It took Anna Maria longer than they had hoped to learn their ways. A month passed before she could prevent herself from talking about the things they didn't want talked about. They forbade talk of science fiction novels, but Westerns were okay; in fact, they liked to hear retelling of lawmen heading west, of confrontations in saloons. They asked her to tell these stories as they repeatedly bleached her hair until it was as white as bone. Each time, afterward, they braided it tightly, smoothing back stray strands with the gel they kept in small silver containers. They had used the same gel to heal her wounds after one of the expeditions, and even the scars had faded.
It took her longer than they had hoped to learn the dress code (long pants were not to be worn with long sleeves, and she was to always wear at least two layers of clothing) and it took her longer to learn the correct way to cook the fuga how they liked it, soft and undercooked, still green around the edges. One, spitting his fuga back into the bowl, claimed that Anna Maria was purposefully acting dumb in order to be sent back home, but no one took him seriously; he had claimed the same about others before.
But on Friday afternoons, when she was allowed on the viewing deck, no one had to tell Anna Maria how to act. This part she understood perfectly right from the start. With the others, she stood silently behind the thick wall of glass and pressed her fingertips gently against its cool surface. Until she was whisked back to her room, she remained utterly silent, unmoving. She simply stared out into the speckled black landscape, and without a coherent thought in her mind, watched the earth rotate.