AFTERMATH

The feelings were decidedly bittersweet. Governor Argus won reelection in her final campaign, but elsewhere her party experienced shocking disappointment that’s still being processed.
Even the outcome of the Governor’s race ended up being anticlimactic, since it came to a conclusion not with a bang but the whimper of Claude Carp’s disappearance. After he ran off into the ocean there was speculation that he’d drowned, but of course we knew that couldn’t happen to someone who is actually merfolk. Then, the next day there were cryptic messages sent from his cell phone that proved he was still alive. The human authorities are looking for him, and his assets have been impounded. There’s an international search for him underway on both land and sea. (Too bad that the humans are unable to coordinate with their aquatic law enforcement colleagues, since they don’t know they exist.)
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DIGGING FOR EVIDENCE

Days before the deadlocked election, Remora received word from her fellow merfolk that Samantha’s blue whale was nearing the coast. No reason was given, but Samantha knew it had to be important.
Samantha and Remora arrived at the pier before dawn and spotted the whale in the distant waters. Then something landed in the sand behind them.
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DEADLOCK

It’s nine days before the election and Samantha’s mother is in the fight of her life. Polls show that she and Claude Carp are tied, with neither moving much up or down. It will all come down to turnout.
Governor Argus is generally well-liked in the state, but this is a year when it can be a liability to be an insider. Of course, that skill in brokering deals in the legislature is what propelled her from being an unknown state senator to the Governor’s mansion. It’s ironic, then, for her to be seen as the Establishment candidate when she only won her first race a mere 14 years ago.
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SABBATICAL

Samantha was greatly annoyed when the department chair, Professor Alelle, insisted that her voyage to Mars be regarded by the university as a sabbatical. While it’s true that she’ll be taking time off from her department duties and obligations, she’s slightly insulted by the bureaucratic designation.
In the end she went along, filling out the required forms. She’s not in this for the fame; after all, the project won’t be revealed to the public until after the crew is actually launched. She just wants the achievement to be recognized with the respect it deserves.
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BAKE SALE

One of the ironies about Samantha’s awesome powers of genetics is her insistence on keeping them under wraps. While she continues to pursue her research she’s unable to profit from it, saying that humanity isn’t yet ready for such responsibilities. One doesn’t have to look far to know she’s right. Maturity seems in short supply these days.
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FLYTRAP

Certain mysteries about Gregor were cleared up this week.

When he was born with a layer of green skin that conducted photosynthesis, it was obvious that he’d inherited one of the traits of his parents’ many transformations. The question was, which one? There had been so many, including plant species.

Added to that was the issue of how he was able to process both protein and sunlight in a way that kept him healthy (which he thankfully is).  The concern was that the extra sugar from his photosynthesis would elevate his blood sugar, but that hasn’t happened.
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MORE SPACE PREPARATION

Gradually, everyone’s lives are beginning to be focused on the 2018 journey to Mars. For the past few years it’s been regarded as something to be dealt with in the distant future, but now that future is getting ever closer.
In Samantha’s case, she’s stopped agreeing to be on the committees of doctoral students. University professors are expected to serve on the doctoral committees of students going for a Ph.D., which is a process that takes at least several years. Samantha is currently on three committees, the last of which is scheduled to get her doctorate in the fall of 2017. After that, it’s off to Mars.
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ROUTINE

After years of athletic stardom and the unsettled existence that comes in the same package, Dave has adjusted to a major lifestyle change. He’s back living on the same street where he grew up, barreling down the hill on his skateboard where he’d end up on Samantha’s lawn.
Now, his day begins waking up with Samantha, his wife of three years. She leaves to teach and do research at Havens University, and he departs for a different building on campus.
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CARP CAMPAIGN

Samantha’s mother is in a tough fight for reelection against a political outsider named Claude Carp. The voters don’t know how much of an outsider he really is; being secretly merfolk. Even though Gov. Argus knows that, she refuses to make it public.
That may or may not be politically wise, but one has to admire her integrity. For now, though, it’s complicating her chances. She’s the incumbent in a year where many seek change. It’s ironic to put the Establishment label on her, since only fifteen years ago she was just a concerned citizen running for her local school board.
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LAB SECURITY

At the genetics lab it’s vital that the experimental subjects aren’t released into the wild (and when they are, only after they’re changed into plants and rooted in one spot). The dodos are an exception, but then, they’re an exception in every respect.
All other animals are confined to the lab. Vince has helped make it impossible for rodents to get in or out; for their own safety, he asserts. Another line of defense is Stan.
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