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More of Lena

Lena is one of my very favourite characters in A Lion in Heaven. Here is more of her.

As she worked later in the day of that conversation with Cindy—bussing, serving drinks and food, cleaning up here and there, dropping a glass in a moment of absent-mindedness to find that, as always, it bounced—she found herself thinking about Dyke.

By the time she'd met him he'd been going by the name Dylan Kelly—his father and mother's first names pried back out of the ridiculous portmanteau they'd given him. Earlier in his life, he'd told her, he'd respected them too much to change it, even after their natural enough deaths, from lung cancer in his mother's case and heart disease in his father's. They'd both been smokers, and while they'd lived long lives, both into their eighties, they'd succumbed finally to the predictable signatures of their now long obsolete vice.

It was Cindy's ludditism that had triggered this. She hardly thought about him anymore, she told herself. Ludditism? Seriously? Was that still a thing? She'd come to assume, as long as she'd been up here (and maybe this was something he had instilled in her, for better or worse), that people living on space stations understood, as they absolutely had to, the importance of technological progress and the perfection of tailored ecologies. He'd been the pioneer of that. He'd been an actual, literal pioneer, in the sense that his next step might always have been genuinely fatal, as it had been for the many, many early Olympus settlers Cindy had correctly pointed out had died in the early days.

That those people had died in droves then and that their descendants no longer did was evidence against Cindy's position, as far as Lena was concerned. When smallpox had killed millions, advancement had come, and now that dreadful sickness didn't exist anymore. It was like Cindy was harbouring a love for disease and poverty and death, like she was afraid of losing her humanity, (whatever that word really meant), to a clean, happy, prosperous life.

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