Anthologies, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Space Opera
Thirty Minutes for New Hell
As a child on Phobos: She sits watching, thinking it is another six year old, but can’t decide if it’s a boy or girl. The skin on the blotchy-red face is stretched and shiny. The eyes are lost in deep sockets, the mouth is toothy in a perpetual grin and the nostrils on the hooked nose open and close, as if sniffing for her. ---------- As a cadet on Mars: Hitting the general frequency, Cy yelled words she thought she’d never hear herself say: “Guard Point South! Intruder alert! Intruder alert!” ---------- As a gunnery officer in space: Peters glanced at De Gerch. She didn't seem to be listening to Scanner Room at all, and her breathing came shallow and rapid in his earphones. Captain Brown, watching his weapons repeater, saw the cross-hairs leave the target, go hunting across the screen. Frowning, he leaned forward, cold with doubt. ---------- As captain of a starship: “Mr Peters ...” Captain Cy De Gerch hesitated an instant, then said what she'd always wanted to say: “Engage! Engage! Engage!” ---------- A free wheeling teenager, genetically engineered to meld with a starship's weaponry system: Antigone Pitra flinched with offence and shock. “You're insane!” “Oh, I hope so,” said Cy. “I hope I'm utterly certifiable.”
Being genetically engineered as an integral part of a starship's weaponry system for the Martian Star Corps is something Lieutenant Cy De Gerch deeply resents. When a failed war game leaves her marooned on an uninhabited planet with a monster intent on destroying her, Cy sees this as an opportunity to desert the Corps with an almost clear conscience. The ghosts of two former lovers, one male, one female, and an alien spider cross-dressing as a lobster have other ideas.