Won’t Hurt a Bit

Colin grabbed the kid. Kid—that's how Colin thought of him, but of course he was a grown man. A grown man was any man old enough to bear the full weight of the consequences of his actions, even if that weight crushed him. And a kid, well, a kid was anyone who chose the wrong… Continue reading Won’t Hurt a Bit

Retrograde

Launch was in three days. That meant today was Pirinid's last day of leave before she had to report to the launch complex for final preparations. Her whole life had been a series of preparations, but now that closest approach was upon her, she wasn't certain she wanted to be an Ambassador. Oh, but her… Continue reading Retrograde

War Within the War

After six days, the recycled, re-purified, re-sterilized urine was beginning to taste like what it actually was, but Louisa remained patient and unmoving. Cold but not shivering. Tired but not sleeping. Alert and ready. She was a professional, if a grave robber could be such a thing; and if not, she was at least experienced.… Continue reading War Within the War

Just the Start

I ran down the emergency outer corridor on Lambda Deck, but it looked like all the others. The escape pods were gone. The automatic lighting was intermittent. The long-dried dark brown splatters on the white walls and floors made my heart thrash in my chest and I had to keep swallowing bile, but I refused… Continue reading Just the Start

Walkabout

Pearce Kelly was lost among the underdecks, alone on one of his famous walkabouts. It was an exercise he'd learned from his grandfather—Grandpa Kelly—who in turn had learned it from his grandfather, Xavier Ballad. Great-great-grandpa Ballad had lived out most of his life on Earth, signing on as the Progeny Asunder's inaugural Navigation Officer in… Continue reading Walkabout

Starship Fuel and Blood

This was not Captain Jord's first trip to the Deitnerkon; he'd been to Authorial Headquarters many times. But this was the first time since his son had died. His son, Askorot, was slain on the Ophiuchus Line in glorious battle, defending the Authorium from the death-hordes from beyond the disc. The planet where he'd fallen… Continue reading Starship Fuel and Blood

Return to Paramount

Kace entered the tavern beside the unlicensed spaceport south of New Pennet on Adenin. It was dim inside, and the twin suns at midday turned him into a silhouette in the doorway. For that brief moment, the patrons paid him no mind. He looked human enough. But after he stepped inside and the door fell… Continue reading Return to Paramount

Freighthopping

Coleman hopped across the frozen dark brown landscape of Marius Regio north of Melkart—outside its protective bubble. He was picking up speed. He was surprised just how fast he could go now that he was in the open, but even so he was falling behind. Gus was 25 meters ahead and the gap was increasing.… Continue reading Freighthopping

Enjoy the View

A gamma wind was blowing and energetic particles bounced off the hull like hail. Phaedra adjusted the compensators using the control cluster on her Spark-44 Recon Corvette. "Picking up some chop," she said. She was flying point in the arrowhead formation with her four squadmates on her rear flanks at right angles from each other.… Continue reading Enjoy the View

No One Dreams of War

The old woman trembled in her chair on the lawn beneath the dimmer orange light of the night sun. She breathed heavy, and soon the breathing became troubled murmuring and her body rocked mightily. Kashton set down his book upside down, keeping his page, and approached quickly but carefully, making sure not to surprise her… Continue reading No One Dreams of War