Vivian Anschauen spends an entirely enormous amount of her life waiting.  Waiting for people.  Waiting for things.  Waiting to see.  If our body parts were sized proportionally to the time we spend on various activities, and if our left big toes represented time we spend waiting, then Vivian’s left big toe would be down the street, around the corner, and out of sight. 

Waiting for news, waiting for orders.

In fact, Vivian sits in a waiting room right now.  This particular waiting room is at a hospital emergency facility on Signus II, a water world orbiting a very distant, very hot sun.  Signus II waits, also.  Waits for its moons to create tides.  Waits to inch closer to its star as its elliptical orbit contracts, then farther away as it recedes.  And, ultimately, the planet is waiting to die.  The sun will cool, swell into a giant, and envelope it.  One day, that star will eat this planet whole.

Meanwhile, the planet waits, and Vivian waits along with it.  She is happy.  This is peaceful.

"Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really.

"How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty.

And yet it all seems limitless..."

- Paul Bowles


You buy them books, and what do they do? They eat the paper!


Forget about your seat -- it's the beat.


Television will make you dumb. C'mon and get stupid!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Short Story: Nurse

I served two tours of duty during the Martian Automaton Riots of ‘34.  My first was spent as a combat medic.  After three months of leave, I returned to duty as part of a mobile surgical hospital unit. 

The bots may not have been flesh, but their methods of warfare could be every bit as sadistic and cruel as those of any human who ever lived, and the psychological operations in which they engaged were highly effective.  It was the standard stuff: mutilated corpses, torture, live burials – that kind of thing.  But while the soldiers fought them tooth and nail, the automatons waged a technological war against our systems on Ares and back home on Terra.  The souls of the men and women killed were destroyed by the machines, never to be recovered.  So people were terrified, even those of us soldiers who knew death and who knew that the machines were just playing at our fears.


posted on 07/08 • fiction • (4007) commentspermalink

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