Live right now is Sector Bomb, featuring Aaran Coates and Buddy Namiki in their investigation of the attack on Sector 9. WordPress doesn’t like embedding … so here’s an excerpt and a link to the story:
“Been waitin’ for a limb like this for years.” Her eyes were clear, examining the arm. “He’s a talented craftsman. When I look at it I feel like it’s mine, like I never lost anything. He’s a genius. Feels real good and the tactile feedback is spot on.”
“Should be. It was engineered by Natali Kraven.”
“That a fact?” she blinked with hinted awe. “She has a knack for this stuff.”
It’s easy to think Aaran didn’t give up much when the functionality of her amputation could be so accurately replicated. I would be wrong to assume that. She never related the circumstances and I had never asked before.
“This? Let me tell you. I was fourteen. It was childish stupidity. My right leg too, just below mid-thigh. Any higher and I might not’ve had kids.”
That’s all she would say. Maybe it was the wrong time.
“Now is a bad time to dwell on it. Now that I started I’ll finish, but tuck it under your hat, okay? Keep it for a special occasion.” She made me promise I would. I did, noticing how lovely and intimidating her eyes were.
“Just wanted to know.” Primarily I was interested in her psychological condition and intent. She smiled again and the way she tilted her head forward made me feel significant to her. It was assuring.
“You’re a good guy, but try not to be so tactless. Just ask how I feel, okay? You can do that.”
“Oh. Okay.” I said this, watching her half-stand. Something resistant went away and she plunked back down, leaning her back against the wall. Her left hand floated up to her right shoulder.
“You don’t need to feel bad about it. I just haven’t told anyone since my kids marri… left us,” she said, eyes dropping to the floor. “That brat. Keep forgetting she’s divorced now. Ayani’s still courting … oh, I was saying: Masurani and I rushed the shield.”
Never heard that before. “What’s that mean?”
She squinted at me, then recognition blossomed in her eyes. “It’s a dumb stunt we came up with to prove our bravery during the war. To us, and our friends. Everyone wanted to sign up, you know. For the fight ‘gainst Carso’s android army, but the wishless weren’t allowed. Too risky.”
I nodded, able to recount facts but not experience. I wasn’t even a blueprint in my Dad’s brain, then.
“Friends, heh. Idiots. Idea was you run up to the shield an’ grab as many pieces of loose trelic as you could before you got too weak to get away. Shield exposure hits you pretty quick so you have to be even quicker. In thirty seconds most pass right out. I’m immune to it, though.”
“That sounds like a lot of time,” I pointed out.
She shook her head. “Proximity is the problem. Once you get within twenty feet of the shield you get dizzy, and it’s a slog after that. Hard to stay on your feet because it heats up the fluids in your body. It’ll kill the average person in five minutes.”
How old? Ladies never ask and gentlemen never tell. Enjoy.