Rest Period
Andrew R. Crow
A nervous exhaustion takes over, a faint buzzing...  

As he slowly came awake, he was surprised that he was standing (had he fallen asleep that way?). After blinking repeatedly to clear his vision, he squinted at what he assumed was the sun, and felt a cool railing under his left hand.  He smelled a mixture of seaweed and brine, concluding he was near the ocean. Shading his eyes against the glare, he found himself on a balcony and confirmed that he was indeed standing over a tropical beach.

Frowning, his eyes scanned the sand, seeing no-one. It appeared to be just after dawn. As he whispered to himself  “Where the hell am I?”, a voice, definitely female, and slurry with just waking, remarked “Up already?”

Startled, his first impulse was to jump to the sand, a few feet below, but curiosity won out and he turned, not too surprised to see a bedroom and a young, red-haired, green-eyed woman sitting up in a round, comfortable looking bed. Seeing his confusion, she rose, her naked form tentatively wrapping itself around him.

“It’s okay love, this happens every time. Don’t worry, it’ll come back”.  She stroked his hair. “I’m Caithlin, you’re Thomas. We’re on holiday, so let’s dress and do the beach! Then we can have some more fun back here before dinner”

Before he could respond, she threw a bathing suit at him and rushed to the bathroom to change. A combination of lust, amusement and a faint familiarity overrode his apprehension; he shrugged and suited up.  Sun, sea, love, food and drink, and a surprising closeness took up the day. As they stumbled into the room, he reached for her, but the buzzing sound started again and the room began to fade…  

It was cold, and the metal chair was uncomfortable. Tegus Prime was a brilliant diamond in the dark sky outside the plastiglass walls. Memory galvanized; he was back. He removed his helmet and blinked.

 A firm hand on his shoulder. “Welcome back, Tom. Seventeen shipments of ore coming in today, watch the doors on cargo bay 9, they’re sticking again.” The man, the only other person around, placed the helmet on his head and sighed. Resigned, Tom swallowed a stimtab and checked the nutrient hookup in his thigh. Another 36 hours directing mining operations on this God-forsaken moon and it was dreamtime again.

He hoped Caithlin was still waiting.



First published: August 2016
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