Writers of the Future Volume 29 (L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future) by Juliet Wills

Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2013

“I’m recording this with the few minutes we have left. You will remember that your last upload followed the explosion on Phobos. Without their tactical center, the Partisans were finished. The Resistance achieved total victory four days later. A few pockets of stubborn holdouts in the west, a lot of groups suicided rather than surrender.”

It takes until that moment for me to realize who the burnt man is. There’s no use denying it.

I stare into the blistered face and recognize my own.

The monitor-me sighs in difficulty, glassy-eyed and dazed. “They must have had a contingency plan to poison the well in the event of defeat. An orbital stealth platform we never knew about bombarded the planetary surface with three hundred nukes.”

My stomach drops. The fledgling colonies of Mars, with all the innocence of scattered college campuses, now laid to waste?

“I was in my apartment when the first bombs hit. The explosion threw me out into the hallway like a doll. I remember crawling through rubble, trying to find the staircase. Some of the residents and I punched our way through the floor and got to the basement, where we were able to send a message to the outside. I have no idea if Charlotte survived. I reached Traci, and I’m recording this message on her bandwidth.”

The eyes find mine—hideous funhouse mirror reflection. It makes for a queasy math in my head: one soul across 41 years, two bodies and divergent lines of consciousness in an unfolding fractal pattern like diamond gloss.

“Harris,” yesteryear’s self tells me, “I’ve been mortally irradiated, and we can’t reach any of the labs for treatment. When you get this…” A sad smile forms on his melted face. “Good luck.” A pause. “I slept with Charlotte the night before the bombs fell. Neither one of us seemed to regret it in the morning. Traci will regen you as soon as possible.”

The message ends.

I hit the next message, from Traci, recorded 41 years later.

WotF Vol 29

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Genre - Science Fiction/Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.galaxypress.com/


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