Story Published–“Beatitude” in Residential Aliens

A couple of years ago, while reviewing Leaps of Faith, an anthology of short Christian spec-fic edited by Robert and Karina Fabian, I discovered a short story by the Fabians titled, oddly enough, “Leap of Faith,” concerning a community of Catholic nuns providing search and rescue services to spacefarers in the Asteroid Belt: The Sisters of Our Lady of the Rescue.

Nuns in space? Okay, they had my attention. What really struck me, though, was the Fabians’ portrayal of the Sisters. These were dynamic, courageous young women doing a complex, dangerous, selfless job a long, long way from home–and their faith in God permeated their work.

I only had one problem. There weren’t enough stories! So, with Robert and Karina’s gracious permission, I wrote a couple of my own. The first, “Of All Things, Seen and Unseen,” was published in Residential Aliens online magazine in 2009, and told the story of Sister Claudia, who survives a terrifying mishap that forces her to reevaluate her calling–and shows her that God has a plan for her life beyond anything she could imagine.

Now, another Sister, Monica, re-lives a tragedy from her past that threatens to destroy her, as the Rescue Sisters return to Residential Aliens in “Beatitude.”

 “How many rescues have you done?”

She shrugged. “I stopped counting after a hundred. The miners and cargo pilots are living on the ragged edge of safety out here, and things go wrong. A lot. They need us, and it helps them, knowing we’re always nearby, watching over them.”

“Mmm-hm, you Rescue Sisters are practically legends back home. Still, doesn’t it seem a little prideful to think you’re the only ones capable of doing this job?”

“It’s not pride if it’s true. Nobody knows this space and the people we serve like we do. To think you can just waltz in here and take over is…naive.”

“Every member of our team is a SAR expert with experience under fire. We can do anything you can do. Maybe better.”

That tore it. “How can you do better? Because you’re men? Because you’re corporate soldiers? Because you practice the right religion?”

Ty stood up. “I told you, it’s nothing personal. I like you, Sister Monica, and I respect what you and the other Rescue Sisters have done, but I’m going to give everything I’ve got to help my team win this contract…and I’m very, very good at what I do.”

He paused, staring down into his tray, knuckles white against the dull grey aluminum.

“And another thing. Nobody came out of the war clean, but I’m proud of the work I did for Auradyne. I’m going to use that experience to save all the people I can.”

He turned on his heel and took his tray to the recycler.

Every eye in the cafeteria was on Monica, but she was oblivious to the gasps and stares. A single word was caroming around inside her skull.

Auradyne.

Dear God, no. He’s one of them.

Read the whole thing at Residential Aliens

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10 thoughts on “Story Published–“Beatitude” in Residential Aliens

    1. Hi, Jane!

      Karina is about to submit her manuscript for a full-length Rescue Sisters novel, Discovery, to Ignatius Press. I’ve read it, and it’s staggeringly good. My stories are the Happy Meal. Hers is the steak dinner with all the trimmings.

      We’ve discussed the possibility of a Rescue Sisters anthology collaboration, which I hope will happen soon.

    1. Wow, I hadn’t thought of actually making one, but it’s a cool idea and wouldn’t be difficult. I’ll have to start looking for someone with jewelry-making skills.

      The necklace came up when I was writing Of All Things, Seen and Unseen and was trying to create some iconography for the Sisters, something I hadn’t yet seen in Karina’s stories. The grapnel seemed like a perfect way to meld an image of the Holy Trinity with the Sisters’ work.

  1. This is awesome.
    I love spec fiction.
    Where else can you put capable, Christian women in the Asteroid belt taking on the big guys!

  2. Thanks, Kaye!

    It’s the Final Frontier, after all. 🙂 In a low-gee environment, particularly for tasks requiring excellent balance and spacial perception, I’d expect women would have an advantage. Only time will tell…

    1. There is more on this, and better articles than this but I’m in a hurry and have to get to work this morning.
      So anyway, here:

      http://userpages.aug.com/captbarb/astronauts.html

      I read somewhere that the guy who pushed for these women to be trained expressed concern with the military’s obsession with brute strength in space when compact strength coupled with the agility of a ballerina might do much better.

    2. That’s a cool article, Kaye. I never knew about this program, but I guess that’s not surprising, though it looks like prime material for a movie treatment. The Wikipedia article on the Mercury 13 includes a few interesting details–it seems that pioneer aviator Jacqueline Cochran and astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter testified before Congress arguing against continuing the testing program for female astronauts. All this happened before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned gender discrimination.

      I attended the USAF Test Pilot School in 1990, and Eileen Collins, the first female shuttle pilot, was in the class ahead of me. Amazing person, and just plain nice.

  3. Totally privileged to publish both of Fred’s stories at ResAliens.com. Thanks to the Fabians as well for creating this universe. Congrats, Fred.

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