John studied himself in the mirror as best he could through tears. Red, puffy eyes stared back at him, a running nose already leaked just a minute after using a tissue. He couldn't do his job well if he always looked like this. He readjusted his coat and a sneeze caught him unaware. At least he had an appointment with the doctor today.
"Mr. Filner, I am afraid that the results were inconclusive." Dr. Snozuk came bustling into the small room a clipboard in one hand with papers folded over the top and a pen in the other hand. "We only found one thing that you seemed to have a serious immune response to, and it simply doesn't grow in this environment."
"But if I am not allergic to anything else why do I have all the symptoms?" He tried not to wipe his nose on the jacket sleeve. Dr. Snozuk must have noticed John's involuntary half-lift of his arm because he grabbed the box of tissues behind him and set it next to John.
“How did we start talking about Joey?” My brother frowned. It was a bit weird I admit. “Because we were talking about people we know, or knew.” I tried to adjust the flimsy plastic armor plate biting into my shoulder. “Yeah, but she was a cat.” He leaned back against the netting of the seat and fiddled with the straps, some derision in his tone. “My favorite.” He chuckled and shook his head. I just smiled ruefully. A few more pallets arrived on an autonomous lift and were placed in the center of the hold. Neither my brother or I moved as the privates and corporals secured them. That felt weird too, but then we would have been in the way. I continued, “I think it’s because she lived a long, full life.” “Yeah, all 19 years. But do you really think so? You always could ‘reason’ your way through anything.” He focused on the tie-downs as the squad finished their work. I felt a bit defensive, but took a breath before answering. “I was going to say that it really helped me.” I forced a laugh, “But …
Of course he had to touch it, Elena thought, men can’t appreciate anything they can’t touch. “Didn’t I say something about not touching anything.”
“I didn’t.” That sounded a bit plaintive even for him. “I just wanted to look at something on her skin.”
It was a good thing that her eye roll didn’t add a chorus to her already restrained sigh. She shook her head and walked back out of the house on the outskirts of a town that must be abandoned. Nothing moved, not even a breeze. Elena was glad that she had photographic evidence before Jared breathed it out of existence. “Come on, and try not to stare too closely at the art next time, however weird that it was in a tub.”
Elena didn’t understand the grumbled reply, and frankly didn’t want to make a big deal of it. They were already tight on their schedule, so many new places to go with a new satellite making its way across the surface of the Sphere, they had five hours allocated to explore this town an…