Glimmer, part 14

Eddara’s Voice, Eddara City

It was night and Nikolay Rogers was the only staff writer for the city’s newspaper still sitting at his desk. He had hoped he would have it done and on the way to the presses that night, but he had fallen behind. There was so much he wanted to include and knew he had to cut something out. It didn’t look like his story would be tomorrow’s headline news.

He sat staring at the screen stretched across his desk. The story was finished, but it was still too long. He nibbled at his thumbnail and started reading through it once more. There had to be some way he could cut it down. His editor wouldn’t accept it any other way.

“ ‘He arrived last year, reeled in by the Avatar space shuttle. The crew didn’t know who he was, what he was, or where he came from. Not knowing what to do with him, they took him to the Continental Restraining Institute. It was months before Dr. Adam Connors and Dr. Scott Larkin discovered him there.

“ ‘His name is Schuyler and he hails from Earth. No one knows how he escaped from the Apocalypse, but it is assumed that his unique ability to “glimmer” allowed him to escape. The way Schuyler described it, glimmering appears to be an astounding way of fading in and out of solidity and this is what allows him to move from place to place. Scientists are now trying to demystify this process of glimmering.

“ ‘Intriguing though this may be, Schuyler’s story of how he became the Glimmer is much more astounding.’”

Nikolay sighed and leaned back in his chair. He was exhausted.

“Rogers, you got that story yet?”

His editor’s loud voice snapped him back to reality and he stared up at Mark Edons’s dark eyes, which were squinting back at him.

“I’m getting there.”

“Never mind. Just send it to the presses. You’ve been here long enough.”

“Yes, Mr. Edons,” Nikolay replied, a grin spreading across his face.

“Wipe that grin off, Rogers,” his editor said crossly. “I just want to lock up for the night.”

Nikolay immediately lost his grin and nodded. “Yes, sir. I’ll send it off now.”

“Good.”

His editor spared him one last squinted look before ambling back to his own office. Nikolay secretly grinned to himself and sent off his story to the presses. The editor-in-chief was sure to see it and put it on the front page. It was the most sensational story the city had ever seen. It was sure to be the cover story of tomorrow’s newspaper.

City Plaza, Eddara City

The City Plaza was buzzing with people talking about Nikolay Roger’s story. They had all received a copy of the newspaper on their computers and several had copied down facts that they didn’t want to forget. The story had made the cover page and it seemed to have been the only story anyone had read.

“Did you see it? I can’t believe that this guy is in our own city,” one man said as he waved a paper thin and paper-like device displaying the story in another man’s face.

“Impossible not to see it,” the other man said, irritably pushing the device from his face. “Certainly is the greatest thing since reading about the Apocalypse on Earth.”

“Do you suppose we’ll get to see him?” the first man asked, folding up his device like a piece of paper and stuffing it into a pocket.

“Who can say? We can swing by the Institute later after work and see if he’s there. Speaking of work, we’d better get over there now if we don’t want to be late.”

“A spectacle,” a woman said scornfully as she and her husband navigated their way through the crowd. “That’s what he is. Well, I think that’s just wrong. He’s still a living being by all definitions. A brain, a heart, a living body. Doesn’t he have rights?”

“Ach,” her husband replied dismissively. “Who cares, Marcie? Don’t you want to see this weird new being?”

“I’d like to see him free.”

“And destroying our beautiful city? You’re demented, Marcie.”

“Something needs to be done about Dr. Connors and Dr. Larkin,” a distinguished man said as he made his way through the crowd with three other men like him. “I’m taking this matter to the EPRC.”

“Good,” one of his followers said. “They can’t keep on doing what they’re doing. Who knows what experiments they might be conducting in that lab of theirs?”

“That’s why we need to notify the EPRC.”

“We’ll back you, Mr. Allysis,” another one of his followers said faithfully. “Don’t worry, we’ll get them. Dr. Connors and Dr. Larkin must never work in this city ever again. No one here will stand for it.”

“You can be sure my family and I won’t,” a woman called after them. She was echoed by several other people and they all fell behind the distinguished man as he wove through the plaza to the EPRC building.

“Look! There’s Nikolay Rogers!” several people shouted.

Nikolay entered the thronging City Plaza. He had to; the newspaper was headquartered right in the middle of it. With a smile and gracious words, he started to wind his way through. Questions were thrown at him left and right, but he didn’t answer them.

“How’d you get this story?” dozens of people asked him.

“Not easily,” he said in a joking way, and said not a word more. No journalist ever discussed their source of information, or anything about their stories, no matter how tempted they were to gloat over their star stories.

Finally, he pushed open the doors of the newspaper headquarters and collapsed onto a plush armchair in the lobby of the building.

He had just started to push himself up when Mark Edons found him. A broad smile was painted across his face and he eagerly reached out to shake Nikolay’s hand with both of his.

“Congratulations, man,” his editor said. “Eddara’s Voice is officially the most read newspaper in the city today. And it’s all because of your story. Good work.”

“Thank you, sir,” Nikolay replied in a daze.

His editor smiled and nodded to him and then left. Nikolay collapsed back into the armchair.

Certainly, he was glad he was finally getting the recognition he felt he deserved, but this was too much. He didn’t want to be pointed out in a crowd. He wanted to be awarded and then offered a promotion. He didn’t want to be a staff writer any more. No, he wanted to head a department. It was time, wasn’t it? He had been here nearly fifteen years. He wanted a promotion almost as badly as he wanted to see Adam and Scott publicly scorned.

Nikolay sat up straight and a smile slowly spread across his face. He wondered if the two doctors had read his story yet. He couldn’t wait to see and know how they would react to it. He had painted the two doctors in as bad a light as he could. He hoped it would be enough.



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