“Faster than light!” reflected Dr Smeaton, sitting in Obama Lunar Base. A screen showed a scene on Earth, a pubescent girl with protruding teeth, connected to electrical equipment. “Ready?”
The girl, Tibby, nodded.
Smeaton pressed a button. A random number appeared behind him, occluded by a metal plate.
“Seven.” Tibby smiled.
The plate slid up, revealing the number seven.
“I haven’t pressed it yet!”
Doing so, number sixteen showed.
“Four, eighteen, the next two …”
Correct, before pressing the button! Smeaton felt a cold chill. “Break time!”
“Tibby, how d’you do it? So accurate!”
She laughed. “It’s like I’m inside the machine. I kinda feel the numbers coming!”
Suddenly, two military types entered Smeaton’s room. One wore a beret, the other carried a small black case.
Beret-man spoke. “Look Doc, enough!”
“What d’you mean?”
“If the commies get hold of her, then … no more friggin’ secrets!”
“We’ll look after her!”
“Too risky, Doc. Sorry!”
Beret-man grabbed Smeaton’s arms, the other took a syringe from the case, jabbing the needle into Smeaton’s neck. Smeaton keeled over, cracking his face on the desk.
The screen showed Tibby, likewise crumpled on the floor.
Beret-man dialled a number, “Job done, sir.”
Featured in the book and audiobook, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
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