Originally in Clarkesworld Magazine, #128 May 2017
Far future, and humanity has settled on a generally inhospitable gas giant. The story is set amongst a tight-knit crew of hardy souls living aboard a ‘whale’ a semi-sentient floating creature. The protagonist, ‘Doc’ has some issues, and a back story, and is generally loner, who finds himself somewhat taken by a new crew member.
As Ricci thaws him out, he has to unpack some of his emotional baggage and get rid of it, alongside the baggage that they crew has to discard in order to reach fellow ‘whalers’ who are in jeopardy. The conclusion, which doesn’t quite hit a real peak sees Ricci make a decision with consequences for some of the other whalers, but the setting is a doozy, and the characterisation in depth.