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Mar 24, 2024

This month's patron-funded story is "The Bacteria that Evolved on the Trip to Zebulon 83" by Patrick Mannus.  It's narrated by Nobilis Reed.

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Charlie didn't think much of the reports of cancer-related deaths on the Zebulon-83 colony ship. They were sad to hear people had died, sure, but to Charlie, the deaths weren't personally more upsetting than the radiation-related leukemia deaths after the toxic train spill. If anything, they were more pissed about the train spill deaths because that was the government's negligence at work. The Zebulon-83 deaths seemed like just bad luck as a result of transit-related radiation exposure during cryopreservation.

Charlie took slightly more notice when it came out that all the Zebulon cancers were prostate, breast, ovarian, and endometrial. Not so much because that meant anything to them scientifically speaking, but because it was just kind of odd. Charlie worked in IT, but even they could recognize that it was unusual for the cancers to cluster like that.

When it came out that the cause of the unusual cancer clustering was unregulated growth of hormone-altering intestinal bacteria that had evolved during the flight to Zebulon-83, and that said same bacteria could be directed to change people's genders more effectively than any hormone supplements, Charlie sat up and took notice.

They sent the article to a fellow comms satellite IT specialist. They didn’t work for the same company, but even though it was a growing field, there were still few enough of them that you just knew the other commsatties. And Charlie had always kind of had a crush on Morgan.

Morg. Check it out. Interesting tech coming out of that Zebulon-83 colony ship.

When they’d met at a commsatty conference, which was really just a place to use illicit and non-illicit substances and talk shit about the companies they worked for and all the exploits they had over the companies if they were ever wrongfully terminated, Charlie had been drawn to Morgan. They just got the sense of a kindred spirit. When your body was not always the right fit for your soul, you could see the same mismatch in others. And Charlie had seen that in Morgan.