A short story that may become more.
He hadn’t been planetside in years. Not since he became an asteroid miner. The endless expanse with no apparent horizon had been disconcerting at first, but he’d gotten used to it.
Now, he was going back down. Or maybe it was up. Didn’t matter. Direction was meaningless on the Rocks.
He hadn’t even been in a solid-wall building in months. Not since his last mandatory med exam. The one that resulted in his orders to return home before end of year.
He chuckled at the thought.
Being on the Rocks felt more like home than he’d ever felt planetside. He, like the rest of the crew, slept out in the open, under transparent microdomes with air piped in. It made it easier to stay acclimated to the visual of the expanse. The thought of being back planetside, having to sleep in a building, freaked him out a bit.
He shook it off.
He didn’t have a choice. If he stayed, his bones would start to crack and his muscles would start to atrophy. He’d need three years of gene therapy if he wanted to come back to the Rocks, and that was expensive.
It took six months of compression therapy just to prep him for the return trip and living in atmosphere again. It had been decades since the belt had been colonized and they still couldn’t make it happen any faster. He didn’t mind. It gave him time to prepare.
He’d spent a decade on the Rocks, earned enough to buy a house, maybe get married, have a kid. Two even. If the Federal Bureau of Fertility approved. He hoped they’d approve. Getting approved for more than one offspring would make him a more desirable match.
The house was both bigger and smaller than he’d imagine it would be. He knew it was because his spatial perception was slowly adjusting to being planetside, but it was still unsettling.
That feeling didn’t last long. It quickly shifted to the joy of having his own house. Two bedrooms — he’d only been approved for a single offspring, which had limited the matches at the Registry.
But a match had been made, the documents had been certified, and his new bride would be coming to his home soon.
He hoped she liked him. The Registry had deemed them a near perfect match in both personality and genetics, so it didn’t really matter if they didn’t like each other. They, like everyone, were obligated to reproduce according to the FBF Registry ordinances.
Failure to do so was unthinkable.