Excerpt from my short story "Willy"

“I’m logging this information for my own personal use, as I’m having trouble keeping track of everything that’s been going on. It’s hard to explain. The implant continues to function perfectly, as far as I can tell, and any suspicions I may have had have been quelled by the ships chronometer, which is infallible. But I’ve started to notice things, just little things here and there, which don’t quite add up. For example, two days ago, I performed scheduled, routine maintenance in the hydroponic bay. I took the usual readings, cleared out the troughs, checked the nozzle heads, and took growth measurements. Nothing out of the ordinary to report. But then, yesterday, Willy sent me back into hydroponics to perform an emergency procedure - a converter in one of the wall panels had blown. I’ve told Willy many, many times that I was concerned by the condensation in the bay, and that the temperature controls were set too high, but all he says is “Commander Wilkins, everything is within normal operational parameters” etc. etc. Anyway, I knew something was off the second I walked in there. I was swatting branches out of my face just to get to the back wall, when just the day before it had been mostly clear. On a whim, I took some of the same growth measurements I had taken the previous day, and the results were puzzling to say the least. One of the tomato vines in particular was highly anomalous, having grown a full thirteen inches, in less than twenty four hours! I checked and double checked everything, the measurements, the chronometer, my implant settings, and everything checks out. But I don’t know, I’m no horticulturalist and maybe, in these extreme conditions such a growth spurt isn’t completely out of the ordinary. And if there was something going wrong with the implant and I was being kept under for extended periods, then surely I would experience extra hair and beard growth, or body odour, which I can report is not the case. So, I’ve come up with an idea. In the morning, I’m going to attempt to access the level eight secure data on the ships computer. I only have a level seven decryption tag, so it isn’t going to be easy, but if there’s one thing I’m good for it’s getting what I need out of a computer system – five years of specialised cyber security training have seen to that. So, what am I looking for? Well, this afternoon I remembered an old conversation with associate administrator King, about the subjects used in the initial testing phase of the Nebulon-AZ3 active sleep implant. His daughter Tabatha, an ESF trainee, had volunteered for the testing – under Administrator King’s encouragement, no doubt, to ensure transparency. So my thinking is that there has to be some sort of record of that testing, or at the very least a blueprint or technical manual explaining the inner workings of the device. It’s a simple case of investigation and elimination, and I’m eager to get my teeth into the history of this implant that I so hastily stuck inside my body. I hope it’s all above board, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to find a nice little piece of the puzzle hidden away in there somewhere. Wilkins out.”

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