Friday, 13 March 2015


By Christine Sweeton
Part 1
- Part 2:

Kitvan's VS clicked on and began blaring the morning sports report on the ceiling above him. It abruptly woke him from a deep sleep, as it had been scheduled to do. He lifted his head and noticed that Luella was already awake and sitting at the breakfast bar reading something on her tablet. Kitvan closed his eyes to shut down the VS. "Oh, who won in the 30-North game?" Lu asked from across the room.

Getting out of bed, Kit answered, "I actually stayed up and watched it; 60-East took 120-West in overtime." Lu nodded and went back to reading. She didn't really care about hockey, but Kit was happy that she tried to show an interest. The 30-North league was the last game played each night. The other two leagues would switch between taking the first or second time slot, but 30-North had always attracted a snow labour fan base, whose work schedules corresponded well with the late air time. Since moving closer to the Earth Equator, 10 years ago, Kit usually had to follow his preferred league though reports and statsgraphs.

Lu was regularly awake before Kit, but she used to crawl back into bed to watch the morning reports with him. She would rest her head against his arm, splaying her long, blonde hair out over the pillow - damp from the shower. Her neck felt refreshingly cold against his bicep. If she brought her coffee mug than she would use her elbows to steady her body on the soft bed and place her free hand on his hip bone. Kit preferred when she came back to bed empty handed and curled up against him. Physically, she reminded him of the northern snowcap, her skin was so pale and white that it edged on blue and her body always felt chilled against his sweating skin.

After watching the sports report together, Kit would switch the channel so that they could catch the Galactic Economic Forecast for the day. Kit knew he should care more about the GEF; it was especially important for his profcat that he follow financial trends. But he had stopped caring about inter-galaxy news a few years ago and only watched the forecast because Lu did. He also enjoyed that Tim, an old friend from proed, did the local report. Since Lu had stopped coming back to bed in the mornings, Kit assumed she watched Tim on her commute, or maybe before he woke up, while she drank her first cup of coffee.

Kit was on his way out of the bathroom, just a three-step walk from the kitchen in their tiny studio, when Lu called him over. She turned her tablet to him and casually asked, "Look at these three questions. Do you remember them from when we did the proftest? Have you noticed them on recent ones you have administered? I think they are new."

Kit looked at the writing on the tablet screen, and felt his insides twist - it looked like she was showing him a copy of the 2198 PT, a nebula-wide exam that wouldn't be administered for another month. The questions of the test wouldn't be made public for another month after that. Looking at this document was grounds for job dismissal and subset decreditation - destroying Kit's professional career. Without an exceptional reason to have a copy of it, Lu would face legal action and punishment if someone saw it on any of her devices. Kit felt nauseous and dizzy. He leaned against the breakfast bar to steady himself, trying to continue to breath normally.