Stealing Secrets From the Dead

She didn't feel a pulse, and he wasn't breathing. He was dead; the dumb kid was dead. But River wasn't about to call the authorities. Her little 27-hour tea shop enjoyed the best Net connection on the planet because she'd tapped into the government hardline by digging down to it through the basement. It made… Continue reading Stealing Secrets From the Dead

Race to the Bottom

Jorde climbed further and further, placing each step with great care, further than anyone had ever gone before. He was nearing the bottom. The glorious cream-colored mesas of Apexa towered dauntingly over him, rising miles and miles into the stratosphere. The air along the plateaus of their summits was light enough to be oxygen rich… Continue reading Race to the Bottom

Shed

Imogen had shed. The disease was native to Anaxagoras and wiped out the first two settlements completely, but in the decades since then there hadn't been a single case. It had been a simple matter of changing the airlock procedures to include a quick burst of UV light--not much different from a tanning bed. It was… Continue reading Shed

Short Circuit

A blast of roiling heat momentarily fogged up the outside of Sri's visor, and even through her suit's insulation the flash caused sweat to bead up on the nape of her neck and roll down her spine. She glided into the engine compartment of the Khamseen and pulled the hatch shut behind her, sliding the mechanical… Continue reading Short Circuit

Glass Houses

Gage was looking at Charlotte, entranced by the way the wisps of hair from behind her ear drew delicate lines over her slender neck. But she was looking at the Quant. "Do you know what this is?" she asked. The underlit glass structure before them loomed heavy. Gage followed the etched tracks within the main… Continue reading Glass Houses

Lexicon

Paa set up her shop on a dusty road an hour's ride from the spaceport at Ibreseem. It was a little difficult to get to, and that was the point. Tourists thought it was authentic. The 61 Virginis tourism board had cultivated and maintained a rich mythology for centuries--a fabricated mythology to be sure, but… Continue reading Lexicon

What Could Go Wrong?

...Researchers in Boston today announced they've completed genetic mapping of Argiope bruennichi, commonly known as the wasp spider, indicating that they've isolated the genes responsible for manufacturing dragline silk. Known for its toughness, ductility, and strength-to-weight ratio, there are numerous applications for... ...but while they appear unremarkable, these dairy cattle are part of a long-running… Continue reading What Could Go Wrong?

Portraits of the Patriarchy

Hayden Alico stood in the grand foyer of Alico Station's spinning torus. The grand foyer was next to the docking berths--it was meant to impress. But it had never impressed her. She climbed the imposing regal staircase, with its hand carved banisters and silver inlays emphasizing the theme of dynastic power, until she reached the… Continue reading Portraits of the Patriarchy

Weak Stomach

Before today, the only time Specialist Gordon saw live fire was on the range, and he'd anticipated it staying that way. The Tarnhelm was a patrol frigate that stuck to the mercantile routes, mostly performing random inspections and enforcing trade permits. He never imagined he'd get into a firefight on a pirate vessel, and now that… Continue reading Weak Stomach