TITLE: Gone to Earth
Clouds at Play had the worst reputation of any starship that had ever been donated to the goddess -- it was alleged to be sulky, ungrateful, stubborn, obstructive, and a liar -- but Praluna wanted it. Most donated ships passed through to Mrahara, the home planet of Hanna's Faithful, but Clouds at Play was the first Praluna had ever seen held back, and the first ever to be held due to personality problems.
Praluna shot out of Highside Station in a two-seat shuttle. It was a model she knew from early in her second life, when she had been vehicles officer on a freelance starship that took contracts from Hanna's ligare -- the organization that supported the goals and philosophies of the goddess -- and sometimes from the ligares of the other two goddesses as well. No gravitic thrusters on it, just ordinary newts. It was a long way from the station to the ship, so she let herself play, revelling in the exhilaration of acceleration, the shock of a hard jink, the freedom of freefall.
Rumors had brought Clouds at Play to Praluna's attention, curiosity had prompted her to research the ship's background, and empathy had led her to sympathize with it. Three separate evaluation teams had examined the ship, and all three had declared it beyond salvaging. People had said that about Praluna too, in what she considered her first life.