Title: The Fairer Sex
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Jonas waited on his bunk, hands clasped behind his neck, counting ceiling tiles. There were sixty-four. He knew because he counted them whenever he waited for something to happen. He waited a lot.
A sharp knock at the door. He jumped to answer it, compound-issued sneakers squeaking on the linoleum. Dennis, dressed in his customary purple coveralls, stood grinning on the other side. Sometimes Jonas was grateful he was an evaluator, if only for the green threads.
"So, is it a go?" he asked, moving aside to let Dennis in.
"I may have heard through the grapevine we're on for tomorrow."
"Finally." Jonas shifted his weight on the balls of his feet--a fighter's impulse. "It's been too long."
"Orville is giving a tour to some female tomorrow, we're hoping he'll be thoroughly distracted. We're using the soundproof room on the third floor of the administration building."
It sounded perfect, adrenaline pounded through his system. Tomorrow, for the first time in months, he'd be washing blood from his knuckles.
Samantha was accustomed to being early. In school she'd always been in her seat before the bell rang, and she had regularly shown up for soccer practice while the field was still being mowed. Even for her delivery, a scheduled c-section due to a breeched baby, she had shown up three hours early in full labor. No c-section necessary.
Punctual as usual that morning, she unbuckled her daughter one-handedly while balancing a briefcase between her knee and chin.