Harun did not think she was being unreasonable. The passenger obviously felt she was, but what did she know? Nothing, Harun concluded. Nothing that was worth anything anywhere but planet-side.

“Look,” Harun said. “You cannot take this much luggage. There is not much space on the ship, and that isn’t going to change any on the station. You cannot bring all of this.” Harun gave the variety of suitcases and valises spread out on the shiny plastic customs table a disdainful wave. Harun had already emptied them all, and was slightly disgusted at the auspicious wealth of the contents. Metal eating utensils, glass picture frames, paper books.

The waste was rampant.

“I’m not leaving my things behind,” the passenger said. She had a slight accent and a queer way of motioning with her chin to make a point. Neither of these things did anything to raise Harun’s opinion of her.

“Then you’re staying,” Harun said, folding her arms across her polyester uniform.

The passenger scanned the items on the table, fingering a few of them. She let out a diminutive sigh, and seemed to grow smaller in the hard plastic chair. “What can I take?” she asked.

Harun gathered up most of the passenger’s clothes, a business-like scowl concealing her delight and wonder at the softness of the some of them. Not all of the clothes fit into the passenger’s smallest bag, so Harun left out some of the more delicate articles.

“This,” she said, holding up the bag. “This is all you can take. The rest will have to be recycled. Things like this, though, I don’t know what we’re going to do with.” Harun picked up a doll from the table. Its painted face was done up in a coy pout, and its body was garbed in an elegant kimono. Harun was slightly repulsed by it, a feeling that intensified when it occurred to her that the doll wasn’t clothed in polysatin, but real silk. “The clothes we can recycle, possibly. But the body….the body is made of clay—”

“Porcelain,” the passenger and her chin interjected. “Suki is made of porcelain.”

“It’s clay,” Harun said. “This isn’t even furnace kindling.” She was about to toss it back on the table in disgust, but the passenger yanked it out of her hands. Harun held back an unprofessional smirk as the passenger cradled the doll like a baby.

“Then let me take her,” the passenger said. “Please, let me take her. You said yourself, she’s of no use here. Let me take her.”

Harun hung her head. The people never understood. It was like talking to children. “It’s not just a matter of use. It’s also a matter of space. That thing is clay and silk and paint. It will be of no use to you on the ship, no use to you on the station, and I can guarantee you will not make it to the colonies with it, because it’s going to take up space you need for important things. And as you can see, there’s no room in your bag.”

The passenger looked at the doll she was cradling, then at what Harun had designated as her only luggage. Setting the doll down and giving the lacquered head a reassuring pat, the passenger turned her attention to the small bag. She removed a wool jacket from the bag, rubbed the soft material up against her face, and then carefully placed the doll inside the bag. She raised her head to meet Harun’s eyes.

“Now,” she said. “I am ready to go.”

“You’re making a mistake,” Harun said. “That jacket’s made of fine wool—”

“And Suki is made of fine clay,” the passenger said.

Harun watched the passenger take her small bag toward the loading port. She started at the elements of the passenger’s luggage. The overhead light glinted off the metal and glass in a way that was not entirely replicated by the plastic table underneath.

“Wait,” Harun said. The passenger turned. “Wear the jacket. Wear it as you board. It’ll be hot, but you can take it off as soon as they seal the doors.”

The passenger’s tight, pale face brightened. “Thank you,” she said.

“Skin and bones thing like you, going into space,” Harun said. “You’re going to need all the help you can get, with what you’re made of.”