Friday, March 9, 2018

Off World by Kimberly Adkins

Off World
by Kimberly Adkins
Genre: SciFi
73 pages

Does space make you paranoid? 

Was The Corporation harboring a dark secret on the off world mining colony to protect their bottom line?

Christopher Carter loved to explore. He was a specialist in his field back home on earth, and travel to a moon that orbited a gas giant 120 times the size of his home planet was the opportunity of a lifetime. 

This would be his first deep space assignment, and he'd wanted this contract more than anything else in the world; except for his family, of course. And he didn't have to choose one or the other. 

It was amazing how things worked out --Until they didn't. 

Everyone was hiding something at the facility, and it didn't take long to figure out they were hiding it from him. Unfortunately for Christopher, the truth would prove to be far more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined.

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The room was empty. It felt empty. Was this some kind of joke? His hands began to shake, chest tightening to a stranglehold around his lungs. No, this couldn’t be happening. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d had an episode. All the years his family helped him with his struggle, and he was regressing now? Christopher suddenly felt unsafe, trapped. He buried his face in his hands, breath shallow and jagged, and couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t cold and alone.
"Daddy!" Their cries hit his ears first. Something clicked in his head and he looked up. Tears streamed down his face. He didn't know how to turn them off. He didn't know how they got there to begin with. His arms wrapped around the two young girls as they planted kisses on his wet cheeks. His heart pounded painfully in his chest. He'd never been on an op that came close to impacting him like this. He didn't know if he could take it. And then Cindy appeared. There was no angel in Heaven that could have been more beautiful than she was at that moment, with her long, blonde hair spilling over her white robe. The smile on her face told him everything he needed to know.
Christopher knew then why he agreed to take his family into deep space, exposing them to the myriad of deadly complications that came from suspension travel and off world habitation. He needed them, and he would do everything in his power to protect them while they were here. He'd been trained to assess any situation and his eyes took them in, one by one. God, they were perfect. Not a dark circle under a single eye, not a moment of flagging energy as his daughters held hands, circling around the chair while they sang a song.
Was this normal? Was he lucky?
"Babe, come here." He held out his hand to Cindy and she slipped onto his lap. His legs were still numb, but he felt her. He felt her all over and he found he desperately needed her all of a sudden. His cheeks flamed - did anyone else see? Could they tell how badly he wanted his wife? He buried his face in her hair, inhaling deeply. How much time had passed since they'd been together?
The doctor reappeared and her face was stony with lack of expression."Let's get you to your quarters on base. Normally you'd be required to stay on the ship to monitor your recovery a while longer, but for some military intelligence reason that defies explanation, you've been cleared to disembark."
It almost seemed as if she were trying too hard not to register a reaction to his family, ignoring their presence altogether. It wouldn't hurt her to have a heart - even a little one. He resented her, but maybe she was just jealous. Maybe she'd wanted to bring her loved ones and was denied.
Well, let her be that way. It shouldn't bother him in any case, and he didn't know why her behavior set his senses on alert, but it did. He was uncharacteristically emotional at the moment, but he still knew it wasn't a good idea to piss off one of his co-workers on day one. The feeling will pass, surely, once the debilitating effects of stasis were gone. And his hands were steady again.

Kimberly Adkins is an author and artist who spends her spare time working on worm hole theories so she can go back in time and enter Star Gate’s ‘Get in the Gate’ sweepstakes as many times as it takes to win.

Q: Tell us something interesting about you that most people wouldn’t know?

A: I have a Cylon toaster in my kitchen. So far, it hasn’t convinced any of my other appliances to revolt against me and assume control over the destiny of mankind. I guess I’m lucky there. It does burn ‘Frak Off’ onto my toast every morning, though.

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