JANE IN SPACE
Miss Polly Connor
Chapter 12 – In which Miss Austen awakes from sleep. Again.
Miss Austen woke again, but in a bed this time — not a bee’s tiny cubicle, one of a million in the hive. She felt drowsy, thick of tongue and of mind, struggling to clarify recent memory.
Then a hole opened up in the wall, bzzz-clank — not opening inwards or out, like the work of a good honest craftsman, but more like the earth falling away into a sinkhole. The same ensign who’d greeted her in the horrid nightmare hall of glass coffins stepped through, and stepped forward, smiling at Miss Austen.
And Jane Austen cowered away — dazed, and forgotten and frightened, much less the doughty British lady of quality. Was dimly aware, doing so, that she was wearing a proper nightgown, now, if one of odd construction, which meant — which meant —
“You stuck a pin in me,” Miss Austen, second daughter of the Hampshire Austens, said faintly. “You stuck a pin in me, and then you did it again, and I fell asleep, you –“
“Oh, dear, Miss –” The young officer consulted a little black cube, which seemed to speak to her in its own devilish heathen tongue, beeping and squealing. “Mistress Austen. I did administer you a sedative, a medical necessity considering the condition you were getting yourself into, but only a very mild one. See, you’re awake, and good as new!”
And the creature removed its silvery peaked cap, to scratch at its head, and confirmed the bizarre suspicions that had been fomenting in Miss Austen’s breast on one particular subject.