by Stanley Lieber

Test articles should be hangared during periods of foreign
reconnaissance satellite coverage (NIGHTSHOT Condition), or when
uncleared personnel are known to be within sight of the airfield or
the Test Site skyline (Condition WATCHDOG).  When WATCHDOG is in
effect, the Director of Operations or Supervisor of Flying may approve
or cancel approach of test articles or other aircraft to the airfield.
If approach and landing are waived off, test and support aircraft may
be diverted to contingency landing sites.


Awake in the sand. In my hair. Dust off shirt and trousers. Over a dune, there, on the desert floor, the carcass of Slake Bottom.

Remove the golden donkey helmet. Dog’s head. Remove the dog helmet. Elephant’s head. Remove the elephant helmet. Turtle’s head.

Turtle after turtle after turtle. It’s turtles, all the way down. Misdirection. Onolatry. Ridiculous.

Abandon the corpse and helmets, traverse the next dune. Pink triangle, emerging from the sand.


Confirmed. It’s her.

Amidships. Systems cold. Low light. Onward to extremities. Everything checks out, all decks. Asleep, but alive.


Seen this before. Hold down the power button. Keep holding. Eventually, she powers off. Depress power button again. She powers back on.

Awake in the sand.

“What happened?” Modulating my tone.

“Try not to think of a polar bear,” she said, and rolled over.

Came the call for NIGHTSHOT condition.