Plugs

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Marcie’s Day

by David

Only the bulkhead now between Marcie and what remained of the rest of the crew, which had expanded to fill three quarters of the ship, and it oozing under doors, through vents, and through the tiniest holes.

Seventeen people she’d worked with for months, amalgamated as a malignant mass, a composite entity retaining no visible trace of humanity, its exterior a palimpsest of colors that shifted and transformed ceaselessly: vermilion, gold, a myriad shades of green and blue.

Why had Lon drunk the liquid they’d found in the stoppered flask? Yes, the characters they’d decoded had referred to a miracle cure, yes, he was facing a painful death from the infection he’d picked up on the abandoned station and yes, Federation mediine could do nothing for him, so perhaps he’d thought he had nothing to lose. Well.

The bulkhead creaked, forcing her back to the present, as a voice vibrated through the decking, calling her name.

*

She wrung her hands, stared wildly around the hold. Spacesuits: no; escape pod: ditto. She had nothing to work with, nothing, nada, zilch, etc. Suddenly her eye was drawn to the probability generator. How could she have forgotten? Dangerous, yes, but she’d nothing to lose either. She raced to the machine, removed the lock they had bolted down over the control panel. The bulkhead screamed and polychromatic gel flowed out around it and dripped in globs onto the floor. The scent of lemons mingled with chocolate (or was it burnt roast?). She grabbed the probability dial and gave it a strong twist. Wheels spun and clacked, lights flashed, and peripheral vision overwhelmed her sight. It was more distracting than being blind. She couldn’t actually see anything, but she couldn’t ignore anything either.

A moment later she could see again. She could see, but for some reason, she could not take a step. She looked down, then, at the glistening multicolored sausage that had been her legs; at the squirming polyps that were ballooning from her flesh like chewing gum bubbles, separating, and drifting away, tendrils waving au revoir, on the stiffening breeze; and at the roots that her fused limbs were sending out through the quivering ground at ever-increasing speed. She shook her head, smiled, and extended her arms, which burst into bud. She stood at the center of a rapidly Marcifying plain. It was going to be a good day.

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