Canaries

Trent never committed a crime, but he found himself a convict anyway. Wasn't uncommon. He'd heard one in five citizens across the empire was a convict now—more than starvation, or even Phlox Syndrome. It was probably all exaggerated, but for every grain of salt there was a grain of truth to go with it. The… Continue reading Canaries

Painting by Numbers

"First are the golds." Jaylah squeezed paint from the tube. She mixed her colors with meditative patience and focus. She'd spent the week working ahead at a feverish pace. Traffic was cleared; packets were outbound; scrubbers and filters and purifiers were fresh. Islet N114S7-12 was unburdened for the day. So there was no need to… Continue reading Painting by Numbers

Charlie’s Anchor

The sky was clear and the suns were up. Light rays bounced off the dust particles in the atmosphere, making the daytime sky seem full of stars. Charlie tried to enjoy it. She liked being outside the settlement, even with the bulky envirosuit. She tried to marvel at the bioelectric technology that surrounded her as… Continue reading Charlie’s Anchor

The Right Price

The six-worlds rule had been a fact of life for thousands of years. It predated even the Solidarity. Long enough that no one questioned it anymore. It was a fact that turned a healthy profit for savvy pilots like Kadence. She wasn't famous, but those in the know knew her. The six-worlds rule said that no… Continue reading The Right Price

Lifeforms on Aether Rex

Nia's backpack dug into her shoulders. It was heavy and hard, but it contained her suit's life support system. It made constant clicks and whirs and gurgles, almost white noise but more distracting. The worst part was that it probably wasn't needed. Aether Rex was perfectly safe by the initial readings. But Nia heard enough… Continue reading Lifeforms on Aether Rex

Sternutative Precognition

In an unnumbered subbasement beneath a nondescript concrete building in the brutalist style, Dario walked through mazelike, angular hallways, led by guards. For as many times as he'd been here he still got lost. But that was sort of the point. He'd been called in about an hour ago; read the brief on the way… Continue reading Sternutative Precognition

Ghost Eyes

Harlow stepped virtually through dozens of exchange terminals throughout the valley. She was casing the exits, checking proximity to police stations or to known front businesses belonging to her various competitors. The one thing she wasn't checking for was security cameras. Those were everywhere, and unavoidable. A loud metallic creak behind her indicated someone was… Continue reading Ghost Eyes

Space Demons

"We call them space demons." That caught the young sergeant's attention. She shifted her stance and her fingers danced near her hip, navigating a private hologram. Taking notes. Yramus continued. "No religious connotation. It just gets the idea across." He inhaled deeply on a zenleaf cigarette. The smoke was thick and sweet like burnt sugar. Tears… Continue reading Space Demons

Taking From the Water Cartel

Ivy flew down the stairs three at a time. Her palms sweated, but at each landing she managed to keep her grip on the metal handrail as she whipped herself around 180 degrees toward the next flight. The railings were cold, and getting colder as she descended. Her bare feet made slapping sounds on the… Continue reading Taking From the Water Cartel

You Had One Job

Elsinore Corona didn't look nearly as wavy as it did from orbit. Guy squatted and leapt off Miranda's surface. The rock and ice receded below his feet. Five meters. Ten meters. He'd be up here awhile, but at least the view was nice. The distance between Miranda and Uranus was only a third of that… Continue reading You Had One Job