Warby waited for the door to unlock. The outer door thunked, then two long seconds elapsed before the inner door light illuminated, permitting him entry into the jolt shop. Was so much security necessary?
GERT status update:
G-tube former embryo final failure rate: 100%. Restarting with H-tube embryos. Please advise.
**Incoming encrypted transmission: Geocoupled Extrasolar Report Transmitter key required**
Affirmative. No change in colony deployment protocol. Proceed with H-tube embryo thawing, gestation, and rearing.
GERT status update:
H-tube former embryo final failure rate: 100%. Restarting with I-tube embryos. Please advise.
Soni opened the door and stepped out into the corridor. She felt the ridges of the enamel floor caressing her bare feet. The two tenths standard gravity meant that the ridges were barely caressing her feet, not inflicting painful pressure against her soles like they would if she were on Earth, but it was cold. Colder than it should have been? The air felt cold too. She checked the dat on her arm. It showed the corridor temperature was nominal.
For IDJ eyes only: Target secured. En route to rendezvous point on Ceres station. Estimated arrival: 0417, 15:56 by Earth reckoning. Delays or changes to be communicated immediately.
The Neren delegation, representatives of Leha’s own species, had been seated with their backs to the window that overlooked their ruined world, so they stared their hatred into Leha as they ate. The desert behind them was an empty seafloor, scattered with leaning ships and the bones of the leviathans that had recently ruled the deep. Some of the marooned craft were warships, but there were also trawlers and freighters and yachts and cruise ships, all of the latter newly outfitted with cannons and other weaponry, none of which had stopped the water from vanishing beneath their keels.
March 13, 2018
I'm not really a survivor type.
Seriously. In the Gilligan's Island we’re-stranded-now-what lineup, I'm Ginger. Coddle me, feed me, I'll be on my hammock. You don't have to "survive" in the city, right? Just have a takeout menu. Or five. I had a job, I had an apartment, that's what you thought about on graduation day when you were listening to whatever toothpaste magnate was your commencement speaker. That, and parties. I was good at parties.
Anyway. No more parties.
Garble’s feelers drooped in the damp air. Her overview of the properties of water had prepared her for the shock of seeing it for the first time-- but not for feeling it in the air. It was all around her all the time, from the moment she stepped off of the ship. Too-small-to-see droplets clung to the ragged edges of her scales and trickled down the grooves, tickling like the unwelcome whiskers of a constantly-inspecting stranger. There was a lot that Garble didn’t like about Earth. But what she did redeemed the rest entirely.
The cruiser rattled. Septus Pertinax jolted awake, stretched out on a bunk. A ring of sweat had formed around his shirt collar.
Before touchdown on Endymion, he’d been dreaming of rooms: apartments in a manor high on a hill, each filled with light, with friends. Each of them toasted him. Each new room revealed new revelers, new hazy faces, and he drank with them in a whirling dance, every cup brimming with easy answers.
Sometimes the unraveling of a life begins simply and quietly. As lightly as the fluttering descent of a moth with a torn wing. A tiny point of light falling in the deep night sky. A moment passes, unnoticed and unremarked-upon; it is only in hindsight that everything becomes clear.
“Not a mark on him, Sarge,” Victor noted.
“You sure he’s dead?”
Sergeant Lemov could imagine what was going on behind Victor’s impassive features. He was certain that, had the robot been programmed for facial expression, he’d now be displaying a sour look. The sergeant wished he had been, because then, he could do his own part and ignore it.
“Yeah, he’s dead. You can sometimes tell by the lack of breathing.”