Gray clouds hung low in the colorless sky as he watched a group of teenagers clambered down the street littered with rusted and mangled vehicular bodies. Houses on both sides of the disintegrating asphalt stood in various wretched shapes. Woods warped. Windows smashed or missing. Vinyl sidings bent like painful hang-nails.
Like Rome, another giant had fallen.
Terry could hear the clickety-click of the prosthetic leggings on Number 876’s spacesuit as she ambled down the ship’s corridor. The octopi didn’t really care about names. Terry called Number 876 Klara because it made her feel better to call her partner something other than a number. The nickname scrawled on Klara’s helmet in radical ink had been her own choice though.
“If this boat hits one more swell, I swear I’ll hurl that slop they called breakfast back up on the deck.”
Venus–AKA Captain Eyepatch’s gravelly complaint dragged Terra back to the here and now.
Dran’s sphere flickered then steadily started to glow. Finally, the signal was strong enough for live-talk again. Frantic, he fumbled with it–fingers shaky.
“Wheela! What in the stars happened? Answer already!”
Delores couldn’t hear the worst of the rain from the brig but she could smell it in the air. The wind was boisterous. The ship’s iron bough rocked and rolled with the turbulent waves. Beneath all that, the subtle thunder created by the weight of water stole in and squatted in her bones. A single light bulb had been strung from the ceiling. It swung madly to and fro. It was hypnotic, wreaked havoc with her logic circuit. Her vision kept wavering in and out.
Sulily sleeps suspended inside a transparent, cylindrical womb filled with luminous blue fluid. Her suit sticks to her body like a second skin and has knobby nodes that run up the length of her spine and end at the soft helmet’s base at the back of her neck. From the center of the helmet, wires fan outward and upward, gathering at the control center at the top of the container. Sulily’s mouth and nose are covered by a breathing apparatus with a serpentine root that coils and stretches down to the base of the cylinder.
When Bug was six, she got kicked in the head by a horse. By all accounts, that’s how she should have died. That she lived was a tiny miracle but it’s an old story, the one about how she went blind. When she was twelve, she got her brand new cybernetic eyes. You could even call it a brand new lease on life.