Quarantine Protocol by Angus McIntyre

“Marine, what happened to your hand?”

“Oh, just a nip from a local predator.” Kowalksi raised his hand for inspection by the camera above the boarding hatch. “See? Barely even broke the skin.”

The door hissed shut. “Sorry. You know the regulations. Now stand clear. Launch in 30.”

Reluctantly, Kowalski stepped back. The scoutship spat fire and leapt upward.

When it was a dot in the sky, a furry blue creature appeared from beneath a bush.

“I hope I didn’t hurt you, friend Kowalski,” it chittered.

“No problem,” he said. “This way, I can stay without them calling it ‘desertion’.”

Angus McIntyre’s space opera novella “The Warrior Within” was published by Tor.com in 2018. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. For more information, please visit his website at https://angus.pw/.

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