At night she pores over the corpus catalogues online: Incorporated Incorporated, Modern Anatomy, and Shoulders, Knees, & Toes. She weighs the merits of femur length and belly fat, redundant kidneys, attached earlobes, and pronated feet. Most people buy pre-configured corpi with symmetrical faces and standard organ kits, but she wants a custom build. Something completely unique.
As soon as the recorded message pinged in her peripheral vision, she accepted and listened to the call on her cochlear implant. “Suzanne, I need to see you. It’s urgent. I . . . well, I’ll tell you when I see you. All my love.”
I caught her. The doctor gave me a textured blue wrap. Frannie looked alarmed and said, “No, no, skin—skin-to-skin, I want skin-to-skin,” and the doctor assured her that this was only for me, so that I wouldn’t drop her.
“Admit it, the only option left for that body is getting rid of it.” Cousin Aloysius says this as he sprawls uninvited along the length of my bed, and I hate him for that.
It was Martin Rios who found the captain’s body. Captain Naguen was splayed on the Chieftain’s deck where he’d fallen, and Martin realized as he stood there staring at the disar-ray of limbs that at least this was some small comfort: As unlucky as Martin had been in his life, there was always someone who had been unluckier.
Nobody could decide what should be the first object to travel through time. Malik offered his car keys. Jerboa held up an action figure. But then Lydia suggested her one-year sobriety coin, and it seemed too perfect to pass up. After all, the coin had a unit of time on it, as if it came from a realm where time really was a denomination of currency. And they were about to break the bank of time forever, if this worked.
Jean-Paul crawled out of storage and stretched his arms and legs. He avoided going into storage whenever he could help it, but the ship had insisted this time. “Hello, Jean-Paul,” Unattributed Source said. “I woke you as soon as we arrived within visual range of Amala.”
They don’t prepare you for the little noises. They put you in a centrifuge until you pass out, ride you up and down parabolic curves until you puke your stomach lining, poke you with needles until you know what an addict feels like, and make you learn three fields of physics and get a medical degree while training for triathlons.
Wolflord (title): nomadic, nameless survivors of destroyed warships; those who did not accept ritual immolation during the Decommission. No allegiance to the Principality; outlaws. The antiquated title is self-taken from the first deserter, whose name and memory were erased upon execution; precise origin unknown.
The war has turned us into light. Transforming us into light is the fastest way to travel from one front to another, and there are many fronts, now. I always wanted to be a hero. I always wanted to be on the side of light. It’s funny how things work out.