Jack William Bell
What I Write
“He argue with the Avatar again?” Wallace looked pityingly at Gomez, who was pallid and panting weakly. Wallace knew exactly how Gomez felt right then; they all did.
“I tell her; we must finish clearing red chamber.” Gomez answered for himself, each word drawn out with pain. “Before we move to next tomb.”
“She said we weren’t working fast enough.” Cosgrove grimaced, and sat down next to Gomez. “Like we weren’t rushing things too much already. She said we have to finish the last tomb within ten weeks!”
Wallace blinked at that, then sat himself, in his desk chair. “I think I know why.”
Both of the other scientists looked at him. “It’s this place.” Wallace explained. “This ‘moon’, or whatever it is. It orbits a super Jovian, which itself orbits a star that is way brighter than our sun. I don’t know enough astronomy to be sure, but I think the star is probably an A class or something from its color. So it is a good thing it is so far away.
“Anyway, I got to wondering how much radiation we are exposed to from the star and tried to measure it by adapting the X Ray imager over there.” Wallace waved to the other side of his lab. “The results surprised me. The star is bad enough, but the primary we are orbiting is worse!”
“How bad is it?” Cosgrove seemed more angry yet, if such were possible.
“We’ve been here nearly a month, and we’ve probably been exposed to 20 REM or so. I am guessing that we will start getting sick in another two or three months. We may have less than a year to live at this rate.”
“Que?” Gomez nearly got up, then looked like he was going to puke and sat heavily back down. “So is why she work us like slaves. To get done, then muerte.” He finished weakly, drawing one finger across his throat.
“I think she works us like slaves because we are slaves.” Cosgrove said. “She kidnaps us, flies us across space somehow, and works us to death because, being ‘Avatar of a Goddess’ and all, we’re disposable to her.”
“Maybe she can heal us.” Wallace surprised himself with that one. “Really! I mean, look at me now.” The other two were looking at him, like he had gone crazy.
“Seriously, the last thing I remember before waking up on that bed a month ago was teaching a biology class at Stanford. But here’s the thing; I was sixty-three years old! Right now I look like I’m in my twenties again.”
Cosgrove frowned. “Me too. In was in my late fifties and last I remember was driving home from a remedial course in quantum computing. Trying to keep up is hard in my business. And I was always fat before.” She didn’t look a day over twenty-five and, despite her wide frame, was relatively trim.
“Uno mas. Last I remember, I am flying back to Mexico City from a dig in Honduras. I am forty-nine.” Gomez looked animated for the first time. “Mexico won the World Cup that day. The airport, it was loco. Everybody happy.”
Both Wallace and Cosgrove started at that. “Mexico won the World Cup ten, twelve years ago Gomez,” Wallace said.
“No.” Cosgrove sounded scared. “It was only five years ago. And there was a terrorist bombing at the Mexico City airport that day.”
They all looked at one another in surprise. Wallace put his head in his hands. “Just when I thought things couldn’t get any weirder.”
|What I Write||
Science Fiction, mostly. I’m still working on a historical mystery set in the 1920’s. As of yet there are no fantastic elements to it at all, but it’s starting to feel like they are there.
However, for the Writeathon I am finishing and submitting an SF novelette about the smell of songs; excerpt above.
Not much to put here. Websites no longer on the web. Magazines long gone.
I just don’t have what Jay Lake called ‘psychotic persistence’ when it comes to marketing my work.
My Write-a-thon Goals
I’ll be filling this out soon. Real soon. Honest.
Just looking for anything you can donate. Clarion West is an important institution and deserves your support.