“It’s not fair! He gets two birthdays and I only get one!” Branli whined, counting the candles on his little brother’s cake.
“Well, Branli, although that’s true, you’ll notice that his presents are smaller than the ones you got on your last birthday. We always make sure it all evens out over time.” Cheryl explained patiently. She and her husband had been over the math with all three kids several times, but there were always complaints.
“I’m older than you now!” declared Gawain, also counting the candles.
Cheryl took a deep breath, and explained again. “Since we live on-board a Starship, your father and I decided to celebrate all the family’s birthdays according to what day it currently is on the planet where you were born. Branli, you were born on Traxis, where the year is just a little longer than the Galactic standard. Gawain was born on Ridelph, whose year is significantly shorter. That’s why his birthday comes around more frequently than yours does.”
“Ashley gets a birthday and a ‘doption day,” said Branli, shooting daggers at his baby sister with his eyes.
Fortunately, Cherly’s husband Randal chose that moment to sweep in. “Yes, she does, but she celebrates both on a galactic standard, since she was born and adopted on-board. She doesn’t have a home planet.” Cheryl was all too happy to let him field the same old questions.
“Whadaya mean my presents are smaller than Branli’s?” Gawain demanded.
“Exactly what your mother said. We make sure everything evens out in the long run. Now blow out your candles.”
Suddenly Cheryl panicked. Randal was taking out some kind of ignition device and actually applying real flame to the candles. “Noooo…!” she yelled too late, as the detector from the wall discovered the open flame and swept in to immediately snuff it out. Fortunately, it decided that plain water would be sufficient for the nature of that particular emergency. Mere seconds later, the cake and everything around it was soaked.
Gawain began to wail. Ashley, frightened by the sudden intervention wailed along with him. Branli, to his credit, forgot all about his jealousy and tried to console his little brother. Randal scooped up Ashley and swayed with her, telling her everything would be all right. The unborn baby in Cheryl’s uterus, not wanting to be left out, did a little twist and bump.
“Well then. I suppose you’re going to get your birthday surprise a little early,” Cheryl announced loudly. All three kids stopped crying immediately, regarding her with wide eyes. “Guess who got shore leave?”
There was a moment of stunned silence, then both boys erupted into excited chatter. Ashley, too small to know what was going on, watched her big brothers’ enthusiasm and started laughing. “Go go go!”
Randal swept the kids off to find appropriate clothing for planet-side, and Cheryl started to clean up the mess that used to be a birthday cake. The baby gave another little kick, followed by a familiar cramping sensation. She did a little math in her head.
“Early yet. Probably Braxton-Hicks,” she muttered to herself. “Then again… I wonder how long the year is on this planet?”
This story is unrelated to any others I’ve done. It was inspired by today’s SciFi Question of the Day about birthdays in space and on new planets. I had always figured that, like Gwen says in the post, there would be an easy ap that would instantly tell you what day your birthday would be on any planet you wanted, as in, it calculates exactly where each planet was in its orbit at the moment you were born, and lets you know when that yearly event would come around again for each planet. I was surprised at how many different answers my friends came up with!
The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-pr
This week, I have a couple of important extras! Last week, my first story was published in an anthology called Precipice. It’s available in both print and e-formats. Also, I have a short story entered in the America’s Next Author contest. You can read and download that story for free on the website. I’d appreciate your vote (just takes a click on the site, no log in) and if you’re feeling very generous, please leave a review! (requires a log-in with basic info)