Saturn Swallows Its Children Whole

On Saturn’s ring plasma knives were illegal and as such, costly. Tangerine remembered Big Slab used to wear one around his neck, but she had never seen him use it. But this was Earth, and Earth was said to be civilized, unlike those settlements on Saturn’s rings. Which meant that when these girls from Tangerine’s school brought out knives and threatened to cut her, they were plasma, not steel.

“Here’s how it lays out, Ringer,”said the tall girl, clearly the leader. Her holographic nails illuminated the delicate controls on her knife handle. “We don’t like you, and we don’t need your kind at this school. So we’re gonna do you a favor, and give you a reason to go on back to your smelly little rings.”

Tangerine’s mother had insisted on the move. She didn’t think Big Slab and the other members of The Titans were proper role-models for a young girl. Tangerine had tried to explain to her that you couldn’t be safer than the protégé of the leader of the toughest gang in the ‘rings, but her mother wouldn’t hear of it.

“Saturn swallows its children whole,” she would say, shaking her head. And that would be the end of it. “Saturn swallows its children whole.”

So instead of the warm tutelage of Big Slab, Sally Gone, Dingo and all the rest, Tangerine was in the parking lot of a convenience store of civilized Earth with five girls discussing how many pieces they were going to slice her up.

“Don’t you worry too much about it, Ringer. Tell you what, if you don’t struggle, we may even leave you that pretty face of yours.” The tall girl kept adjusting the magnetic field of her knife, making the blade longer or shorter or wider or thinner. Playing with it.

Tangerine remembered Big Slab talking about those who treat weapons as toys. She remembered what he said about how to deal with those people. For the first time since leaving Saturn’s rings, Tangerine smiled.

“I really like your nails,” Tangerine said. “All that light. They must make finding your boyfriend’s tiny penis really easy.”

The tall girl came in quickly. Tangerine dodged the strike with ease, and caught the girls wrist. In one fluid motion, she turned off the knife, and depressed one of the control dials so hard it snapped. Tangerine pushed the girl away, closed her eyes and placed her arms in front of her face.

The tall girl charged again, raising her knife high above her head, her hologramed thumb switching it back on. But fell to her knees immediately when her knife exploded in her hand, the ignited plasma expanding outward without the magnetic field Tangerine had broken. The rest of the girl-gang temporarily blinded, Tangerine wasted no time hauling the tall girl up by her hair.

“I’m a daughter of Saturn,” Tangerine whispered in the tall girl’s ear. “I think you know what that means, now.” Tangerine let go of the tall girl’s hair, and watched as she crumpled on the asphalt.

Tangerine adjusted her school uniform, and calmly walked out of the parking lot, back into civilized Earth

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