Helping Hand

Shivam awoke to strange constellations. Red stars that didn’t glimmer, looking not so far above the tops of the Western white pines. Then he felt a tremble in the earth like an orchestral brass section playing dissonant chords in infrasound somewhere just out of sight within the dark forest. There was a Behemoth ship overhead.… Continue reading Helping Hand

Voice of a Stranger

Burkhart squirmed as he watched the screens. He couldn't stop rubbing his nose, even though it didn't itch. "Get it over with," said a voice very near his ear. It came from the stranger looking over Burkhart's shoulder, also watching the screens with a grim seriousness. The screens were security monitors. They showed live feeds… Continue reading Voice of a Stranger

Critical Resolution

"War's over," said Commander Cotton. I'd never seen her so grim. I remained laying on my cot, having long ago learned how far I could push against the power dynamic between us, even as our relationship evolved into one of mutual understanding if not respect. "Well then, congratulations. What was the final nail?" "Your acting-chief… Continue reading Critical Resolution

Mapping the Tetra

"Seen one Tetra, seen 'em all. What'd I tell you?" "More than I asked for," said Pia. "I hired a pilot, not a color commentator. Stay the course." The impossible bulk of a Predecessor Tetra loomed before them, a lightyear to a side and as smooth and as black as any human tool could measure.… Continue reading Mapping the Tetra

Into the Black

Deloza followed behind Metsker, bouncing lightly across the Tirawa basin on Rhea. After a generation of studying from afar, using orbiters and rovers and all variety of instruments they were finally here in the flesh. Humanity had reached the anomaly. Radiance Base was 15 klicks away. They'd taken a buggy most of the way and… Continue reading Into the Black

Oxygen Leak

Working and living on a Sunrise sat was actually a pretty easy gig. If you could drive a bus—even an automated one—you could fly a sat. Gus had been up here for four months and barely lifted a finger. It was great. He looked out a porthole. Below, the sun's last rays cast stark shadows… Continue reading Oxygen Leak

In the Moment

It looked like I might be in the bathroom at Club Manic, but it was tough to know for sure. I mean, there was no mistaking Manic's bathroom—red lit like the waiting rooms in hell; white subway tiled walls with dark grout, graffitied in kanji; narrow enough to make a cave diver feel claustrophobic; muffled… Continue reading In the Moment

Terra Nullius

The object flashed by the Earth so fast that we didn't even have time to photograph it. We didn't even know what it was, but its path was perpendicular to the ecliptic, or nearly so. A piece of it broke off—or was ejected with purpose, depending on your own inclination—and made landfall. It was called… Continue reading Terra Nullius

Where the Stars Can’t See

The high and textureles clouds made for a night devoid of starlight. The soldiers' headlamps along the plateau swirled like a galaxy though. An inversion of the absent sky. They were supposed to maintain line-of-sight with the Congaree, but Private Ramsey had other plans. He had to do some recon on a fresh stream. No one… Continue reading Where the Stars Can’t See

Something to Fight For

Jules stood alone in the Proteus desert on Empyrean. He'd never been first before, not in any of the trillions of light cones. Good. He was at the front then, making a real change. He wouldn't be alone for long. But as the seconds dragged on he didn't know what to do with himself. Always… Continue reading Something to Fight For