A closed and common orbi.., p.34
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       A Closed and Common Orbit, p.34

           Becky Chambers

  Owl watched Pepper, who in turn watched Sidra. ‘Hey,’ Pepper said quietly. ‘Set that aside for a sec.’

  Sidra poured a heaping spoonful of mek powder into the brewer, then leaned on the bar toward Pepper. ‘What’s up?’

  ‘How are you feeling about all this?’ Pepper said.

  ‘Nervous,’ Sidra said, rocking her core body’s head back and forth. ‘Excited. Those two keep chasing each other around.’

  Pepper smiled. ‘I get that.’

  ‘I just . . . I really want people to like this place.’

  ‘I’m sure they will,’ Pepper said. ‘I mean, I want to hang out here, and I’ve been fixing it up for tendays.’ They both laughed. Pepper tapped a finger on the counter in thought. ‘Do you like this place? Do you feel good about it?’

  Owl could feel Sidra process the question seriously. Her core body looked around. The petbots looked around. Owl touched the node, and asked for permission to share what Sidra saw. Sidra welcomed her in.

  Pepper. Tak. Blue. Shelves filled with bottles containing dozens of different tastes. Corners filled with cushions and cosy tables. Good walls. Bright windows. A space for people, where no two days would be alike. A space for a family, where no one could interfere.

  ‘Yes,’ Sidra said, her pathways echoing the same. ‘Yes, I like it here.’

  Pepper’s expression changed, and this face, Owl hadn’t seen before. ‘I’m proud of you,’ Pepper said.

  Owl sent a hurried message through the node. Sidra left the back of the bar and went to Pepper’s side. With a warm look, she wrapped her arms around Pepper, hugging her close.

  ‘That’s from me,’ Owl said. ‘I’m proud of you, too.’


  I wrote this book over the course of a rather challenging year, and I never could have finished it were it not for the cadre of people that kept me going. In no particular order, I offer the hugest of thanks to: Anne Perry, my matchless, one-in-a-million editor; the entire team at Hodder & Stoughton for all their tireless work; everybody at my former day job, for being so supportive of me doing this in the first place; every wonderful stranger who wrote emails or found other ways to buoy me along; all the incredible booksellers and bloggers, who are the main reason anybody is reading any of this at all; my long-suffering friends, with extra loud shout-outs to Greg, Susana, and Zoe; Mom, Dad, and Matt for their love; and Berglaug, the best part of every day.


  The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet


  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  A CLOSED AND COMMON ORBIT. Copyright © 2016 by Becky Chambers. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

  Harper Voyager and design are trademarks of HarperCollins Publishers LLC.

  Originally published in Great Britain in 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton, a Hachette UK company.


  Digital Edition OCTOBER 2016 ISBN: 978-0-062569424

  Print ISBN: 978-0-062569400



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  Becky Chambers, A Closed and Common Orbit



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