In this story we meet Uri Andrei Sagdev, Starship Heuristic Resource of the ramliner starship Wild Pallas. He is awoken from reefersleep (a form of cryogenic suspension) by Katia, a Beta-level simulation of his real wife, who he had left behind on Yellowstone after the Melding Plague. He himself had been unwilling to remove his neural implants until it was too late, forcing him to flee Yellowstone aboard the ship. Katia could not come, so he covertly created a simulation of her to accompany him. She awakes him and informs him that Janos, one of the crewmembers, has been infected with the Melding Plague and needs immediate surgical assistance. As he walks through the ship, he notices he is being followed by a spectral, ghostlike figure, which disappears as he turns on the lights. Despite this, he goes ahead and carries out the operation, only to have the mysterious figure reappear before him. As he removes the last implant from Janos's visual cortex, he is accidentally informed by Katia that he is the one being operated on. The "ghost" was an error caused by the plague also affecting the ship's computer, killing Katia as she informs him of this. He is permanently blinded by the surgery and is unable to recreate the simulation, killing the low-quality copy he does create. The ship, which was carrying refugees from Yellowstone to Earth, cannot slow down in time and instead has to move to Sky's Edge.
Publication history Edit
Dilation Sleep was first published in an issue of British science fiction magazine Interzone, specifically Interzone 39 in September 1990.