Fossils

Tucker sat knee-to-knee across from Evelyn inside the cramped crawler. The cabin was three cubic meters, but most of that space was taken up by equipment crates, the contents of which he could only speculate about. Even so, it was better than being out in the elements just beyond the crawler's specially-built walls and redundant… Continue reading Fossils

Half Done

It started with a bar fight. I don’t remember what started the swinging, but I do know that I swung first, and I did it with a double rocks glass in my hand. Dark liquor and darker blood covered the big man’s droopy, drawn-out face and sharp little pebbles of glass scattered over the floorboards.… Continue reading Half Done

Temple of Seamless Iteration

Breaking every promise he'd made to himself, Grant found himself once again in the shining, shifting heart of the Temple of Seamless Iteration. The golden panels lining the long enclosure fluttered in their waving way, gracefully forming now a vaulted ceiling and then a dome of nested arches, always moving uniformly, symmetrically, and silently like… Continue reading Temple of Seamless Iteration

Pests

I spare no more love for bugs than for those godless neighbors of mine, the Midgleys. Neither of ‘em ain’t worth killin’; better avoided. But when that space rock plowed a furrow crosswise through my bean field? No avoidin’ that. S’pose it’s some kinda meteor, but it coulda been a cow pie seein’ it was… Continue reading Pests

I Think, Therefore I Amnesia

“That event horizon’s only getting closer, ExI. Punch the coordinates and jump us out.” The android froze and tilted its face up toward the overhead above the helm. “Aw hell, Exoanthropic Intelligence my left foot! Don’t tell me you can’t remember.” “Bulk expulsion of superannuated data is a hallmark of higher-order cognition.” It pressed its… Continue reading I Think, Therefore I Amnesia

Subroutine

||Error S712: continuum rupture|| //Launching «backfire» subroutine /Analyzing\ ||Irretrievable chronology|| //Executing «retrojaunt» /Setting delta minima\ ||-1 minute|| ||Fuel: sufficient|| /Scanning jaunt chamber\ ||Lifeforms: negative|| /Triggering\ ||INSTABILITY|| /Override: authority «backfire»\ /Triggering\ ||Complete|| /Temporal preservation cooldown: trigger lockout\ «retrojaunt»\\ /Analyzing\ ||Stable chronology|| ||Lifeforms: positive|| ||Security breach|| //Executing «retrojaunt» ||Trigger lockout|| «retrojaunt»\\ //Executing security protocol «blue lambda» ||Antagonists:… Continue reading Subroutine

What Comes Lurking in the Light

Miria’s eyesight was poor, and that was before the hibernation sickness. She awoke alone. The Mon Chou was as deathly quiet as space itself. It was a freighter—unglamorous, but cheaper than a passenger transport—hauling a wormhole mouth to Khambalia. Miria wandered the identical empty corridors. Motion sensors kept her spotlit within the surrounding blackness. By… Continue reading What Comes Lurking in the Light

Last One There’s a Rotten Egg

Harris and Sanchez bunny-hopped into the chasm in the reduced gravity of this strange world, but Kwon held back. Despite the surveillance and the simulations and the successes of the rovers she was deeply unsettled. Petrified eggs—larger than the Zaqar lander the astronauts flew in on—sat half submerged in a pool of hydrocarbons at the… Continue reading Last One There’s a Rotten Egg

Mind is Mind

The small jump shuttle, its name and serial numbers and various tracking devices destroyed in faraway systems, hard docked with the remote outpost. The ship had never been here before, but the pilot had. Sofia shut down the engines and locked the thrusters. Then she started up the various maintenance cycles, including the FTL scrubber… Continue reading Mind is Mind

A Taste of Vengeance

The morning sky is black, thick with the ash spit from the stacks of the trawlers. The metal-plated machines stretch two kilometers straight upward, maybe more, with wide bases that could cover my entire village twice over. They hover on a cushion of plasma and crawl across the surface in long, ponderous paths, harvesting the… Continue reading A Taste of Vengeance