A Thing Too Short

"Oscar, where have you been?" With Miranda, at her cabin down in the glasswood groves—not that he was about to admit it. He casually rubbed the back of his neck and flopped himself down on the couch without removing his boots. "Out," he said, barely hiding the barbs in his voice. "I am allowed to… Continue reading A Thing Too Short

Under the Knife

The Lunar Gateway orbital station was made not only of polymers and carbon fibers and lightweight alloys, but, principally, of rules. If humans had been intended for space they would have been born there. To survive in such a hostile and unforgiving environment, a strict, ordered constellation of rules was required. The Gateway had been… Continue reading Under the Knife

When It Rains

The facility was enormous—fifteen miles to a side according to the odometer—and, after circling the entire complex in an old battery-converted Jeep, Dustin resigned to the fact that there'd be no easy way in. High steel-and-concrete walls left no gaps in the perimeter. The various and spread out gates all looked the same: impregnable. He… Continue reading When It Rains

Making Do

At long last they took their seats for dinner. The four servantoids served the salads promptly. Gene and Judy had splurged on new servantoids—this year's model—but they were only allowed two due to the strict rationing. Their guests, Jude and Ginny, had to bring their own. Gene fumed to himself in his quiet way, and… Continue reading Making Do

Family Business

Finally, he'd caught the sonofabitch. Ramon Martens paced across the natural hardwood floor of his chief counsel's outer office, making a clacking noise with the soles of his shoes that sounded like the hammers of a roofing crew before sunrise on a Saturday morning. He chewed his lower lip as he paced, somewhat uncharacteristically, and… Continue reading Family Business

Cosmic Justice

It came down like snow. Like a blizzard, in fact, smearing the space between the cloud tops and the ground into a disorienting blur of whirling, blinding, chaotic particles. For a moment, just before descent, Ken became absorbed in the abstract motion and found it profoundly beautiful. Perhaps it was this tendency—to become transfixed by… Continue reading Cosmic Justice

Insanity on the Darkstar

Zeddex strolled through her private rock garden, brooding. The historian, Wenloden, must be insane and would have to be executed before spreading her dangerous ideas. What troubled Zeddex so was the familiarity of the claims. Intelligent life once existed off the darkstar. Preposterous. But before Wenloden, Yannish had spouted the same heresy, as had Vinzhadel before… Continue reading Insanity on the Darkstar

Don’t Touch

It looked like a house-sized tumor. It was a fleshy mass that twitched and oozed thick scarlet fluids and puffed out gases at intervals. The whole thing had a clear sheen like raw pork shoulder. The two scientists and their military escort were too amazed to wretch at the otherwise disgusting glob that filled the… Continue reading Don’t Touch

Coronation

The crowd was in a frenzy. The colosseum's towering reaches held a quarter of a million people, and it was over capacity with thousands more pressing in to witness this historic upheaval. They were here beneath the sweltering summer sun to see her: Supreme Commander Scandere. Barely beyond her third decade, she'd had enough blood on… Continue reading Coronation

Buried Questions

Dr. Mae Cassendor wheeled yet another load of spoil to the heap. Sweat beads spilled from her brow down her round cheeks, and not just from the physicality of her work; her suit's heat exchanger was reaching its max. Though the outside temperature was just below freezing, the atmosphere was too thin for her suit… Continue reading Buried Questions