continuing from Day 395.

Lo’s days are long and dimly lit. There are no windows on the slave levels of the refinery. Lo’s world ends at the bulkheads. He knows there are places and worlds beyond the metal, but he hasn’t seen them.

Every night, between dinner and bed, Lo’s father Ham tells the family’s story. In the flickering light, he draws the letters of the names of the Mothers and Fathers and some Uncles and Aunts. Lo copies the letters. He and Ham have written and spoken their family history every night for as long as Lo can remember.

Every morning, Lo’s mother Shay wakes himĀ as the artificial lights slowly brighten. They take walking sticks to the slum’s cleared commons and do calisthenics and practice self-defense. Shay is ropey and corrective; mistakes in form are punished quickly and painfully. They leave when the Camari come for prayer.

They leave for work together, with their neighbors. At the large elevators they head on their separate ways; Shay takes her maintenance team down to the compressors aft. Ham and Lo head up to the main refinery floor, where Ham fixes the machines as they break. And they always break. Lo helps his father by getting into the tiny spaces in between the gears in the large machines.

Ham recites what little he’s read of the instruction manuals for the equipment they repair through the mornings. Lo recites it all back in the afternoon.

Lo remembers it all.