Hari and the children of passengers and specialist crews had the run of the empty cargo holds, habitats and modules, the mazes of ducts and serviceways. A world parallel to the world of the adults, with a social structure equally complicated, possessing its own traditions and myths, rivalries and challenges, fads and fashions. Endless games of tig on one voyage; hide-and-seek on another. One year, Hari organised flyball matches inside a cylinder turfed with halflife grass; when interest in that began to wane, he divided the children into troops that fought each other for possession of tagged locations scattered through the ship.
He was fifteen, then. Tall and slender, glossy black hair done up in corn rows woven with glass beads. Even though every adult – everyone over the age of twenty – still seemed impossibly old, adulthood was no longer mysterious and unattainable, but a condition he was advancing towards day by day. He knew that he would soon have to give up childish games and shoulder his share of the family’s work. He was beginning to understand the limits of his life, beginning to realise how small his world really was, how little it counted in the grand scheme of things.
From Evening's Empires