This story is set in the multiverse of the Gordian Division series by David Weber and Jacob Holo, which includes novels The Gordian Protocol and The Valkyrie Protocol, available in October 2020. Jacob Holo is a former Ohioan/former Michigander now living in sunny South Carolina. He is a writer, gamer, hobbyist, and engineer who started writing after his parents bought him an IBM 286 desktop back in the '80s. He’s been writing ever since.
Fiction Short Story
At the Seams
"Another week. Another successful test flight." Sarah Schoeffel raised her beer bottle in a toast.
"I'll drink to that." Her father, Kim Schoeffel, clinked his bottle against hers.
Sarah took a swig and lounged back in the patio chair. A cool breeze blew across her father's spacious back yard and rustled the leaves of the trees at its edge. The mighty crowns of old-growth oaks and beeches formed a green horizon with only the blocky white silhouette of the Chronoton Research Center marring its natural beauty. Stars had begun to dapple the clear, darkening sky.
"This is nice." Sarah sighed, a contented smile on her face.
"Yes," her father echoed, his tone possessing a far-off dreaminess.
"You remember when we used to sit on the porch at the old house and watch the storms?"
"I remember your mother yelling at me for it."
"Yeah." She chuckled and took another sip. "Good times."
"Oh?" He turned in his seat. "That's only because she'd send you to bed with nothing worse than a scolding. Whereas I had to listen to her pontificate all blasted night!"
"Like I said, good times." Her eyes sparkled with laughter.
Kim shook his head, smiling back, and drank from his bottle.
"You have no idea." He cleared his throat and raised the pitch of his voice. "'Did you know there's a five-point-three percent uptick in nano-smog density today?' she would say. 'The back porch isn't screened! Do you want our daughter to have lung cancer when she grows up? At least put on your damn respirators when you go out! People who wear them religiously have a sixteen-point-six percent longer life expectancy, even in this climate.' And on and on it would go. I swear, the woman was a walking encyclopedia."