“He’s not staying on the Roci for me,” Naomi said. “He’s staying for you.” “Me?” “He’s using you as his external, aftermarket conscience.” “No, he’s not.” “It’s what he does. Finds someone who has a sense of ethics and follows their lead,” Naomi said. “It’s how he tries not to be a monster.” “Why would he try not to be a monster?” The sleep-slurred words were like a blanket. “Because he is one,” Naomi said, her consciousness flickering across the line. It’s why we get along.
Adapt or die. If Amos could be said to have a philosophy, it would be that. The concrete replaces the forest. You get in its way, you get paved over. If you can find a way to live in the cracks, you can thrive anywhere. There were always cracks.
The whole thing was underground, but the massive chamber was covered floor to ceiling with ultra-high-definition video screens showing the outside view. The hills and craters of the lunar surface stretched off in all directions, but it was the blue-and-green half-circle hanging in the sky that drew the most attention. It was beautiful at this distance. The cities nothing but firefly twinkles on the dark side. Where the sun struck the Earth, almost nothing man had made was visible from the lunar orbit. The planet looked clean, unspoiled. It was a pretty lie. Seemed like a fact of the universe that the closer you got to anything, the worse it looked. Take the most beautiful person in the solar system, zoom in on them at the right magnification and they were an apocalyptic cratered landscape crawling with horrors. That’s what the Earth was. A shining jewel from space, up close a blasted landscape covered with mites living by devouring the dying. “One ticket to New York,” he said to the automated kiosk.
You can tell you’ve found a really interesting question when nobody wants you to answer it.
She could still remember that first one, back on Ceres. It had been set in the floor, of course, but she could still conjure up the feeling of pressure on her fingers when she’d told it to cycle open, still believing that it meant her own death. And even then, she hadn’t wanted to die. She’d just wanted it to be over. To be free of it all.
There’s not room for outsiders when there is no outside.