When you’re travelling in the infiniteness of space, the smallest miscalculation can result in a nightmare. So it was for Carl, looking for a quiet break. His error would send him to one of the worst places to end up: Earth. SY
It was the damn Dot Bug screwed it up.
Carl used the first two days of his vacation to plot his course with paper and pencil, just like great-great-great grandpa did it. His calculations were accurate—even beautiful. Travel computation was an art, really. Auto-plotters were for cretins.
The tiny Dot Bug did what Dot Bugs do. It scuttled into Carl’s note pad and settled in between a 3 and a 5 to suck on the paper-pulp.
It looked like this: .
Decimals make a difference in space travel.
“The Witness” was third place prize winner of the 2011 Story Quest Short Story Contest. Laura Haddock is a newcomer to published fiction and the Story Quest judges noted a high level of maturity and polish in her writing. “The Witness” is, in many ways, a classic sci-fi, but projecting readers into a court-room drama, with a most interesting twist. GH
Of course there are ethical implications.
First, the procedure may never be used on children. The filter of childish perception would only confuse. The intellectually disabled are excused as well. And there is no “off” switch. It is understood that the court will wait respectfully for the duration. I think the record is six minutes.
From the beginning there were promising results with Alzheimer’s and neural trauma patients. The mechanical apparatus buzzed day and night in the research centers, with no shortage of volunteers. Once those crafty engineers discovered that the brain could be manipulated to reverse the erasure process—that memories could be rebuilt—there was no turning back.
I don’t know who first thought to use the machinery on corpses, but he must have been one macabre SOB.
Even now, most REBUILD subjects remain incoherent or don’t even revive. One of my own first cases filled screen after screen with gibberish until he finally powered down. After my “Mr. Harrell, I am prosecuting attorney Jack Sullivan,” I saw the lines scrolling at a frantic pace, saying nothing at all.