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

Breakfast on Mars

"Desmond, it's time for breakfast." He was completely engrossed in cataloging the root structures of the young bean sprouts he was growing, and he ignored the reminder. For a third time. A voice came over the intercom. Not the virtual assistant again, but the commander. Desmond couldn't ignore her. "Stop working and come eat." He… Continue reading Breakfast on Mars

Chance Encounter

He appeared from the desert like a mirage, as conspicuous as a rain cloud. He wore a Colonial officer's uniform, but he was no officer. Didn't have the swagger. Lyric knew; she'd been an officer herself not so long ago. "You lost?" She stood slowly, wiping sweat from her forehead with the back of one… Continue reading Chance Encounter

Meeting Simon

They were out there again. Different van, but they were the same two guys as before, he was pretty sure. Dressed as some kind of utility workers or something, parked off to the side next to where Hampshire Street crosses the railroad tracks. Simon picked up a post-it pad and a short nub of dull… Continue reading Meeting Simon

The Seventh Moon

The six inner moons of Avalon—a typical ice giant out on the fringe—were fine places. Rocky bodies, essentially spheroids, rich in ices and metals. Good for industry, and more than capable of supporting associated settlements. But the seventh moon—that was the prize. If you could get to it. Preliminary data indicated a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, temperate… Continue reading The Seventh Moon

Unusual Convictions

The sun speaks to me. That's not hyperbole or metaphor. The sun—the one you're picturing, the burning ball of gas that we measure our days and years against—it speaks to me. With words. It's had a century or so to deduce our languages from radio waves. I'm speculating. It's cagey on the subject. I know… Continue reading Unusual Convictions