Pseudopod 169: The Disconnected


By David Steffen

Read by Rich Sigfrit

“I’m glad you volunteered tonight. I’m not sure I’m ready to go solo again quite yet.” Tim pointed at a nasty welt on his own neck before he popped the neck brace in place. “This gear saved my life, but it still hurts to swallow.”

He pushed the inner door open with a click. They stood at one end of a long hallway, lined with glass rooms, most occupied by leashed Disconnected. Before they started Tim’s rounds, they did a quick walk through of the facility, which was just more hallways of glass rooms, all on one level. Some of the Disconnected looked out at them. Others were sleeping, or eating.

“All Disconnected present and accounted for,” Tim said.

“See, Harken?” the chief said. “There’s no way it could have been a Disconnected.”

“You’re probably right, Chief.”

They walked back to the staging room to grab Tim’s cleaning cart.

“Why are all the Disconnected naked?” Harken asked.

“You want to put clothes on them? They’d never stay clean, then. I’d have to sedate them to dress and undress them, and what would be the point?”

“I suppose you’re right…” It just seemed so disrespectful. Each of them had been a person once, with a family.

Check out this author’s list of favorite Pseudopod episodes, replete with links to each one in our archives.

About the Author

David Steffen

David Steffen writes video processing algorithms for traffic control systems by day, and writes fiction at other times. He lives with his wife and three dogs in Minnesota.

He is the co-founder of the Submission Grinder, and co-edits the non-fiction zine Diabolical Plots. His fiction has been published in many great venues including Escape Pod, Daily Science FictionBull SpecAE, and Pseudopod, as well as Tina Connolly’s Toasted Cake podcast.

David has been running periodic “Best Of” podcast fiction lists for many years.

He has also created the Long List Anthology, which is a self-publishing anthology project collecting stories from the longer Hugo Award nomination list. (Info and vendors here.) Among other points of interest, it includes several stories that have been previously published in Escape Artists casts: “Makeisha in Time“, “The Truth About Owls“, “When It Ends, He Catches Her

David has been a dedicated listener to all the Escape Artists podcasts for years, and you can find him on the forum as “Unblinking”.

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