Nova reared up on his haunches and waddled after his prey. As big as an astronaut’s helmet, he had the tan, short-haired head and paws of a Boxer, but from nape to ankle he resembled an Apatosaurus; long in the neck and tail, hunchbacked, potbellied, and girthy in the lower extremities. He dropped to all fours, broke into a sprint, and gained on MR, the outpost’s Maintenance Robot.
A NEW PLANET HAS BEEN DISCOVERED CIRCULATING AT THE FRINGES OF EARTH’S ORBIT.
Karl’s hand landed solidly onto Lola’s cheek.
She woke up abruptly.
“What was that?”
“Nothing. There was a fly on you. I wanted to get it before it bit you.” Lola sat up in her chair and rubbed her face.
“There aren’t any bugs in space, Karl. They can’t survive out here. Nothing can survive out here.”
1st Leap Year
“Happy 10th birthday, Alton,” Aloise Sputnitter said as she sat at Alton’s kitchen table. “It must be fun to be born on Leap Year.”
The air inside the main barroom is thick with the smell of Jovian jelly. I look the place over real good. Dames, guys, and bots in every combination slip in and out of the pleasure cells. I see a few couples – probably there to spice up the home stew. But no sign of her.
I’ve been fairly happy since I re-animated Wendy. She wanted to leave me to get back to her bad boys after the first time I brought her back to life. I still believe that because she owed me her life, it was OK to conk her with my baseball bat for a second re-animation. Her first death was in an accident of her own making. It’s all turned out for the best, at least for me. I had to make some sacrifices to keep the relationship going, like getting those ugly tattoos and settling for sex once a week on Wednesdays, but if you could see me, you would know that it is the best deal I could make.
A flashing light signalled that the surgeons had finished their initial examination and it was time to go over their notes. Despite knowing it was useless, I pushed my mind forward and past the wall separating me from the laboratory. First there was merely the reverberation of the ship’s metal, its atomic structure refusing my meddling. I continued to nudge and prod until finally my consciousness slipped through. The professionals clustered around with their assistants, presumably debating their notes while the test subject was showered and clothed. I could only guess. As much as I struggled I still found it impossible to drag out any substantial information. Where I should have been able to link into the surface conversation like a normal individual, I was instead assaulted by jagged lines and heavy static. It did not take long for the sharp pain of exertion to set in. I gave up. It had been pointless from the beginning.