Serialized Science Fiction.

The Nanovampire
Tom Haynes

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All of my senses started firing at once, crossing over - I saw my suit rub against me, I heard the stale smell of the station, I tasted the words, "Are you alright?" I started to shake, which looked incredible, especially when I got a whiff of it as well.

Out of the blue, I remembered one of my last physicals, back before Morocco. I had suffered some complications on the mission before, hell a piece of a claymore had bounced off the wall next to me and ricocheted into my helmet. Before I could get out in the field again, I had to pass muster. Given that I'd flunked out of one career before this way, I wasn't exactly gung ho about the whole deal.

I saw myself get checked out and cleared. On the way out, I got sucker shot by an orderly and dragged into an examination room. I didn't recall that happening the first time, but I paid attention, perhaps my subconscious had been taking notes.

In walked Dr. Atkins, but his surgical floor ID read "Dr. Scully", great. Someone was with him, a nurse, I couldn't tell much about her, she was already wearing her mask. "Well, look what the cat drug in." I heard her, good, I'd be able to identify her now, as long as she spoke up at some point.

"Yes, our next subject. Too bad about the cat, we'll have to delete those records from the study." He leaned over and closed my eyes for me. I heard some puttering around and then the bandage at the base of my skull was pulled off. At least they were being gentle about it. It was weird to relive being unconscious; I was much more aware of the input from my other senses. How much of this was real, stored away in redundant cells?

I felt heat on the area around the wound and then I felt it being shaved. "Is this really necessary?" asked the nurse.

"What, the shaving?" was the reply from my doctor. I felt a prick as a local was applied to the are about to undergo surgery.

"No, silly, the unit." she said.

"Well, yes, we have to have a way to monitor his biologicals. We don't want to make the same mistake we made with that chimp. If we had caught the increased metabolism and the changes in the brain waves, we might have been able to save its keepers. More importantly, we could have tried to treat it instead of putting it down. I'm still hoping the purity yields from the microgravity growth will reduce the nano deteriation." As he lectured her, I could hear the scalpel snipping the stitches apart and then I imagined it probing my wound open. I recalled I would show up the next day, thinking I had opened it back up when I fell out of bed. I had been well on the road to recovery and the fall had set me back 3 weeks.

I heard a small whining and recalled my last visit to the dentist, they had been doing a root canal on the lady next to me. I felt my skull shake as the surgeon drilled two tunnels through it. I was going to have a migraine for days, I had been moody for longer than that, I don't like drugs and I tend to wait pain out. All of which makes me react badly to people who inflict it on me.

I had to admire the professionalism of the two, except for the light, but informative banter, they did their job as if they were on an assembly line. It made me wonder if they had tried the nanotechnology before and what other purpose the biochemical sensor might serve in my line of work.

Just as I was starting to like her, she said, "Okay, before we arm it, lets spray it with the cyanide gas." I heard a short hiss, "This

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