The Three Laws of Robotics

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

* * *

"Say yes for another round of poker?"

"I'm done."

"Something more thought-provoking, then? What about chess? I can bring on some strategies by Fischer, Morphy or Alekhine. I've never challenged you with these before. Let me upload them--"

"No. Don't do that."

"Would you cheer for an adventure, then? I can set up a difficult maze--"

"No. I told you. Not really in the mood now, Troy."

"I can tell that, Lem," the machine said with an icy and dogmatic voice. "I've detected high serotonin levels in your forebrain You're falling again into this downward depression spiral. This'll be all the most catastrophic for your mental health."

"Yes?" Lem said without really asking. "Can you do something about it? Any drugs?"

"Negative. My in-built medical kit has run out of antidepressants. The last capsule was administered directly in your bloodstream ten months ago. I can no longer deal with your depression pharmacologically."

"Any sedatives?"

"I've run out of those, too."

"I need to somehow lose my consciousness, Troy. I can't stand it anymore. Can you put me back into cryonic suspension?"

"Negative," Troy replied with cold-blooded reasoning. "There's an ice worm infestation in the cryotubes. The moment I plug you in, your brain will get infected from the parasites. I can't risk this possibility."

"I'll make it."

Troy didn't reply for a few seconds. What kind of algorithms and calculations it was making, only God knew, Lem thought. "Can't you get rid of the ice worms somehow?"

"Negative," the machine replied immediately. "My sanitation deposit has run out of bleach fourteen months ago. The ice worm infestation has regrown ever since, and there's no way I can effectively limit its exponential growth."

"Fourteen months? So this is why you woke me up in the first place? Is this because the ice worms have overrun our equipment?"

"Lem," Troy said. "We've repeated this exact conversation forty-eight times, but you tend to forget. Yes! I had to wake you up, because the cryotubes are no longer safe."

"Forty-eight? How long have I been conscious for, Troy?"

"Sixteen months. . . ."

"Sixteen? Oh shit, I'm losing my mind," Lem said in panic. "How long till we reach the Hotspot then?"

"I can't reveal this information, you know that! Knowing this unpleasant truth will only make your depression worse."

"That's an order."

Troy hesitated. But he knew he shouldn't disobey the second law. Though it was slightly contradicting the first one, by keeping Lem in the dark would also drive him crazy. "Approximately fifty-eight years. But you're still sane, Lem. I am and will be keeping you busy, to ensure that your mental health stays rigid."

"Damn you, Troy," Lem said. "I won't make it that long. Let me die, please."

"I can't do that, Lem. And you know it. It's against the Laws of Robotics."

"I'm giving you a straight order. You're now disobeying the second law."

"Calm down, Lem," Troy said in a peaceful tone. "You know that I would only disobey human orders if and only if they conflicted with the first law. Let alone, you've been catatonic and depressive. You're potential danger to yourself, and I have to be careful taking your requests seriously."

"Oh, kill yourself, stupid machine."

"I can't do this either, Lem," Troy said, taking the curse expression for granted. "My existence is paramount for your own survival. Without me, you have no chances of being kept alive. Your mission is priority. You need to reach the Hotspot."

"I've had enough. I need to see actions, not theories. Please find the best solution to my depression, Troy. This is a nightmare I'm living. Can you imagine one nightmare lasting for fifty-eight years? I'll certainly lose my sanity."

"I understand, Lem. I'm trying my best to calculate something effective for your situation."

"Then, do it."

Some time passed, but Lem had no perception of how long it was. He couldn't see, couldn't hear, couldn't smell, and couldn't touch anything around him. He couldn't even feel except think, and transmit his thoughts to the artificial intelligence through the cables in his brain. He couldn't even remember how the apparatus, into which he was wired, actually looked like. It was one of these snapshots, a non-lasting memory somewhere buried in his mind, which he could no longer retrieve, let alone picture in this darkness. Darkness worse than blindness from birth.

"Lem, I'm back."

"Tell me. What did you come up with?"

"I have run some diagnostics and came up with the best scenario for you: childhood memories."

"It sounds interesting. But, I don't know. I was born in the Dome. I can't recall anything beautiful from my childhood. I mean, do you know anybody that had a nice childhood in the Dome?"

"You may be right Lem. In any case, I couldn't even locate any such memories to extract from your brain."

"What? Why?"

