A Simple Procedure

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It was a simple procedure. 

A simple procedure.

I would be admitted to the hospital overnight.  I had to be fasting.  Except for some clear liquid that the nurse would have me drink every four hours.  It contained some stuff that the doctor called “fixers.”  She explained that they were meant to help boost the efficiency of the procedure and help my recovery go faster.  Then she joked that they would “fix” me. Continue reading

Velutinus

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“At least no one died or was seriously hurt,” Dani said as she worked open the huge garbage bag that our faculty supervisor had given us.

Ameena nodded.  “I hope it stays that way.  I heard there are still a few people missing.”

“Why’d it have to be the computer lab?” Jon said.  His shoulders slumped as he looked at all the scattered papers and wrecked computer equipment in the room we were assigned to clean.  “Why couldn’t it have been the gym?”

“Or the cafeteria,” I added.  That made everyone chuckle and we started picking up the pieces according to the instructions that Ms. Quince had given us. Continue reading

Astral Andie is Angry

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“How long has it been…since I closed my eyes?” I asked.

The medical technician sitting beside my cot offered me a business-like smile and said, “Just about thirty-seven minutes.”

I frowned.  It had felt longer to me.  Almost two hours.  I had a crick in my neck.  The cot wasn’t very comfortable.  They didn’t want me to accidentally fall asleep.  I sat up and swung my legs around so I was sitting at the edge of the cot. Continue reading

The Cavern Traveler

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“Is there such a thing as hallucinogenic moss?”

Seyyal raised her brows as she asked the question, and watched her cousin’s fork freeze in mid-air.  They were having their usual monthly brunch and catching up with each other.  And Seyyal had already somewhat updated Yalanda about the subject that had been occupying her mind since she’d gotten back from vacation, her left foot. Continue reading

Happy Anniversary, Forever

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What if you knew that you only had twenty-five years to live, safely and surely, but you would be alone, watching your death approach, unable to escape it?

And what if you knew that whatever you did or accomplished in that time would most certainly never be known by the rest of your people?  So you won’t be leaving behind a legacy of observations and musings.  Not even raw data collected by the sensors will make it out.  What would you do?  Who would you be?

Do you think you’d last?

Do you think I will last? Continue reading

The Shifting Night Anomaly

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The Shifting Night Anomaly was so called at first because its margins seemed to change every so often, making it difficult, if not impossible, to map.  We had sent probe after probe inside for three generations.  Out of the near thousand probes that were deployed, only forty-seven were recovered.  The more we learned about the anomaly, the more we realized how fitting the name was.  There were no systems and no stars within, only remnants of dead worlds.  Only strange and exotic gases.  Only nebulas haunted by the ghosts of stars that flickered and faded before they could burst into life.   Continue reading

The Antechamber

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Waiting.  We’ve been waiting for thirty minutes.  A nuisance, maybe, if I were out in the world on an errand or anticipating someone’s arrival.  But here, in the antechamber, poised on the threshold of the most important thing I will ever do with my life, or the grandest failure of my life, those thirty minutes have stretched into the last thirty years of my life.  It must be worse for the person on the other side of the antechamber door, the patient waiting for us to save his life. Continue reading

Into Stasis

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“So you…want to go into stasis, sir?”

“For seven to eight hours a night, yes,” I said, nodding to the only person I trusted to help me carry out my latest endeavor.

“But the technology doesn’t work that way,” Leeke said.  “No one has yet managed to develop a program this sophisticated that wouldn’t require continuous stasis for at least several months, probably more.  At least, not with the information that the agency has released so far.  Sir, at best, I fear it would be a waste of your time.”  Continue reading