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Thank you!
Kevin Tumlinson


Chapter 1

Flash.

It was a pop of light, a burst of energy that left a little sizzle on the retinas. It was the return of light to eyes that had remained unfocused and non-functional for extreme weeks, months, even years at a time. Mitch Garrison had now experienced that flash enough times in his life that despite the fog of deep, vapor-induced sleep, his brain instantly put the pieces together. He was awake now. The long nap between shifts was over.

He tried to stretch but found himself confined. Pod, his gunk-filled brain reminded him. He blinked, which amounted to nothing but an instant of darkness punctuating the blurred light, and he managed to slide his hands up along the tight space to rub his underused eyes. Finally, slowly, things came into focus.

Something was wrong.

According to the readout just above his head, he’d only gone in a couple of months ago. He had another six months before his shift was to start.

The lid of the pod hissed, popped, and slid open. Mitch reached up and grabbed the lip of the opening, pulling himself up to a swooning but otherwise steady sitting position. The momentary grogginess of stasis was quickly replaced by sheer confusion as he looked around the Blue Collar pod bay.

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