone think otherwise? What had initiated this? Had someone on the Council seen something between them and misinterpreted it as a sign of love?
And then Victor remembered. There was that time when Janda had looked at him strangely, and he had dismissed it as pure imagination. And she had touched his arm a little longer than normal once.
It wasn't sexual at all, but he had liked the physical contact between them. That connection hadn't repulsed him. He had enjoyed it. He hadn't seen it, and they had. He really was on the brink of falling in love with Janda. And she had fallen in love with him, or at least her feelings were moving in that direction. Everything swelled up inside him at once: anger at being accused; shame at learning that all the older adults on the ship had talked about him behind his back, believing he was moving toward disgraceful behavior; disgust with himself at realizing that perhaps they may have been right; grief at losing the person who meant the most to him in his life.
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Why couldn't she and the Council have said, "Victor, you really need to watch yourself. It looks like you and Alejandra are getting a little close. Didn't they know that he and Janda were mature enough to act appropriately once the family's fears were voiced? Of course they would comply. Of course he and Janda wanted to adhere to the exogamous code.
Victor would never want to do anything to dishonor her or the family. He and Janda hadn't even realized that their relationship might be headed toward perilous waters. Now that they knew, things would be different. But arguing would only make him look like a child. And besides, he would be arguing to keep Janda here, close to him.
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Wasn't that proof that the family was right? No, Alejandra had to go. It was cruel, yes, but not as cruel as keeping her here in front of him every day. That would be torture.
Now that their love — or pre-love or whatever it was — had been so flagrantly pointed out to them, how could he and Janda think of anything else whenever they saw each other? And they would see each other. All the time, every day. At meals, passing in the hall, at exercise. It would be unavoidable.
And out of their duty to honor one another and the family, they would become distant and cold to each another. They would overcompensate. They would refrain from any look, any conversation, any touch between them. Yet even as they tried in vain to avoid each other, they would be thinking about the need to avoid each other. They would consume each other's thoughts, even more so than before. It would be dreadful.