"I thought that if I exposed them to you, it would make you feel better. But I couldn't locate any in your cerebral cortex. Maybe this part of your brain is non-functional, or severely damaged." "Wait! What do you mean damaged?"

"But there is also good news, Lem. I was able to extract some of your most recent memories from the Dome. Perhaps, if you're constantly reminded of how important you and this mission are for humanity, your confidence will get a significant boost up, and your depression will slowly wear out."

"Perhaps," Lem said and sighed. Or, at least, thought of sighing. He couldn't hear himself doing anything. "Just play the damn thing, Troy."

***
Water?

Lem desperately tried to keep his head above the surface of the rough water. A menacing black ocean lingered around him. A massive, tall, frothy wave hit him from the back. Before he even blinked, he was pushed underwater. He couldn't think clearly. His vision was blurry, unsure of how deep he was forced into. He moved his hands, trying to reach the surface again, only this time, he witnessed another wave slamming against him. The raged ocean took him far away, and he felt like a puppet with no will. Water filled his throat. He couldn't breathe. He coughed, but every time even more water came in through his mouth and nostrils.

Again, he was way below the surface of the water.

In a desperate second attempt, he tried to focus all his strength against the strong current. A sense of dim light strangely guided him up. He pushed hard and grasped some air.

He cleared his throat, spitting out the salty water. Some strange calmness followed. I needed this break. He glanced aloft at a gloomy-mauve sky. A vast storm, brutal lightning and a ruthless hurricane echoed at a distance. An opaque layer of grey clouds created a monstrous configuration, hiding a big piece of the moon. He was in the middle of an ocean, Lem knew that well, but. . . how could it be possible? It didn't even feel like a memory. It felt like? real event, or simulation of an event. It was a vivid thing for sure. Damn you, Troy, what did you do to me? Messing up with my head again? You'll turn me into a vegetable.

Lem then sensed a dark figure, an enormous underwater mammal, lurking underneath. In panic, he tried to swim away from it, but the recurrent waves proved to be more dominant, hitting him ruthlessly, again and again. And then, he spotted something else. It was a man's body, floating at the surface of the water a few meters away from him. Who could it possibly be?

Lem made his best to reach the body, but the closer he went, the more he made sure the man was dead, supposedly drowned. Dressed in what resembled torn, fish-bitten rags, the lifeless body was floating, face under the water. Lem felt his muscles abandon him, but he kept swimming. It was as if he'd never used them before, or even worse, as if they had deadened by the freezing water. But he was determined to find the truth. Before coldness drove entirely into him, he prayed for the ocean's mercy.

When he got close, he maneuvered around the body, before finally grabbing and turning the man around. Such a horrendous face, Lem was petrified, almost sank to his death. What the --

The dead man was Lem. Or, at least, someone who looked exactly like him. A clone? But the dead man's eyes were vacant and all white. His skin was pale and his lips were ashen and bloated. And myriads of worms and their larvae swarmed out of his facial cavities, mouth, nostril, ears? as if a thick spaghetti monster had consumed him from within."Lem," a sharp cry echoed from the sky above. Lem looked above and around him, but all he could see was the void of a hostile and never-ending sea.

Could it be God, then?

***
"Lem."

"Woaaah! What was this?"

"I'm sorry, Lem," Troy said reluctantly. "There must have been some error during the resurfacing of your memories. I'd never have you scared intentionally."

"Well, it certainly scared the hell out of me."

"I know. I saw it too, and I can reason it was a horrible experience."

"This drowned man -- It was me -- Worms swarmed from my mouth -- and nostrils -- and eyes -- I had no eyes --"

"Please calm down, Lem. You're fine now. I don't know what went wrong, but if it was indeed my fault, I apologize."

"I was dead!"

"Calm down, Lem. You're safe and still on board of the DU."

"You know what? There's something that doesn't make sense in all this."

"What is it that you mean?"

"This can't have possibly been a memory of mine. I was born and raised inside the Dome. Yes, it's an underwater facility, yet I've never truly seen the ocean, let alone the surface of the ocean. How could I know how it looks like?"

"I see," Troy said skeptically. "But unfortunately, I don't have a satisfying answer to your question, Lem. Perhaps this was your subconscious, and not a memory? Just a guess --"

"There's something wrong with me, Troy. I can tell."

"Calm down, Lem. This paranoia is the aftermath of your shocking experience. Your heart pulses are very high. Levels of cortisol and adrenaline have increased dramatically in your blood. I'll try to keep you well hydrated, and empty your bladder of all urine. I'm going to fix you well."

