Author : Sallie Lau

I am listening to Ocean Acidification and the Prisoners of Omega when they come in.

It’s the 0.05 mark of this Mu-sec. Of course it’s them. Them and their perfectly-proportioned domains.

I doodle on a spare beta sheet, feigning indifference. But now they’re standing right across from me and I can see each amino acid dotted on their body and it’s lovely and organized and chaotic and I doodle harder and –

Oh shit. I’ve mutated my doodle.

They clear their throat. My cheeks heat up.

“Can I help you?”

“I need something printed.”

“Yes, well. You’ve come to the right place. This is a print shop. We print – ”

They look at me with their ochre gaze, and I am spellbound into silence. They slide across a USBase stick. A sleek, perfectly-proportioned USBase stick.

“How many copies?” I ask, even though I know the answer. It’s The Answer, because it’s the answer that everyone gives.

“Two, thank you.”

When you’ve been working at the print shop for a long time, you’ll start having favourite customers. And when you start having favourite customers, you’ll start thinking of ways to become their favourite employee.

“We actually have a deal this Mu-sec,” I tell them.


“Mmm-hmmm,” I flash them a smile, “It’s two for the price of one. The second copy’s on the house. Complementary.”

Watson and Cr*ck! I hope I have enough Nucs in my bank account to cover what’s “complementary”.

“Oh,” they beam at me, and I blush even harder, “that’s wonderful!”

That’s right. I’m wonderful.

I take the USBase stick and insert it into HelicaseTM, our state-of-the-art initiator.

“So, when should I come back for it?”

“It’ll only take two Nan-secs.” I’m underestimating and I know it and they know it. But I want them to stay so I can admire their peps.

“Ehhh, I’m afraid I can’t hang around. I’ll be back by 0.08.”

They’re one domain out the door.

“Wait!” I say, “ Do you want an audio version as well?”

They pause.

“Who’s reading?”

“DNA Pol III.”

Their lip curls, “DeePeeThree? They make an awful lot of mistakes, don’t they?”

I gape at them, offended. “DeePeeThree’s the best reader we’ve got!”

“I much prefer the father. Let me know when DeePeeTwo comes on.”

And with that, the bell of the print shop tinkles, and my customer is gone.

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