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It features my space opera short story “Tiamat Descending.” Here’s a short sample.
“It’s in. Scanning. Nothing unusual so far. All the EVA suits are in place and the lift controls are on standby. Exits to the hab modules on either side are closed.”
“Right. Each ring has a total of eight hab modules, each module holding 15 hib creche clusters.”
“I remember, Captain. Two pairs of hab modules, one on each side of a pylon. On the other side of a hab mod going spinward or anti-spinward is a personnel transport module. There’s a total of four transports designed to ferry the inhabitants of the ring to the surface of the colony world.”
“Have Moe go through the 1A hab entrance. The command crew’s hibernation cradles are in there.”
Shane took a deep breath and issued the go directive. The drone overrode the locking mechanism and the door slid open. Looking at her monitor, she imagined the hib clusters as a graveyard. Each cluster held six creches for a total of ninety human beings per mod. The creche pods for each cluster formed a circle around a control core, making them look like flowers.
The drone moved into the room slowly.
“Yes, I see the lid on a creche in cluster one, the Captain’s. It’s open. There are four more open creches scattered across clusters two through six. No occupants. Indicators on all of the others are dark and…” Shane bit her lip to keep from screaming.
“Captain.” She tried not to cry but in zero G, her tear ducts filled and then tiny globes left her, traveling randomly in front of her face.
“Send me the image.” Margie tried to make her voice sound neutral but she needed to know what was happening. Then she saw the spectacle and her grip tightened on the sides of her console.
“Captain. Not all of them, but some of the corpses…they look like they’ve been torn apart. The remains are mummified but…but there are what’s left of…I don’t know, tentacles, something like that, as if something monstrous had been growing in the creche with the occupant and…”
“Are they alive? Kumar, answer me.”
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