The issue closes with the longest story, a novella that gets progressively deeper.
The initial setup appears straightforward – on a space station orbiting, and drawing energy from a very, very remote blazar, the solo crew member is about to be relieved of duty, for a bit of R&R back home. Thing is Tamara is connected (intimately we find out) the ship’s AI ad is reluctant to sever that link and hand over to her replacement, especially as her replacement is a very young man whom she doesn’t take to at all.
We follow Tamara’s conversations with the young man, and the AI, Hala, with whom we soon find she is intimately connected, going back to when Hala was a human in her pre-AI days (and Tamara’s role in that).
It soon becomes clear that Tamara isn’t entirely reliable, and when the shuttle which brought her replacement is destroyed by explosion, things get very tricky for the pair (especially as the young man now has the link to the AI and does not want to relinquish this).
Tamara struggles further when finally help arrives, as due to time dilation, the office who turns up to adjudicate as to what has happened, is very far from baseline human than Tamara remembers. Intriguingly, the story appears to end with several pages to go, and the reader gradually realises that in fact the real story has even further to go (as do Tamara and Hala).
More from this issue here.