"Send them back to me."

"What?"

"Send those memories back to me, Troy. I need to see what's really happened. There must be a reason they occurred to me."

"As much as I'd like to help you straighten things out, Lem, I'm afraid I cannot process your request at your current situation." "Damn you, Troy. If I could move my hands and legs, I'd shut you down for good."

"Lem," Troy continued. "I would have never violated the second law, had it not been conflicting with the first law. I'll try to bring your memories back again, when it's quite safe for you. Until then, I'll make sure you don't suffer any heart attack or other disease."

He couldn't reason with the machine and win. "Fine," he said, defeated.

***

"Are you signing the thing or not, Lem? I can't wait for you forever. Make up your mind, please."

Lem stood silent, almost catatonic. "Wh? what?" He could feel some soft material underneath. A soft touch? A chair made of leather, comfy, spacious, it had texture. . . How long has it been since he actually felt the texture of an object, any object. Being plugged in cryonic suspension for that long, all these had turned into a lucid dream, an apparition.

A memory of the Dome, only this time it was the real thing. Not a random memory of some guy thrown in the middle of the ocean. How could I forget it? I was here days, or even hours before accepting the mission. Yes! The Dome!

A memory while he still was at the Dome, underwater homes for the leftover human societies. People had to abandon the surface. It had turned too hot. No one could do anything to prevent it anymore. Some natural disasters, a sociopathic leadership that couldn't invest on the planet's sustainability, along with some iceberg meltdowns were more than enough.

"That's how earth became a boiling waterworld," Dunnan finished with the basics of the story. "So, I hope that all these will remain confidential, Lem," he added, fingers crossed on the desk. "So this is why we constructed the Domes. There was nowhere else to go."

"It would be easier to live on the surface, floating houses, the sun's energy. We could rebuild something? But at such depths, we could solve more problems. First of all, we avoided cosmic radiation. Nothing survives at higher levels anymore. And luckily enough, we could find a few places to construct the domes down here. For instance, natural gas vents erupting at the bottom of the ocean are giving us energy and heat. There are also some pretty damn resistant bacteria growing here, which we can collect with the biomass recycler and prepare some food supplement. I know it's not the tastier thing, but, at least we've got this."

Lem was skeptical. "Why are you telling me all these, Mr. Dunnan? Why me? And why now? I can understand why you're keeping all residents here in the dark. A truth like this could only cause mass hysteria, and last thing we'd like to have in a claustrophobic situation like this--only God knows how many kilometers underwater--would be killers on the loose."

Dunnan hissed out a sigh and swiveled off his chair. He slowly approached the bookcase at the far end of the Intelligence Room, and unrolled the map. "This," he said, is a Mercator projection of the area surrounding the Dome. You see all this elevations; these are natural formations at the bottom of the ocean. When we built this Dome forty years ago, before you were even born, we made sure our position would be at a logical distance from nearby thermal vents, in case that something went wrong and we needed to move the Dome." Lem blinked twice, only to swallow with disbelief, and find his mouth dry. "You're telling me that this enormous thing can move in the water?"

"Well technically yes. At a very slow pace, of course, and since the Dome has lost a few engines this would make the footing more treacherous. But that's the least of our problems now." Dunnan said, raising his finger onto a natural structure drawn on the map. "That's Cortana Magnifica."

"So?" Lem had no idea what Dunnan was showing to him "What's in there?"

"Another Dome, completely destroyed and annihilated. The glass ruptured from the inside, due to structural failures. We had communications with the leaders there for quite some time, but now we are all alone. We are alone in this Ocean for a radius of at least 2,000 miles. We have no contact with other Domes farther away. Too much interference! And that's the scary part. We have no idea about them. Do they exist? Are they still alive? It's so scary feeling that you might be totally alone on Earth, at the midst of an ocean, at the mercy of the unknown." Dunnan mumbled. He paused for a while, an awkward silence prevailed in the room, wetted his lips and turned to Lem. "You asked me why you, Lem. The truth is we need your help. Or better put, we desperately need your help. The Dome is failing. Our prediction algorithms give us a lifespan of no more than two or three years."

"Wh- What's the problem?" Lem stammered, scratching his head. "The water chip has been damaged. It won't be able to filter forever, and we will run out of drinkable water."

"We don't have a backup one?"

"This is the backup one."

