Here’s the beginning of a science fiction short story I wrote, not yet published. It’s slated to come out in a collection of my science fiction (as opposed to fantasy or mystery or non-genre) stories Real Soon Now.
excerpt from “Til Death Us Do Part”
by Marian Allen
The tech put a hand to Adhara’s elbow and steered her to a chair, folding the disposable pad around her shivering nudity.
“Everything looks fine,” he said, eyes on the readings, not on her body.
“What happens if it doesn’t?”
He smiled. “We don’t even think about that.”
Adhara had been thinking about it, though — more, every time she transported. What if something interfered with the signal between Point A and Point B? What if the Adhara who was materialized at Point B were “significantly different” from the one at Point A? “Outside standard tolerances, as laid out by Interstellar Legislation”?
Had it happened? Had nascent Adharas been dis-materialized, and the signal resent?
And how did they know — How could they know — about all the possible differences?
A chime signaled the readiness of her personal effects: the one-day wardrobe she had ordered, the single-use cosmetics, the wedding ring surrogate.
Ten minutes after leaving Indiana, Adhara stepped into the thin London sunshine.
A line of robbies — Britain’s name for what Americans called robocops — held back the vocal protestors who still greeted everybody who left the transport station with shouts of “Golem!” and, most inexplicably, “Get! a! soul! Get! a! soul!”
The robbies kept the crowd at bay while Adhara waved down a taxi and gave the driver the address of Grayson London.
“Loonies,” the taxi-man said. “Get a soul? What’s that meant to say, then? Like it sucks out your soul, ridin’ in a taxi?”
“No.” Adhara shifted and took in the interior of the vehicle, shabby and innocuous. “They weren’t talking about the taxi.”
“I know that, don’t I? But I mean, you get in the taxi, I drive you to 4213 Baysington Road, you get out.” He cut the air three times, three places: “You. You. You. Right?”
“Yes, of course.”
“What’s the difference, then, eh? What’s the difference between a taxi and a transport, eh? Suckin’ your soul! That’s rubbish. What a load o’ rubbish, eh? Innit?”
“Rubbish,” she echoed, thinking about the transport home, after this day’s meeting was over.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character is aware of a significant difference in self after a trip. Any kind of trip.