Sf. For Sam Kabo Ashwell. Thanks to my betas: Daedala, Yune Kyung Lee, comrade_cat, and Marissa Lingen. Published in Tor.com Aug. 10, 2011. Reprinted in Year’s Best SF 17, ed. David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, and in Aliens: Recent Encounters, ed. Alex Dally MacFarlane.
A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel
Among the universe’s civilizations, some conceive of the journey between stars as the sailing of bright ships, and others as tunneling through the crevices of night. Some look upon their far-voyaging as a migratory imperative, and name their vessels after birds or butterflies.