Emergency Management Protocol by C.C.S. Ryan

This is the next story in the Events Horizon 2017 Anthology.

Published: September 2016 in Fireside Magazine

Genre: science fiction

Setting: a newly colonized planet, far future

Summary: Zory has finally decided to break up with Nia, just as soon as she can get her girlfriend on the phone. Before that happens, though, there’s a big earthquake up north. Zory is safe, but Nia is trapped in a data storage building and no one knows where she is. Nia is able to tap into the communications network enough to send text messages to Zory and let her know what the situation is. Zory heads to her municipal job and helps create an AI network to scan the feeds for damage and people in trouble. Nia is rescued because of Zory’s work, and Zory realizes she probably should have made more of an effort to meet people before the emergency.

Final thoughts: A fun little story. There are two main elements to the story – the dying relationship between Zory and Nia, and the reaction to the emergency. Once again, an emergency gives people the chance to come together and do something meaningful, creating bonds between neighbors and co-workers. Zory’s pretty much been hiding in her house, annoyed that Nia isn’t around much. She hasn’t made any effort to meet other people or find something fun to do. It’s only when disaster strikes that she wakes up and realizes there are cool people around her and she doesn’t have to rely on Nia for fun and companionship.

Title comes from: Everyone with a municipal job has to undergo emergency management protocol training, and it comes in handy when the earthquake strikes.

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