Alice had wanted to reach into Reality and grab one ever since she was aware of their existence past the Veil of Darkness at the end of the yard.
She was an only child and it was not her fault that her Mother was a Ranger living far from the Metropolis.
It is virtually impossible to translate distances in a way that readers on Earth will comprehend. The best way to look at it is to consider the termite in relation to an Earth Person and then multiply to the tenth power.
The notion that earth itself could be a mere ball, floating in the darkness, a ball which Alice might covet, as most other children her age did, is incomprehensible. But I am merely trying to communicate things as they actually are. And if that upsets those who have, in a cavalier manner, posited as a universe a mere pocket of playthings, just remember how a termite feels when she sees the shadow of someone's boot descending.
I think one way of putting this is to suggest that the seemingly massive force of Sandy and Katrina would be equal to one of Alice's lesser exhalations when hectoring her Mother regarding this toy of choice.
"When can I reach through the Veil and get a ball of my own?"
Alice's mother was moved to the Outpost after being impregnated by an Accountant who promised her a future and left her moaning all alone in a maternity ward with the child she now observed through the window of their desolate frontier home.
Alice's mother was in dire straits. Her lust seemed to her the root of her problem. Nymphomania did not make for success in the Metropolis.
She had always eaten too much. Out here there was little food. Her pay was meager.
She considered the black market ball business, but penalties were severe.
The house was a mess, all two rooms of it.
She felt a wave of hate pass through her portly frame. How did lesser souls thrive in the Metropolis while active minds like her's were a palpable liability? Still, she told herself she would yet surpass the the smooth System Climbers who exiled her. The only plus here was the lack of people. She was not one for putting herself out.
This border was literally the end of Reality. In her better moments she almost thought of finding a way back to the Metropolis.