Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 30

mind a gaggle of scantily-clad females fawning over me.” “Where are you going?” said Ben. “We’ve only got another ten minutes before closing, can’t it wait?” “Aha! So this is one of those grass-is-greener things! You’re just upset that all the women lining up for your autograph are dressed up as zombies and slime devils, aren’t you?” I looked back toward Ben as I strode forward. “I’ll be right back. I need to know that girl’s name!” Ben scowled. “I really hate Denebian cinema. Why do you get all the pretty girls?” “And by pretty, you mean half-naked.” “You say it as if it were a bad thing.” I chuckled as I signed the next photo. I looked up, half expecting to see another Leia. Instead, I saw an X-wing pilot. She wore a form-fitting satiny body suit, high-heel boots, and a helmet with the visor down. All I could see of her face were her lips, which I watched closely as she spoke, imagining them kissing mine. I gradually became aware that she had been talking to me. “Ambassador Freed? I said that I’m a big fan of yours.” “What? Oh, yes. Yes, of course.” I handed her the photo, smiling absently. She seemed slightly disappointed in my reaction. “Thanks for the photo.” “Uh, I really like your costume,” I said, trying to keep her there just a bit longer. There was a question I wanted to ask her, if I could only remember what it was. Because I wasn’t facing front, I misjudged the precise location of the stairs. I felt my left ankle pop as it hit the ground and rolled. I caught one last glimpse of the lovely pilot as she strode out of the hall. Blinded by pain, I sat and waited for the medics. # 2. Sidelined The infirmary doctor looked at the scan. “Well, nothing’s broken. Just a bad sprain.” “That doesn’t make my ankle hurt any less, Doc.” He laughed. “I can give you a prescription for the pain. I’ll send in a nurse to wrap it for you, and bring you a pair of crutches. You should stay off of it for at least six weeks, and refrain from any strenuous activity for twelve to sixteen weeks.” “That’s it? I kind of expected you’d have a healing beam.” He gasped. “If Sol III has developed such a technology, I’d sure like to see it.” I frowned and shook my head. “Sorry. I just assumed with all the other advanced tech around here—it’s not important. Thanks, Doc.” The girl smiled. “Thank you. My sister and I worked on our costumes together.” “My pleasure, Ambassador.” He shook my hand and left. I really wished I could see her eyes. “You did an excellent job.” The nurse showed me how to adjust the crutches. “Is this your first time?” As she walked away, I suddenly remembered what question I wanted to ask her. I jumped up. “I’ve been pretty lucky up until now. And loads more graceful.” PAGE 30