$8000 for 8 weeks! $12,000 for 12 weeks!

Fountains of multicolored dollar signs erupted behind the text on my screen. God. They must be getting desperate.

I blanked out the ad and read the comics. The hospital at the NATO base was always offering money for something, but getting it usually involved having needles in your arm or tubes up your nose or in various other places. For that much money, it had to be unpleasant. When the ad popped up again, I poured myself a second cup of coffee and started decoding the legalese.

I didn’t really need the money, of course. As long as Gerry was beyond lunar orbit my dependent’s allowance was $1600 a month, and I picked up enough decrypting vocals to pay for snacks and beer. When Gerry got back (if he got back, a little voice whispered), we’d go home to Nash and start our family. So why was I dawdling at the kitchen table reading the ads?

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