Inequivalent Exchange (Skipping Stones)

‘Verse: Skipping Stones
Length/Rating: 214 words, PG, Gen
Pairings/Warnings: None
Summary: It’s a bargain she never wanted to make.
Prompt: Random roll: 1. Science Fiction and 4. Skipping Stones.

A lifetime of burying herself in the math that underpins the universe means she knows the risks better than most. They can only trick the universe most of the time — and every so often when they twist four dimensions into three it backfires. But it’s an infinitesimally tiny chance, laden with so many zeros she’s always felt safe when the countdown begins.

This time the counter gets to zero… and stops.

It’s a pause only one heartbeat long, but it’s enough that she knows even before the lights go red that the skip has failed.

Her brain is already churning through the math as the pod door opens and station attendants in uniforms that aren’t quite right peer anxiously into the ship.

“Fifty-seven years, nine days, four hours and sixteen minutes,” she said absently as they help her out, “give or take.”

The following hours were a blur of grief counselors and legalese and ‘we’re so sorry, but.’ She stumbled through it not really caring what the Company owed her for her loss. Her life, her friends, even her job was gone– a half-century behind the cutting edge, even in physics, is too far.

But all of that was insignificant in comparison to what she’d gained.

She has forever to catch-up again…

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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