reading notes from Provenance by Ann Leckie
“No, it’s not a prison! We don’t have prisons. It’s a place. Where they can be away from regular people. They can do whatever they want, go wherever they like, you know, so long as they stay there. And they have to stay there. Once you go in you don’t come out. You’re legally dead. It’s just, it would be wrong to kill them.”
Most families on Hwae had sent one or more children out for fosterage, or were fostering children from other households, some in temporary arrangements, some in permanent adoptions.
“Do you know how to use the vesicle kit? It has instructions in it.” “Yes.” Still standing in the corridor, e opened the kit’s top edge and peered at the contents. Removed the tiny sampler and thumbed it. Snapped the sampler back into its slot. Fifteen seconds later the brown box made a click and the hard, blue strip of an identity tabula slid out. E handed the now-useless brown box back to Ingray, who stowed it in her bag.
“There’s no percentage in making copies of something that already exists. Particularly something famous that already exists. It’s too easy to get caught. No, the thing to do is to make new things that plausibly might exist. Far fewer questions that way, far less obvious. I can do you any number of Eighth Century invitation sheets, or even personal notes if you can get me linen or paper that’s the right age. Or I can do other things, but I’m best at those. But even then”—
she—he? E? It?
“Not citizen,” asserted the spider mech in a whispery, whistling voice. “Not possible.” “He paid the fee,” said the Chief Executive. “He has met all his obligations as a citizen since then, and he has broken no laws. He has not been served with even the smallest fine since that day.” “Money does not make a citizen,”
“I’m not Geck,” said Captain Uisine. “The Geck were accepted into the existing treaty largely because of their close association with humans.” He gave a small breathy laugh. “But that presents a problem. Do those closely associated humans count as humans or as Geck, under the treaty? And the Geck aren’t the only ones to have that problem. The way the treaty deals with it is incredibly weird and complicated—it was drafted by the Presger translators, after all—but in my particular case the upshot is, if I voluntarily take citizenship with a human polity, then I am human for the purposes of the treaty.” “Which means the Geck have no right to interfere with you at all, unless it somehow touches on the treaty,”
“My gills never developed. Don’t look at me like that, it’s a very big deal there. Without gills you can’t swim down. And if you can’t swim down by a certain age, you can’t stay on the planet.”
I’ve known her since I was born. Well, she was he some of the time, and a few other pronouns this language doesn’t have other times, but I’ve known that entity all my life.
“Diplomat does not mean nice,” muttered the spider mech. “Diplomat means tell the aliens to leave us alone.”
“It is not all right,” insisted the green blob. “It is not. I will tell you a thing. I will tell you. When humans first appeared, many things died. So much died, and the humans were bad to eat. Many wished to remove them, but some said, no, they are very strange and things die all around them, but they are like people in some way. And they have come here to live, how could they live outside the world? Nothing could. Imagine being outside the world, it is a terrible thing. Do we kill these strange, so very strange maybe-people for that? When we might instead help them live? And so we changed them, and now things do not die all around them, and they can live in the world.”
“There’s food here now,” said Garal. “Everything will be going on whether we eat or not. And it’s easier to think things through when you’re not hungry and thirsty.”
Among the few serious crimes the Tyr recognized, breaking a contract—even an implied one—was among the worst.
He turned to the commander. “Perceive. As my own mouth.” “In the ordinary remain,” said the commander. “The ordinary is not. The attention is, the argument is prolocutor. Doubt required and the level lowered. I theorize look elsewhere.”
“Insufficiency the days before, insufficiency this moment.”
“Time is finite, but possession condition possession.”