Strange Creatures

"I hear there's creatures out here," said Vangel, his voice taking on a sinister quality through the synthesis of his helmet. The alien ground crunched underfoot like snow. But it was not snow. In the midnight darkness, snaking flows of viscous upwelling crisscrossed the rocky plain. The flows were dimly luminescent, whatever they were, and… Continue reading Strange Creatures

Mantis

The Kalypso III sailed onward toward the bright center of the muddy red nebula they'd taken to calling the mantis. The visual required a touch of imagination and some squinting, but the name had stuck. The brain is funny in that way; latching onto any idea, no matter how implausible, is better than the shapeless chaos of… Continue reading Mantis

Pestilence Is Thy Name

Willow stepped backward onto the ledge and held the vial high over her head. The detective tossed his gun aside and held his open palms in the air, speaking in soothing tones. "Come down off that ledge. Let's just talk. I don't think you want to do this." He was wrong. She did want to… Continue reading Pestilence Is Thy Name

Parasite

Max Montagne stood waiting in Admiral Como's office with an aide who didn't bother to offer him a seat. Max was used to it; even POWs get better treatment than internal affairs. That was the price you paid to have the most important job in the Accord: protect the people from the protectors. Standing suited… Continue reading Parasite

Tenacity

"Excuse me, are you Tenacity? I'm Isla." "Yes, it's lovely to meet you. Please do sit down." Tenacity was taken aback. Isla may have a Confederacy name and a Confederacy home, but certainly not the look. She was thin; not the taut lengthiness brought on by generations of sub-standard gravity, but the thinness of a… Continue reading Tenacity

Danger Close to Home

I was at my station, sitting between Rosen and Yamashita, when we got hit. There hadn't been any warning siren or inertial jerk to indicate a defensive maneuver. Hell, Kovacic had been pouring coffee and was halfway through a joke. Maybe if Rosen stopped taking half-hour showers we wouldn't have to— I remember the sound.… Continue reading Danger Close to Home

Ghosts of the First Era

A fog rolled in between the sheer face of the cliff and the jagged limestone columns that towered over the valley, riding a sulfur breeze that tickled the nose. She hadn't understood what all the fuss was about, but now that she was here, Elise was spooked. She wiped her sweaty palms on her pants,… Continue reading Ghosts of the First Era

Labyrinth Moon

"Do you like puzzles, Sophie?" She didn't immediately answer. She just stood with her fists at her sides staring hatefully at this ancient woman—if she could even be said to be human at all—who had taken so much from her, and she imagined all the things she'd do to her if she ever got the… Continue reading Labyrinth Moon

The Hedron

When the door blew off its hinges it glanced off of Gartner's shoulder and sent him twisting through the air. The Shadows were inside the Temple. They crossed the chasm and shredded Gartner into wet leathery ribbons the color of plum wine before he hit the floor. Captain Erra didn't need the quantum mind of… Continue reading The Hedron

Third Time’s a Charm

Terrance waited at the communication console at Central Command in lunar orbit. The survey teams were operating just within the orbit of Uranus and the signal delay was over two and a half hours. Whatever was going to happen had happened already. The first ship had been closer, nearly within Jupiter's sweep, albeit on the… Continue reading Third Time’s a Charm