Make Yourself Useful

Make yourself useful, he said. Some goddamn nerve. Two years, Lin had served on the Dauntless. Two long years, without so much as a weekend's leave, making four jumps a week while under-crewed and poorly maintained. And not once had she ever missed her mark. Never. She'd been telling Captain Sayre from day one that a… Continue reading Make Yourself Useful

Trouble Is Where You Look for It

Priscilla swished the whiskey back and forth over her tongue in time with the pulsing neon lights and the bassy, synth-heavy music that swirled around the club. It was packed tonight, and she was in one of her moods. She was looking for a specific brand of trouble. She shouted to the bartender, "Another double,"… Continue reading Trouble Is Where You Look for It

The Hard Way

Leo was learning a lot about hyperspace travel today, as he'd thought he might, but he'd hoped for a more passive kind of education. He tried not to vomit, but his teeth were floating something fierce. He made eye contact with a scowling guard and looked back at his feet, careful not to look at… Continue reading The Hard Way

Making Waves

Terrance ran between terminals with the awkward gait that came from his magnetic boots. He tried to route power to weapons as the requests came in without sacrificing critical functions: life support, navigation, shields, maneuvering, cryonics. But without weapons, they wouldn't be able to stop their pursuers. Hell, everything was critical. He felt an unnatural… Continue reading Making Waves

Studying the Sunseers of Titan

A young woman prepares her canoe. She has a name, but not one that can be easily written, so it will be omitted here. Her people communicate only in a language of gestures, having abandoned their vocal chords while designing their new bodies so many generations ago. She finds a tall, straight pillar of water… Continue reading Studying the Sunseers of Titan

Hopes and Dreams

When the sound of her flatcamel's hooves changed from a shifting of sand to a clopping of stone, Perla allowed herself to grow hopeful. She'd heard many stories about the rocket lands, but this was the first evidence that they'd borne any truth. The fiery breaths of a thousand human-made engines upon the sand had… Continue reading Hopes and Dreams

The Stargazer’s Test

Mitch stood alone in the unnatural gloam of the sacred canyons. He hated it here; it gave him the creeps. The long branches of the wanderwood trees slithered slowly across the chalky stones, shedding their bark with a wooden groan that swirled around him as it echoed from the canyon walls. A chill breeze swept… Continue reading The Stargazer’s Test

Gifts From the Wind

The hydronets looked like the white sails of a thousand three-masted ships above the arid desert skies of Solace. Maisie craned her neck to look up at the taut structure stretching a kilometer into the air, viewing it through the filter of the ocular shifters integrated into her fragile biological eyes. There was a tear… Continue reading Gifts From the Wind

Meeting Your Maker

What would have been a simple excavation on Earth took more than nine years at Sinus Iridum. Still, it was worth the extra effort to be the first xenoarchaeologist. He'd sold all his worldly possessions, alienated his family, and watched his coworkers turn into tentative friends and then into casualties as Luna did its very… Continue reading Meeting Your Maker

Shocking

Kamari squirmed under the glow of the black lights. He bounced between the balls of his feet and shook his hips back and forth. Braylee finally picked her head up from her notebook and chucked her pen at him. "Hey, psycho, what the hell are you doing?" "I'm photographing the core samples before I slab… Continue reading Shocking