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Aberrant: Infinite Earth - Fiction - Unlovely [Complete]


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My first thought after my eruption was, Thank god!

My second thought was, I wonder if I’m beautiful now?

Yeah… I know. Awful, huh?

My name is Lorelai Yevtushenko and I’m a soldier in the Aberrant War. I’ve been fighting with the Greens for more than four years now and my own country calls me a terrorist, a war-criminal and a traitor because of it. I'm not happy about that, but it's like the words from that old PNC* song, We Are Winning - I forget the name of the group who sang it - where the guy's talking about the patriot with the picket sign: "She's ashamed of her birthplace, but retreat is not an option". That pretty much sums it up for me, I think.

My older brother – who was a nova – died almost five years ago now, fighting for his right to be called a human being and not an aberrant threat. He wouldn't back down either. I only became a nova – an aberrant – a little over six months ago.

Since my eruption, people are always telling me how beautiful I am. In fact, what they usually say is that I’m the most beautiful woman in human space. I wouldn’t know, really. Here’s what I know: I’m 25 years old and I haven’t had a boyfriend since I was 17 and Jared McNeil dumped me so he could take Cindy Galloway to the high school prom.

In explanation for my first thought upon erupting, I can only point out that me becoming a nova meant that my immediate and painful death was no longer a foregone conclusion. Instead, it had just become ‘the most likely outcome’. In a war, though, I’ve found that you have to take what you can get, because it’s not very likely that anything better is going to come along, you know? But since I’m not dead, I guess something better did come along.

As for that second thought, I have no explanations or excuses. I guess I really am that shallow and selfish.

In my more optimistic moments, I see it as evidence that I’m just as flawed (and therefore human) as the next girl. That’s an important belief for a nova to have in this day and age, when most of the world thinks they can sum your whole existence up with the words ‘aberrant threat’. Or ‘menace’. Sometimes, for variety, they say ‘menace’ instead of ‘threat’.

In the middle of the night, though, when I’m lying in that reinforced titanium-steel bunk the gearheads* made special just for me, unable to sleep, with images of that day running through my head with the Repeat setting turned very emphatically on – at those times I don’t feel so great about myself. Okay, so yeah, I turned into a nova and then I saved the day. There’re people still alive because of me. And that’s good! It really is.

But I didn’t erupt because I wanted to save anyone; I erupted because I was scared and I was hurt and I really, really, really didn’t want to die. And even then, before getting up to go ‘save the day’, I still took a second or two to stop and wonder if maybe now Jared McNeil might regret not taking me to the prom instead of that skank Cindy. Or if any of the boys in the 4th would notice me for something other than my talent with a scope and a rifle.

My name is Lorelai Yevtushenko. I’m only 25 years old and I’m a nova and people tell me regularly that I’m the most beautiful woman they’ve ever seen...

I’m only 25 years old and I’m a nova, but the only man other than my father or my brother who’s ever held me tightly in his arms was dying from shrapnel wounds and thought I was his mother. People tell me regularly that I’m the most beautiful woman they’ve ever seen, but no one’s ever fallen in love with me. I’ve shot and killed at least seventeen men, but I’ve never slept with even one. And if you tell anyone else I’m still a virgin, I’ll show you why they say I’m one of the strongest novas on the planet too!

When I erupted, my body’s density increased something like 800%. That's the main reason I’m so strong and difficult to hurt, but such a huge change didn’t come without consequences. With so much mass packed into such a small space, my normal body temperature shot up twenty degrees, from 98.6 F to 118.6 F. That's not hot enough to burn anyone, but it’s hot enough that touching my skin for more than a few seconds is painful for most people, particularly baselines.

“Too hot to touch”, is that what you were going to say? No, it’s fine. I’ve heard it a hundred times before.

It does have one advantage, though: when I cry, my tears are so hot they evaporate almost immediately. So long as I keep the tears to a minimum no one can even tell. So I guess that's a plus.

The second thing I thought after I erupted was, I wonder if I’m beautiful now? According to just about everyone I’ve met since, the answer to that question is ‘yes’.

All I know is, I don’t feel beautiful...

All I know is, I'm ashamed of myself, but it's like the song says, "retreat is not an option".

Click to reveal..
PNC: Pre-Nova Content. The only kind of media that can be legally broadcast in the US, other than news or propaganda.

Gearhead: Nickname for the Engineers; a sub-division of the Infantry Branch of the Greens.

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