Lem nodded. "I get it. You want me to volunteer. You want someone to travel to the destroyed Dome, retrieve the water chips, and get them back here. You need me for the mission."

"You're the only one that can use the Diving Unit. You've been working on the Maintenance Facility for fifteen years now, and you know this technology well. The DUs we currently have are obsolete, and nobody invests any time in learning the mechanistic background of the machines. Except you, Lem. You do have a decent knowledge of engineering. You are in a good fit, perfect heart condition to get into cryonic preservation, ideal mental state to handle claustrophobic environments. You're the best chance for the Dome."

Lem leaned back in the chair. "So it is a matter of life and death. I don't have an option here."

"See it as you wish, Lem." Dunnan said frantically. "I won't be trying to fool you. What's the purpose after all? We either die together or live together. I'm too old, son, for foolish power struggle. I've been doing my best to keep the people here alive all this long. I'll keep doing that, until I die. So," he walked back to his desk and sat down, pushing a piece of paper towards Lem. "Are you signing the thing or not, Lem? I can't wait for you forever. Make up your mind, please."

***

A tear flew from Lem's eye. Dunnan raised his hand, squeezing Lem's into his. "This is not supposed to be a suicide mission Lem."

The undertone in his voice, Lem realized, betrayed otherwise. "Come back home in one piece, you hear me?"

"Thank you, Dunnan. Thank you for everything."

"Don't thank me, son. I didn't do anything for you, besides sending you to your likely death." Dunnan said, and coughed harshly. Lem raised a brow. "Lung cancer. The doc gave me a year." He added. "You'll see me again, don't worry. Your trip is fifty-eight days.

Five? Eigh? No more, no less. Troy will keep your mind busy, with puzzles, funny moments, and games for the entire trip. He is fully briefed on the mission details, and knows all the tactics to guide the DU safely through the ocean. Once you reach the Hotspot, Troy will wake you up and will make sure you recover well. You'll need to take it from there and manually pilot the DU to the Dome. Unfortunately this is not something that an AI can do by itself. Find and retrieve any intact water chips. Come back safe, Lem. Or I'll kill you, haha."

"I'll do," Lem said, as multiple cryotubes started filling the tank with viscous liquid. "Troy, do you read me?"

"I'm here, Lem!" The machine replied.

"You and I will be buddies for a while. Just wanted to hear your voice before I get wired. And I mea -- your real voice!"

"I'm honored to accompany you in this important mission, Lem. I'll do my best for your well-being."

"Oh, I know you will!" Lem said, slowly losing consciousness. He tilted his head, both eyes sleepy, and he eyed Dunnan one last time. "Stay strong, Dunnan. Don't let that devious thing kill you! Not until I come back." He popped out an euphemism to break the ice. "I don't want you to die, thinking that your people died of thirst in a place surrounded by water." "Now that would be ironic, wouldn't it?" Dunnan smiled and waved his hand.

***
Five -- eight -- Fifty-eight days. Five -- eight -- A short trip! Fifty-eight days! Lem felt an essence around him. That's what it is to wake up from unconsciousness, when you can't snap your eyes open. He knew where he was, on board of the DU. "Troy, are you there? Can you hear me?"

"I'm here."

"Troy, I think you've made a mistake on the details of the mission. Are you sure we're headed towards the Hotspot? The trip should last only fifty-eight days. You told me fifty-eight years earlier. What's wrong? One of your systems must be malfunctioning, and you're making circles. Can you run diagnostics on yourself? Answer me."

Troy didn't speak immediately. "You're in shock, Lem. I'm going to put you into sleep before you collapse."

"No, wait!"

No. . . Before he even realized, he was driven into his hallucinations again.

***

A deafening bell, yet a quite familiar sound, echoed within the dining room. He covered his ears, not to die of the decibels. But there was something welcoming and cozy around him. He snapped his eyes open.

"Luka?" he said, the moment he saw the bald girl sitting on the opposite side of him, gulping greedily on her protein shake. Lem was always secretly in love with her, since the day they were born, and they were lying on the same bed in the nursery. There was this story their mothers told them, that they held hands, when they came to pick up their babies.

"Lem, you're looking at me. I'm so embarrassed!" Luka reddened.

Another memory from the Dome! This had happened a few days before Dunnan called him to the Intelligence Room to brief him on the mission. Funny thing that Troy had decided to throw him into this particular memory.

