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The Room of Lost Souls

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The old spacer’s bar on Longbow Station is the only bar there that doesn’t have a name. No name, no advertising across the door or the back wall, no cute little logos on the magnetized drinking cups. The door is recessed into a grungy wall that looks like it’s temporary due to construction.

To get in, you need one of two special chips. The first is hand-held—given by the station manager after careful consideration. The second is built into your i.d. You get that one if you’re a legitimate spacer, operating or working for a business that requires a pilot’s license.

I have had the second chip since I was eighteen years old. I’ve been using it more and more these last few years, since I discovered a wrecked Dignity Vessel that I thought I could mine for gold.

Instead, that ship mined me.

Now I take tourists to established wrecks all over this sector. I coordinate the trip, collect the money and hire the divers who’ll make those tourists believe they’re doing real wreck-diving.

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