Letter From The Editor - Issue 60 - December 2017

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Issue 60
Stories
Dry Run
by Kurt Pankau
The Stowaway
by Stephen L. Moss
Mercy at Eltshan-time
by Stewart C Baker
Primum Non Nocere
by Caleb Williams
IGMS Audio
Primum Non Nocere
Read by Stuart Jaffe
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
Charity
by Julie E. Czerneda
Bonus Material
To Guard Against the Dark
by Julie E. Czerneda

Writing Fantasy

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

Dry Run
    by Kurt Pankau

Dry Run
Artwork by Nicole Cardiff

0.5/3

Eswar's handset went off in church, because of course it did.

Caleb gave him a frosty look. "You said you were going to turn it off," he whispered.

"I thought I did," said Eswar, not that anything was ever truly off anymore. He reached into his jacket and pulled out the handset. It was definitely ringing. The caller's name was blocked, but it was coming in on an encrypted channel. That meant government. That would also explain how they were able to override the off switch.

"I'm sorry, I have to take this," he whispered, rising, only to realize that everyone was staring. Even the ministroid had paused its homily. It was a small church, only about forty people in attendance. Eswar tried to slip out of the pew quietly, but instead caught his foot at the corner and nearly fell to the floor. He avoided all eye contact as he hurried toward the South entrance. He could hear the ministroid starting back up as he exited.

". . . fathom the mysteries of Galadus, the Scion of Time and Space . . ."

"Who is this?" Eswar asked. "I'm in church."

"Sorry to disturb," said a woman's voice. "This is Commodore Bridge from Naval Infosec. Is this Dr. Narayan?"

"It's just Eswar," he said. "This isn't a good time; I'm in church."

"There's an emerging situation that I need to get your opinion on. Are you secure?"

Emerging situation was Navy-speak for emergency, so he flashed the privacy filter on his handset. The bubble would keep out any prying ears, not that there were likely to be any. If anyone walked by, they would think his head looked a little fuzzy. "I am now," he said.

"Have you been watching the news?" asked Commodore Bridge.

"No, because I've been in church," said Eswar, since the woman clearly hadn't heard him say it the first two times.

"Two days ago we took control of the planet Keloss Beta. There were minimal casualties on our side, except for one platoon which lost forty-three marines."

Bad luck for them, thought Eswar. "Forty-three men is basically the entire platoon," he said.

"It was the entire platoon," said Bridge. "Plus their XO."

Eswar closed his eyes. An entire platoon? "I'm sorry to hear that," he said. "That really is a tragedy."

"It certainly is," said Bridge.

Eswar hesitated, not wanting to sound crass. "So . . . I'm not sure what this has to do with me," he said.

"I'd like you to speak to their BND support unit."

"Oh, that's fine," said Eswar. "I've got openings Tuesday and Wednesday. What kind of travel are we talking about?"

"Actually, I was hoping you could help me out right now," said Bridge.

For a post-mortem? Eswar sighed. "Okay," he said. "Just give me an hour."

"I don't have an hour."

"Well, I'm sorry," said Eswar. "This is really not a good time for me."

"Yes, I know, you're in church. You've said so three times. Talk to the AI for a minute. If nothing strikes you as unusual, you'll be back in your pew before the Benediction."

"Fine," said Eswar, wanting nothing so much as to just get it over with. "Patch me through."

There was a click.

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