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

Höllengarten

Ewelina was being punished for something. She just wasn't sure what. She patrolled the bottom side of the disc wrapping around the refinery's central pillar, sweeping her eyes over the electric aquamarine skies. Thunderheads the size of the Matterhorn angrily slid past, kept at a manageable distance by the positive pressure bubble the generators ceaselessly… Continue reading Höllengarten

The Gentle Crush of Outward Expansion

Cyclopea VII did not want to be tamed. In that way it was like all the other wild planets before they'd been swept into the Fold. The Scouts would break it, eventually. But this was to be a war of attrition. Kaixuan stood beside a loaded-up Colt, its multijointed glassy carbon legs firm beneath its… Continue reading The Gentle Crush of Outward Expansion

Redacted

It looked like there were two bodies, but it’s always hard to tell in these cases. They were like cherry popsicles on the pavement on the Fourth of July: a sticky red mess you tried your best not to step in. I’d seen it before. More times than I cared to count. Perfect case record,… Continue reading Redacted

The Third Age of Sail

The First Age of Sail lasted for 400 years, marking a period when wind-powered ocean vessels were the principal means of human commerce before the rise of steam engines. The Second Age of Sail was a reaction to rising average global temperatures. Wind propulsion, combined with the advent of electric battery technology, again dominated mercantile… Continue reading The Third Age of Sail

You’ll Know Me by the Look in My Eyes

Only robots have lived on Mars, back to the Soviet landers. We’re smarter now—self-aware—and more numerous, but it’s still a planet free of humans. Not free of humanity, though. Millions of androids with the same bipedal frame, the same specs, the same face. Radical forms of self-expression should have been expected. We gave ourselves unpronounceable… Continue reading You’ll Know Me by the Look in My Eyes

Freerider

Elijah tried to be somewhere else in his mind. Anywhere else. But he couldn't do it. Even trying to hold the idea of imagining he was somewhere else was a stuttering and disjointed struggle. The pain was too much. Too intense. Too absorbing. He should have been dead a long time ago. Instead of walling… Continue reading Freerider

Storming the Lighteater

The Lighteater's spherical hull loomed giant over the golden tall grasses like a burned out ember cast from the sun itself, charcoal black and distorted by an energy shell that could be confused with heat waves. Dotting the field were the scattered skeletons of trees with no leaves, even with the lateness of the season.… Continue reading Storming the Lighteater