The Last Wonder

Above, thick bundles of diamond nanotubes cut thousands of parallel vertical lines in the air, disappearing in low cloud cover. Below, the ruins. The buildings that were still standing were either skeletons or bloating, sagging corpses. Shipping containers were strewn about among the hulls of gondolas like a knocked-over bucket of Legos. Capsized ships and… Continue reading The Last Wonder

Learning to Run

Humanity was born on Earth, and the Sol system was where they learned to crawl. And crawl they did, to Mars, and to Mercury, and to Titan. They got so comfortable with crawling that they eventually crawled all the way to the Centauri Coast—Alpha Two, orbiting Rigel Kentaurus—on a three-kilometer generation ship that somehow managed… Continue reading Learning to Run

Cosmic Evolution

Imre stood in the trampled, muddy snow waiting for the commotion to pass. His tidy black dreadlocks hung down over his shoulders and swayed in the frigid wind gusts. The officers were doing their best to secure Javier Lacoste in the drone ship, but he was putting up a hell of a fight. Wouldn't help… Continue reading Cosmic Evolution

Hunters

Pelpoloi saw the first of Kepler-22b's satellites rise over the mountain peak and scrambled into a narrow crevice in the rock face. Pelpoloi didn't know what a satellite was and had no need to. The entire concept of the HXX—Habitable Exoplanet Exploration initiative—would confound him. His language lacked so many of the words needed to… Continue reading Hunters

Avatar of the Apostle

Eliza padded barefoot along the glass-smooth deck, humming softly to herself on her way to the simulum. He was waiting for her when she arrived. Right on time. He always appeared when she'd find him most distasteful. The Avatar of the Apostle. She walked right through him—his voxels exploding and reassembling in her wake—and took… Continue reading Avatar of the Apostle

Supersonic Solar Surfer

"So what do you do?" Rhoda looked up from her bowl of micrograins and green sauce—some sort of macronutrient vegetable purée that had more smell than taste. She'd thought she was alone in the Utnapishtim's galley; she was still groggy from cryo, not fully thawed yet. The man before her seemed too young for his… Continue reading Supersonic Solar Surfer

Big Wins

There was an Attack Macaque in the courtyard—AM-120 from the looks of it: forward infantry mecha, fast, and trigger happy for an AI. But that's not what worried Daiju. He was worried about the mushroom cap standing guard, so called for their umbrella-like helmets. It wasn't a nice term. Wasn't meant to be. They fancied themselves… Continue reading Big Wins

Flying High

Saoirse was floating through a giant spherical kaleidoscope, or at least that's how it felt. The feeling was due in large part to the Lighthouse's location in the galactic core, surrounded by the bloated furnaces and black fissures that comprised this lonely carousel. However, some of the feeling undoubtedly came from the pills. She was… Continue reading Flying High

Real Bad Debt

The smell of rotten eggs was suddenly strong and inescapable. It made Florencia scrunch her nose, and her back teeth floated. She scooted off the hard and scratchy sofa, shifting her weight from one hip to the other until she was up. Her slippered feet shuffled over the engineered vinyl flooring to the sliding door,… Continue reading Real Bad Debt

Betrayal Among Brothers

Castiel held Ishaan with his eyes through 3mm of vacuum-hardened plastic. It may as well have been 10 meters of lead. They'd been as close as brothers, once. But the tides of time erode brothers as easily as shorelines; it's not a measure of virtue or desire, or even grit, but of the accelerating expansion… Continue reading Betrayal Among Brothers