One of the best parts of being a writer is those moments of discovery, when a character reveals something about themselves or their world that you didn’t see coming. I learned a ton about the Coalition of Planets while writing Export Duty.
I brought my own preconceptions to the novella when I started to write it. One of those is that I hold medical personnel in high esteem. Doctors, nurses, physical therapists, psychologists—anyone who has devoted their life and career to helping others.
The most surprising revelation Rin brought to me (though, in retrospect, I should have expected it), was the low social position that medical personnel hold in the Coalition.
Sadirian doctors and field medics know how to treat injuries, but they almost never have to. Soldiers have uniforms that protect them and bracers loaded with technology that can heal everything from a minor scrape to a broken bone. Citizens have access to regen beds that cure disease and can extend their lifespans.
When an injury occurs that an individual can’t address themselves, medical personnel use their own tech to take care of it, but it’s still the technology solving the issue, not the citizen. Because of all this, in Sadirian society, doctors are devalued.
This shouldn’t have been a surprise. We’ve already seen how the High Council doesn’t value their people, so of course, they don’t value the people who care for their people. It was still poignant to see how that plays out in Rin’s life and his perceptions of Earth.
Rin would love to do more for others, but his training demands that he simply monitors the automated programs in his medtech. He’s never had an opportunity to do more than follow orders until he decides to help Cyan and then meets Lily.
Lily creates a paradigm shift for Rin. She’s the heiress to a successful import/export company and knows how to keep it going, but that’s not enough for her. She wants to help others—a passion Rin shares with her.
With her resources, she knows she can do more, but hasn’t found her path yet. She needs her work to be more meaningful for her in order to find the value in it. Even though she’s sorting things out, she’s determined to change her circumstances.
They both know they can do more with their existence, but only when they come together do they actualize their full potential. That is my favorite kind of love story.