GENRE: YA Science Fiction
When Mom raises her voice that crucial octave—the one that gets the hair on the back of my neck standing at attention—I sometimes wish we left her behind like she wanted. It would probably make things simpler. But not necessarily better.
I crouch over the control panel, my back to my parents, and pray the nanobots will hurry up and neutralize the sooty soil. We can’t lose another crop. Not this late in the growing season.
“I didn’t move halfway across the country to live underground.” Mom always says that, and today’s no different.
Dad just grunts. He probably doesn’t even look up, too busy repairing the flame-resistant webbing we suspend over our five acres of beans, barley, and broccoli. Drought tolerant varieties that are supposed to be able to stand up to the extremes here.
I retreat to the next row, out of the strike zone for now. I refuse to get drawn into their fight. This time, they can take their own damn sides. The sunlight beats down, igniting sweat between my shoulder blades under my thermosuit—superior fire protection, but the plasticky material doesn’t breathe.
I risk a glance at my parents. Mom’s pushed off her helmet, wispy hair plastered to her dirt-streaked forehead, her inked eyebrows drawn down over green eyes. She swings her arm, gesturing to the fields with the back of her callused hand. “I hate it up here, but it’s better than the colony. Better than living like animals down there.”