The Odds and Ends Shelf: Heavy Time

The dockside air went straight to the back of the throat and stung the sinuses, icy cold and smelling of volatiles. It tasted like ice water and oil and it cut through coats and gloves the way the clean and the cold finally cut through the stink Bird smelled in his sleep and imagined in the taste of his food. Time and again you got in from a run and the chronic sight of just one other human face, and when you looked at all the space around you and saw real live people and faces that weren’t your face—you got the sudden disconnected notion you were watching it all on vid, drifting there with only a tender and a hand-jet between you and a dizzy perspective down the mast—worse than EVAs in the deep belt, a lot dizzier.

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