"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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"Venus is 25 million miles, or 40 million kilometers, away from Earth," Raina recited automatically, almost before Johnny had finished asking. She'd had almost everything there was to know about the Solar System memorized since she was in elementary school, facts all the way from the Sun to Pluto - and Pluto was not a planet, thanks. Anyone who was still up in arms about what label should be stuck on charts next to Pluto was standing in the way of progress for no good reason (nostalgia, maybe?). "It's about ten times as far away as the Moon."

Venus was one of the cooler planets in her opinion, even if it wasn't as visually impressive as some of the gas giants. "We don't know what a lot of the surface looks like, since it's covered in clouds all over and it's always storming there. The atmospheric pressure is so high that the first robots sent to take pictures of its surface got crushed. We think it's got tectonic plates like Earth, though, and it rains or snows there - but it snows heavy metals, not frozen water."

Johnny might not particularly care about all her factoids concerning Venus, but then Raina didn't particularly care whether he cared or not in the first place. Sharing what knowledge she could with someone so determined to not absorb any was the least she could do.

"It rotates just like Earth, of course, but really slowly. It takes longer for Venus to rotate one full day than it does for Earth to revolve around the Sun." And wasn't that cool? Didn't it make you want to learn something - anything - about the universe, once you knew that something so different and alien was right next door? Raina couldn't fathom knowing what she knew and still being comfortable all confined in their little patch of desert.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."

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Two Breaths Walking · Memories from the Past