Shuffle

Alcon locks the door behind Lucius. Sitting on a table under a spotlight is a folded outfit made of woven gold fibers, boots, goggles, and a smartphone locked into a wrist strap. Lucius examines the gold cloth waist coat, pants, boots, and hoodie, all tied together by wires.

“It’s instant?” Lucius says.

Alcon nods. “No time passes.”

“What’s its range?”

“It plots by GPS.”

“Is it safe?”

“The bacteria survived.” Alcon says.

Lucius glares at Alcon.

“It’s safe.” Alcon says.

Lucius puts on the suit. He straps the smartphone to his wrist, puts on the goggles, wires everything together. Alcon taps open the app. The Earth rotates slowly on the phone screen.

“It’s 6850 miles away.” Alcon says.

“Always wanted to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras.” Lucius says.

Shuffle: A silver clothed character walking in a parade of dancers.Lucius taps the location marker. The touchscreen flickers. Lucius finds himself in a bar with no walls. In every direction, there is only flat ground, open space. The lighting has turned his gold suit silver. He isn’t alone in the bar. The bartender is somewhat human. People in suits and helmets order drinks and chat at small tables. Aliens from a dozen evolutionary paths float drone-like on contraptions as simple as balloons and complex as hovercraft. Lucius sits at the bar. A giant centipede armored in silver orders a beer. Shaken, Lucius orders two.

“You’re new.” The centipede says.

“Yes.”

“You’re losing time.” Says the bartender.

“What?” Lucius asks.

“Subspace crunches two points.” The centipede explains. “Time doesn’t stop for you.”

“It’s busy today. People from all over the galaxy are going to the sci-fi parade in Marigny.” The bartender says.

Lucius chugs both beers, stands up. He steps out of the bar onto a street curb. The parade comes. The centipede is standing next to him. The paradeers march on by, and Lucius realizes something. As he watches them pass, it becomes apparent that every last one of the crazy, drunken pedestrians is a denizen of subspace, and Lucius is stricken with awe.
 

 

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