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~4~

Chaim quaked under another deluge of sweat. The agent noticed and leaned toward him. “Why are you nervous?” Chaim swallowed hard. “I-I hate flying. That is all.” “Do you have anything of value to declare? Money? Banned substances...like liquor? Anything you will sell or leave behind on New Mecca?” “No. Nothing.” He could not meet the man’s eyes. After a long moment, the agent handed Chaim his papers. “Go to entry kiosk five to pick up your luggage. Welcome to New Mecca.” Chaim tipped his hat then walked toward the kiosk. Totally farschvitzed, his tunic hung as if he came out of a shower. He wiped his forehead as he stood in line at the kiosk. I must stay calm. They have not checked any bags in front of me. The baggage clerk wore a brown and white uniform rather than robes, but the ever-present keffiyeh perched above his black-bearded face. He looked at the ticket Chaim proffered, then retrieved his suitcase and lifted it to the counter. “What do you have in here?” “Personal effects. I’m just visiting. Visiting.” The clerk’s mouth quirked as he looked at Chaim. “You sweat much. Is it too warm for you here?” Chaim nodded spastically. The agent popped the latches on the suitcase. Oy, gevalt. He will find it. I am dead.

Extinction  

The Galactic Circle Veterinary Service responds to a call for help from the planet New Mecca, the galaxy's center of the Islamic faith. Dr....

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