Rated PG. Contains mass destruction and graphic descriptions of the wounded.
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By Merrie Haskell
I just swab my arm and administer the cocktail, a booster for my radiation immunization. The taste of brass fills my mouth in seconds, and I know that the cocktail has flooded my system. With this stuff burbling inside, I can stare down three sieverts without blinking, or, more importantly, losing my immune system, teeth, hair, and intestines.
When I finish with my dose, I grab the skin on the newbie’s arm, swab her and shoot her up, too. “Ow!” She jumps and rubs her arm. I watch carefully to see her smack her lips at the taste. “You could’ve warned me.”
“No time,” I say, doctoring Ken and the others just as abruptly. We’re pressed, and they know it.
We’re all nice and anodized on the inside at 8:12. We’re waiting for 8:16, or thereabouts. There aren’t any atomic clocks in 1945, so all times are approximate, internally speaking. And from here on in, there’s no point speaking any other way.
About the Author
Merrie Haskell was born in Michigan and grew up in North Carolina. She wrote her first story at the age of seven, and she walked dogs after school in order to buy her first typewriter.
Merrie returned north to attend the Residential College of the University of Michigan, where she earned a BA in biological anthropology. Her fiction has appeared in Nature, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, and Unplugged: The Web’s Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy: 2008 Download. She now lives in Saline, Michigan, with her husband and stepdaughter. Merrie works in a library with over seven million books, and she finds this to be just about the right number. She is also the author of The Princess Curse and Handbook for Dragon Slayers.
About the Narrator
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of historical fantasy novels: The GlamouristHistories series and Ghost Talkers. She has received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo awards, the RT Reviews award for Best Fantasy Novel, and has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and several Year’s Best anthologies. Mary, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor (SAG/AFTRA), recording fiction for authors including Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters.