glass bodies 141 150

A soldier

A 500 km diameter moon of Saturn, covered in fresh, clean ice. It shines, it sparkles. I’ve trained my algorithm by assaying pure, and mixtures of dehumanized cells. As an assassin, I’ve been trained to detect specific signatures, estimate them from unknown samples. Consequently, I wasted my youth as a soldier on Enceladus, its surface temperature at noon – an average fucking extra-cold. Terrorism is a cancer, and I am a terrorist, formerly working for the Empire. Now I don’t fucking know what I am doing, anymore. Immune signatures from diverse cell types. B cells, CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, neutrophils, macrophages, dendritic cells, I’ve identified weaknesses in the rebels’ immune system. I’ve been a foot soldier in the Empire cancer immunotherapy, targeting infiltrating fractions of rebellious blood. Deconvolving their Oscar Wildish subversion from apparently innocuous computational algorithms, I have frozen my butt off watching whiffs of molecular hydrogen fly off into space and joining the rings of Saturn. I’ve selected markers in space positively correlated with tumour purity, overlapping the rebels’ signature. An ingrate job. It was Earth evening when I arrived. The linearity of the plume in the sky watched me with an intensity of a fly-by as I disembarked the space-craft. The hamlet lay deep in the ice shell. The global ocean of Encelandus babbled, a lurking variable underneath. Gravitational capture of nebular gas was nil because of low gravity, yet nothing was to be seen of Castle Mount. Deep down, large hydrothermal vents, processing the rock core by tidal dissipation drove molecular hydrogen upwards and outwards: mist and brilliance surrounded me, and a blinding dazzle of light prevented my eyes from seeing where the castle lay. I stood on the path leading to the hamlet for what seemed Earth ages, and I looked up at my blindness, seeing the void, and its implications.

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