Heroic Relics by Catherine H. Shaffer

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Oct 24, 2014 in Reviews |

Buzzy Mag
Author Website: http://www.catherineshaffer.com/


Sabrina Smith has settled nicely into her second career as a veterinarian. She finds working with animals much more rewarding than her former paper pushing job as an army intelligence analyst. Her work is intense, yet predictable, that is until she receives the strangest pair of visitors at her clinic:

She was examining a llama in the back pasture of her clinic when she noticed two men, who definitely didn’t fit in, standing at the rail. They obviously wanted her attention, but she let them hang while she decided who and what she thought they were. With their black suits and sunglasses, they looked like government types. More likely, they were lawyers. They didn’t have an animal with them, so that was a pretty big clue they weren’t customers. The taller one looked impatient, like he had some place else he needed to be and soon. The shorter man looked more relaxed, almost like he was enjoying the view.

Curiosity finally got the better of her, and she handed the llama’s halter to her assistant technician. She walked over to the fence and addressed the taller visitor. “If you’ve brought your friend here to get neutered, I’m all booked up until Tuesday.”

The taller man chuckled, and the shorter one flushed. “I’m Roger Sears, NASA mission support specialist. We came about your application to the astronaut corps.”

“What? I filled that out ten years ago,” Sabrina said. Now it was her turn to blush. She’d applied to NASA in a manic period between the army and vet school. It had been kind of a crazy thing to do.

“Well, we have a job for you.”

“I don’t understand,” said Sabrina. “I thought the manned space flight program was disbanded, ever since the Soyuz accident.”

“It was,” said the shorter man. He hadn’t introduced himself yet. “But something has come up.”

And something definitely has come up. An alien ship has landed on the moon, and they need Sabrina’s vet expertise and security clearance to help transport the alien back to Earth. Growing up, she’d always wanted to be a veterinarian-spy-astronaut-princess, and if she takes these MiB up on their offer, she’ll be almost all the way there.

This was a fun, lighthearted piece, so I kinda feel bad for poking holes in it, but I had a really hard time suspending my belief for this one. I liked that they picked a vet over a doctor, since vets would be more versed in different physiologies, and it was fun to see someone’s childhood fantasy come true in the weirdest of ways. But everything just seemed too convenient, as if the plot were driving the story instead of the characters. The conversations seemed overly scripted for a laugh, technology failed right when it was supposed to, and worked right when it was supposed to. There were a couple hilarious moments with the alien, (space suits!), but that could have been so much deeper. Sabrina is the first one to meet a person from a different world, but she seems about as excited as she would be setting a dog’s broken leg.

In any case, if you’re looking for something whimsical and space related, give this a read. It’s nice having something to counteract all of the heavy/depressing pieces, but I just wish this had been a little more believable for me.

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