The looking glass now contained a love letter to a boy in Waltham, a maudlin faun pining while he held his pipes, and a thousand other faces and images. Whatever had infected her and Cora had spread and crept over Brook Farm like vines on an old stone.
The boss has with his back to you. He grips a machine shaped like a hexagonal ship’s wheel. You saw an image of it recently in a trade magazine in his office: a newly-invented window cleaning drone. Unlike he said days ago, he isn’t firing you because he found cheaper labor, but because he has decided that a robot is better than you.
I’d been dreaming of something red that morning. Fire. Explosions, plumes of thick smoke. And for a moment, I saw again a line of trees catching light, blazing up into torches. A wall of roaring flame along the highway. I was in the car with my family; we were trying to escape, Dad driving as fast as the traffic allowed; and I whimpered and squeezed my eyes shut but even so I could feel the Angels watching through the flame.
Sonya imagined escape after escape—run like hell? Scream for help? […] She resolved to make her death a screaming, thrashing one. Give the woman a few scars or bruises to remember her by.
“Kindly take off your armor and write it on these sheets of paper. You will get it back on exit. Please put your shoes, gloves, helmets and masks in this basket. You must enter the cardinal chambers willingly, and you must do so naked.”
In terms of the legal system, volunteering would be a viable alternative to life in prison. Volunteers would never return to Earth once they left, so the British government acquiesced to let him sign up.