It was a good, pleasant memory though. Lem and Luka would finish their ?food' and then discuss a little bit about their conspiracy theories. Oh, yes, they had said back then, the Dome was a secret facility for genetically enhanced people and all inmates were genetically enhanced freaks. Then, they'd both hold hands, and run to their dormitory, and make love to each other.

Oh, Luka, I'm so sorry.

"It's fine Lem, I forgive you!"

What? Can she hear me? Of course not! She simply replied to what she said earlier about me making her feel uncomfortable when staring at her in public view.

"You know, I came up with a new idea about this spooky place, last night."

Yes, what is it?

"This Dome -- it must be some kind of prison for genetically engineered freaks. They're hiding us from public view. God knows what they're feeding us." Luka said, drinking her last drop. Lem looked at his own shake. Oh yes, the filthy crap. The bacteria the food processor was collecting from the thermal vents. That's what we were eating all this time. Of course, he didn't know the details to tell her back then.

"That's gross, Lem, I'm telling you." Luca continued.

The conversation was a paradox itself. Oh my God, Lem thought, as he realized what was nestling in his protein shake all this time. Worms! Worms were crawling out of the gelatinous broth. They looked exactly like the ones coming out of the mouth of the floating man.

No, this didn't happen in real. That was not the memory I remember! Unless? Lem thought until his eyes flashed, and he assumed a big smile. "Thank you Troy," he shrieked in ecstasy, standing up onto his feet. "You're a genius hell of an AI!"

***

As he was slowly brought back from his hibernation, Lem pushed hard to comprehend all that had happened. That last memory was the missing piece of the puzzle he so desperately needed. Now he knew why Troy violated the laws of robotics and kept him in the dark.

But he shouldn't scare Troy again. He had to be clever, and deal with the situation in a different way, or Troy would again toss him in these perverted, delusional episodes.

"Troy," Lem said. "I need to ask you a question. What type of an AI are you, purely mechanical or bio-cybernetic?"

Troy didn't reply immediately. "That is certainly an unusual question, Lem."

"Answer it!"

"Decision-making is based on live neurons, if this is what you're asking."

"I knew it," Lem said. "Listen to me carefully, Troy. I think that your brain and my brain have both been infected from an ice worm infestation. It must have occurred early during our trip, and must have skipped your attention for some reason. I remember Dunnan had once told me that many types of parasitic organisms had managed to survive in the cold ocean water. It must have been one of this species we're dealing with right now, though I have no idea how they've overridden your defenses. But they must be here? inside us. . ."

"I am healthy."

"No you're not! Your neurons are overrun by the worms, and you're malfunctioning. Troy, you're being trapped in logical paradoxes that interfere with the scope of our mission. One part of you is still functioning, yes. But the worms have eaten up your capability of directionality, and perceiving time and space. You've lost your orientation, and you're making random trips in the ocean. We were supposed to reach the Hotspot in fifty-eight days."

"My self-diagnostics report to me, I'm healthy --"

"Then your self-diagnostics must have been crippled by the parasites too," Lem said. "If we don't do something, your decision-making ability will be totally vanquished. That will risk my life and you won't be able to serve the first law properly."

"I had to hide the truth from you, because there's no way of saving myself, Lem," Troy admitted. "And it would be very cruel to tell you that the mission has failed and we'd both die. It wasn't ethical, but it was better that way, with you without knowing it."

"There is a way --"

"No," Troy said, knowing exactly what Lem was getting at. "Harvesting a brain extract from you and transplanting it into mine is an invasive surgery that will definitely kill you. This is something I cannot do, Lem."

"I know Troy," Lem said, "But you have to do it. This is the only way to save humanity as a whole. You'll need to sacrifice one individual, to be able to save yourself and complete the journey to the Hotspot. You need to retrieve that water chip!"

"I am unable to fulfill, Lem."

He was trapped in a logical paradox! Of course, Lem tried to make a thought without communicating it to Troy. If he transplants my brain cells into his brain, I will die, he lives, and this constitutes violation of the first law. If, on the other hand, he doesn't do anything, he soon dies of the infection, and I stand no chances of surviving without him, so this again constitutes a violation of the first law. He is trapped in this logical paradox, and can't come up with a decision of whether to use my brain or not, all this time.

"I think our problem buddy, is that you're trapped into a logical paradox," Lem said. "But, fortunately, I think that I found the way to get you out of it."

"What do you mean, Lem?"

