By Andrew D. Wright

I'd heard the stories and seen the vids of the ...stuff... they sometimes got back. It was pure bad luck if you were tagged by a search beam after you had put a mountain range between you and the nearest link.
The fact that links were the safest method of travel ever invented is cold comfort when you do luck out. It was time for me to face my options. The one person who might have gotten a search started in time was gone. My guts twisted reflexively at that. On the other hand, I could feel the burning rays of the sun sear my skin. I wasn't going to last long here. No vegetation in sight and the air from an open kiln held more moisture than what I was breathing.
Playing with the coder was now a fifty/fifty proposition; I would live... or not. I wondered how Schrodinger got his cat in the box in the first place. I felt a sudden kinship to the hypothetical feline.