Luca sat alone on the sprawling bridge of the Lillehammer Forge, watching extra large snowflakes drift down onto the mining complex below. It hadn’t snowed on Alcyone III in sixty years. It seemed fitting; nothing made sense anymore.
The hatch hissed open and in walked Brantley carrying a giant fresh orange—it was the size of a cantaloupe. He plopped down, leaving an empty seat between himself and Luca, and produced a small knife. He carefully sliced into one end of the orange and began spinning it slowly in his hand, cutting the peel into a spiral.
“You know,” said Luca, “you can print it without the peel. It would save you a little time; the printer too.”
“I like to try to get the whole peel in one long slice,” he said with a bright smile, still twirling the fruit under his knife. “You have to learn to appreciate the little things, Luca. The big things come too rarely, and still too often badly.”
Luca reclined and crossed his arms, watching the snow. He took a deep breath. “I’m thinking about letting my contract expire. Maybe settle down on Tarazed II, or New Liberty after the next circuit.”
Brantley looked up, momentarily pausing, and then continued his peeling. “Well,” he said, “that would certainly be a big thing.”
Luca chewed on his lip in the silence.
“Hah!” Brantley held up a long spiral of orange peel and grinned. “I did it!” He tossed the naked fruit into Luca’s lap. “You can have it. I don’t much care for citrus,” he said, and walked off the bridge, adding something about the Forge’s nav system being down.
Luca bit into the orange, trying unsuccessfully to imagine his life without the Lillehammer. It was a good orange, though.