Letter From The Editor - Issue 57 - June 2017

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Issue 38
Stories
The Sound of Death
by Gareth D. Jones
Underwater Restorations, Part 2
by Jeffrey A Ballard
Rights and Wrongs
by Brian K. Lowe
A Little Trouble Dying
by Edmund R. Schubert
IGMS Audio
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
New wave
by Chris Bellamy

Writing Fantasy

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-   -   -   -   P   r   e   v   i   e   w   -   -   -   -

Underwater Restorations - Part 2
    by Jeffrey A. Ballard

Underwater Restorations - Part 2
Artwork by M. Wayne Miller

. . . continued from issue 37 . . .

This is not my favorite part. I love the free-fall descent, and tolerate the unnatural ascent. But bouncing between the two for the purposes of hovering -- not so much. It's not even hovering, it's jerking me up and down, mixing the contents of my stomach up like some Rube Goldberg blender.

We designed the suits to work in the ocean. The extra force from buoyancy helps smooth out the motion. Buoyancy is negligible in air -- it makes for a bumpy ride. There wasn't time to see if we could modify the subroutine. Even worse, the reverse-gravity modules work on a closed system, which means I'm in the full gravity suit, helmet included, jammed over my night vision goggles. My peripheral vision's cut off and what I can see is distorted through a curved glass plate. Plus, everything I hear sounds distant. I'm going in almost deaf with tunnel vision. Maybe I should've shoved nose plugs up my nose to match the motif.

I oscillate outside a window that's been filled in with brick to match the rest of the side of the three-story building. Pete's office is on the other side. I have no idea if he's in there. For this to work, Pete can't have any clue something is amiss and that means setting the laser cutter on the narrowest setting. So narrow, that I can't even fit a scope-wire through to see if the office is occupied.

I have to time the laser cutter with my mini-ascents, as I cut through the mortar. Thankfully, the brick in the window was added later so all the edges around the window are straight. There's a slight dip in the cut along the left edge, where I realized this would've been a perfect task for Winn's steady surgeon hands.

I put the laser cutter in my pack and take out handles, which I attach to the center of the brick window. I push the brick forward into the office. It slides smoothly but not easily. Two hundred pounds of brick isn't trivial to move. The moment of truth is when the brick is halfway into the office. I need to push the brick in, get into the office and reverse the gravity enough not to slam the brick on the floor. If Pete's in there, I'm a sitting duck. If I drop it, without the additional weight I'll hit the ceiling.

The gravity subroutine will help with lowering the two-hundred pound block, but I still have to hold it, it's still two hundred pounds. Holding a cannon ball descending or ascending is still holding a cannon ball. I check my gravity subroutine and get ready to push.

I pause to see if I can detect any clue about what's on the other side. I can't.

I push the block the rest of the way.

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