by Alex Shvartsman
Alex Shvartsman is a writer and game designer. His adventures so far have included traveling to over 30 countries, playing a card game for a living, and building a successful business. Alex resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and son. His fiction has appeared in IGMS, Nature, Galaxy’s Edge, Daily Science Fiction, and many other venues. He is the winner of the 2014 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction. Learn more at http://www.alexshvartsman.com.
The investigators arrived in the morning. Father Laughlin and Father Sauer trudged through the dense, chilly fog from their shuttle to the spaceport terminal just as the twin suns of the Tau system began to paint the eastern horizon in yellow hues.
“Thank Christ you’re finally here,” said Abbot Fierni, who was waiting for them in the relative warmth of the terminal. “I’ve been bombarding the Vatican with messages for weeks. He’s on to The First Epistle of John by now and should be finished within days. I fervently prayed that you would arrive in time to witness the miracle firsthand.”
Both priests shook his hand and made no comment on the timing of their arrival. The Abbot was outrageously lucky; the Vatican’s typical response to a miracle claim this far out on the edge of occupied space was measured in years rather than weeks. The fact that they were nearby, looking into a stigmata report on a planet only ten light years away, was a minor miracle in its own right. But informing the Abbot, so certain of the urgency of his case, would’ve been unkind.
“Here he is.” The Abbot made a show of opening the thin wooden door into one of the monastery’s living spaces. Inside the small room was a bipedal insectoid alien, its five foot tall chitinous frame hunched over a workbench. It was writing in an enormous book.
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