The air tingled briefly around Stella's head, causing her hair to spark slightly in the dry air. Through the huge viewing pane of her premium office, the Earth turned slowly and majestically, thousands of miles beneath the orbital station.
"Miss Stella?" came the cautious voice of her attendant.
"Yes, Becky?" Stella replied, trying to hold her voice steady and patient. Her last attendant had lasted only one month before Stella lost patience. He was serving drinks and patrons over on the Freedom station now, she heard. Being Stella's attendant had very impressive pay and perks, but it was not without some risk.
"Your daughter is on holo three. And Kimberly just arrived for her two o'clock with you."
"Thank you, Becky. Put Rose through, and tell Kimberly I'll only be a minute."
Stella swiveled her chair around and saw her six year old standing there, a big grin on her face.
"Hi, Mommy!" she burbled. She held up a sheet of paper that was covered in blotches of purple, white and yellow. "Look what I drew in school today! Can you tell what it is?" she asked hopefully.
Stella leaned forward and scrutinized the picture. The holographic images of both her daughter and the drawing were crystal clear. Too clear, it turned out, for Stella still couldn't make out what it was and needed an alibi. Her foot slid slowly to a floor switch she'd had installed and pressed it. The hologram skipped and jumped, growing a trifle fuzzy.
"Sorry, Sweetie," Stella said in her sad voice, "but I'm not getting the best image. Why don't you tell me?"
"It's us, Mommy," Rose exclaimed, at once upset her mother couldn't see the perfect rendering, and elated to be able to tell her. She pointed to the yellow splotch. "See? This is you. And this is me. And we're out on the space station's walking area, looking at the stars."
Stella lifted her foot off the switch and the picture settled and cleared. She gave her daughter a big smile.
"You're right! That's positively beautiful, Rose!"
"Can I hang it up with the others?" Rose asked excitedly.
"Right this instant!" Stella insisted. Her quarters were luxurious and spacious, but she had no idea what color her walls were, they were so covered with Rose's artistic accomplishments. "Mommy has a meeting right now, honey, but we'll sit down tonight and you can show it to me for real, okay?"
"Okay!" She gave a huge smile, then blew a kiss. "I love you, Mommy. Bye!"
"Bye-bye." The holo snapped off and Stella turned back to her desk, still smiling. The joys of motherhood couldn't be explained to anyone who wasn't a mother.
She reached to the inlaid control console on her desktop and activated the directional subsonic impresser. She thought for a moment. Rose really did deserve a special treat for her latest picture. Stella decided and ran her finger up the intensity control, doubling the impresser's silent output. She then tapped the "Available" button, telling Becky that she was ready to see Kimberly. As an afterthought, she turned down her office lights to warm glow.