The Faithless, the Tentacled, and the Light
Mary E. Lowd
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Copyright © 2012 by Mary E. Lowd
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The space-cruiser Hypercube glided into the Crossroads' station docking clamps with all the showy elegance that a ship of its price should have. Nicole Merison, the pilot, owner, and sole occupant of the Hypercube, shut the ship's engines down and put the rest of its operations on standby. With the ship safely locked down, Nicole grabbed a space-compression bag and headed off to enjoy Crossroads' atmosphere and markets. She'd been in deep space a long time, and, though she enjoyed the solitude, she was looking forward to the station's hustle and bustle.
Nicole's first stop was at her favorite food kiosk, where she ordered a spicy Golan wrap and asked after the local news. The proprietor, a short, stout alien with a pug face, told a story, probably a tall tale, about an entire alien civilization appearing, almost instantly, on an asteroid a few star systems away.
"Sure thing, Bauro," Nicole said, "when I start believing stories like that, I'll start accepting jobs from the government at their base pay rate."