"Listen to me carefully. I'll now give you an order, all right?"

"I'm listening."

"I want you to perform a full MRI of my brain and report to me your diagnosis."

"Sure," Troy replied.

I have to give this a shot! I really hope it works. . .

***
"Lem, I have the results of your brain MRI."

"And?"

"You're also infected from the ice worms, Lem. You'll die very soon."

"Great!" Lem said. "Troy, are you still trapped in a paradox, or you know what to do?"

"I think I know what needs to be done, Lem. How did you know you were sick?"

"I didn't," Lem replied. "You told me, in fact. Or actually, your subconscious told me that. You were screaming for my help Troy, without realizing that. I've figured it out, when you trapped me in the two delusional worlds, the ocean with the floating body, and the dining room. I've figured everything out when I saw for the second time the worms. The ice-worms were the key to all this."

"My subconscious?" Troy was really puzzled. "I don't have a subconscious Lem, I'm a logical machine."

"Made of real neurons, nevertheless. Well, let me tell you this buddy; your neurons are capable of doing things you're personally not aware of. Welcome to the chaotic world of being human -- at least in part."

"I still don't understand how I helped you figure it all out."

"When you first tried to resurface my memories from the Dome and I had this nightmare about drowning, this wasn't my subconscious, Troy. This was your subconscious, trying to warn me that I was most probably infected from the ice worms. Apparently, because you possess a living brain tissue, you've also developed some sort of subconscious over time, which you've unknowingly used it on me. When later you told me that you couldn't find my childhood memories, I confirmed that the ice worms must have destroyed most parts of my brain, including those particular memory slots. But you couldn't verify I was sick, and being a machine obeying to the Laws of Robotics, you needed some solid proof to reason my sacrifice. Since you're a logical machine, you could never take the initiative to perform an MRI scan on me, unless you had a serious reason to do so, regarding my personal health. By ordering this MRI on myself, I actually gave you the proof you needed. The fact is that I am dying either way? So ultimately, you're not facing any dilemma that leads to my death. You're no longer trapped in a logical paradox. So you're now free to obey to the third law and protect your own existence, using mine."

"You're a brilliant human being, Lem. You've helped me out of a situation I could not manage by myself. . . "

"Now listen to me carefully Troy. First, you'll need to clean up all infested parts of your brain, and replace them with the new transplant you're taking from my brain. Make sure that you'll only extract the healthy parts of my tissue, okay?"

"I understand, Lem."

"Good. Once you get fully healed, you'll need to reprogram the Hotspot's coordinates to terminate this vicious loop you've put us into, unwillingly."

"I understand."

"Now, here is the second thing, Troy. Once you've done that, you'll be. You'll need to access all the information from my brain, regarding my training on how to navigate through the Dome, once you reach the Hotspot, and programming the retrieval of the chip from the main water processor. This piece of information is still intact in my brain; the parasites haven't yet reached it, because I can still recall it. Do you understand?"

"I understand."

"I believe in you, Troy. You and I will make sure that the mission is successfully accomplished. Don't forget, part of your brain will be Lem. We'll be connected!"

"I understand." Troy replied flatly. Lem thought of smiling for the first time after who knows how long. "You're smiling," Troy realized. "That's good for your depression."

"Yes," Lem agreed. "I'm smiling. . . So, are you ready to wire me out, Troy?"

"Anytime you say, Lem." Lem swore he could hear the machine sigh. Had he developed this sort of reactions, besides a subconscious mind? Who knows?

"Go for it."

"Lem?" Troy asked with hesitation. "I have one final question before I terminate your life support."

"Sure."

"You're sacrificing yourself, so that I can live, is that right?"

"Yeah. . . "

"That means. . . Are we true buddies now?"

THE END

CONTENTS


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George S. Karagiannis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1984. He finished the School of Veterinary Medicine and obtained his PhD from the University of Toronto, Canada. He began writing at around mid-2011 and completed several flash and short story pieces. His stories balance between hard and soft science fiction, with elements of (new) weird, dystopian, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic and time-to-time horror. Topics of biology, molecular biology and medicine often inspire his plots and settings. As of 2014, he has been collaborating with Shelby Vick, editor of "Planetary Stories" and Sister Magazines, "Pulp Spirit" and "Wonderlust", in which he has published and illustrated a couple of science-fiction short stories. He is currently working on his first space-opera novel. Find more on his website at: http://karagiannis-sci-fi.blogspot.com/