I’m relaunching The Weekly Fix, with a twist. For now, instead of a serial tale or a short story, I’m sharing excerpts from the stories in the forthcoming Fix the World anthology. This is a fantastic collection of twelve hopeful stories from sci-fi writers on how to fix some of the greatest problems we face as a world.
A column of white light fell from the heavens, miles long, so brilliant it hurt their eyes. The air hummed and sang with the power of it.
Gradually the intensity of the light dimmed. It parted like a liquid curtain, revealing a majestic, shining form.
The angel stepped forward and said, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.”
When none of the onlookers responded, the angel continued, “This is Intentional Community Herschel 93, yes?”
“Yeah, this is Caroline.” Hav blinked as the light of the transport bean faded. “Um, you said we?”
The still-glowing angel raised a spread hand to indicate the quintessent field of movement light wings colors shifting behind and around and through its head.
“Wow,” Hav breathed, hearing similar gasps from the half dozen comrades gathered behind him.
“Are you the leader of this community?” the angel asked.
“Oh, no, no,” Hav demurred quickly. “We’re a cooperative community. If we did have a leader it would be Edie — she’s the Community Organizer — or maybe Lu-shan, they’re the Moderator — but they both went out to the Sunwall an hour ago, so I, uh. I’m just the Decider.”
“The Sunwall? That’s where the trouble is occurring, correct?”
“Yes. It started with the solar trees, and that was bad enough, but then the Wall started acting wonky and that’s when we called you. I mean, the Heavens. Not you personally, of course, ah…?”
“Agent Svarga,” the angel supplied. “And this is lawasawal.”
Hav’s eyes flicked up to the parhelion, which shifted and shone a little more vigorously, as if in acknowledgement. Hav looked down, partly in awe, partly from vertigo. That meant he was staring into the brilliant gold eyes of the angel — agent, don’t call him an angel, maybe that’s impolite — who was a head taller than Hav and sculpted and shining and beautiful in the way a marble statue is beautiful. They had one in the vineyard. Dionysus.
He was staring at the agent’s face. Rudely. He glanced aside and noticed that Svarga’s hair seemed to flow away from his face and blur into the moving forms of the parhelion.
“About the Sunwall…” Svarga prompted.
“Oh, yes, of course!” Hav waved at Maize, who approached shyly. She was twenty-seven, too young to have ever spoken with a Celestial. Hav, at forty, had been eight the last time someone from the Heavens had come down to their community. He shuddered, remembering those terrifying weeks, but pushed the reaction aside to introduce Maize.
“Maize is a solarbotanist. She’ll be better able to explain. I’m a potter,” he added apologetically.
“I… Yes, but I’m not really an expert,” Maize said. “If I was, I’d be out at the wall with Edie.”
“But you’re a plant scientist.” Hav patted her shoulder. “And it started with the trees. You can fill Agent Svarga in on any details he needs while we make our way to the wall.”
“Right now?” Maize clutched her databook to her chest. “I need to tell Usha first.”
“Oh, sure, there’s time. We should let the Ang- Agent rest and… do you want something to eat, Agent?” Hav asked, leading them into town as Maize hurried away to inform her colleague of the schedule change.