You Had One Job

Elsinore Corona didn't look nearly as wavy as it did from orbit. Guy squatted and leapt off Miranda's surface. The rock and ice receded below his feet. Five meters. Ten meters. He'd be up here awhile, but at least the view was nice. The distance between Miranda and Uranus was only a third of that… Continue reading You Had One Job

Breakfast on Mars

"Desmond, it's time for breakfast." He was completely engrossed in cataloging the root structures of the young bean sprouts he was growing, and he ignored the reminder. For a third time. A voice came over the intercom. Not the virtual assistant again, but the commander. Desmond couldn't ignore her. "Stop working and come eat." He… Continue reading Breakfast on Mars

Chance Encounter

He appeared from the desert like a mirage, as conspicuous as a rain cloud. He wore a Colonial officer's uniform, but he was no officer. Didn't have the swagger. Lyric knew; she'd been an officer herself not so long ago. "You lost?" She stood slowly, wiping sweat from her forehead with the back of one… Continue reading Chance Encounter

Meeting Simon

They were out there again. Different van, but they were the same two guys as before, he was pretty sure. Dressed as some kind of utility workers or something, parked off to the side next to where Hampshire Street crosses the railroad tracks. Simon picked up a post-it pad and a short nub of dull… Continue reading Meeting Simon

The Seventh Moon

The six inner moons of Avalon—a typical ice giant out on the fringe—were fine places. Rocky bodies, essentially spheroids, rich in ices and metals. Good for industry, and more than capable of supporting associated settlements. But the seventh moon—that was the prize. If you could get to it. Preliminary data indicated a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, temperate… Continue reading The Seventh Moon

Unusual Convictions

The sun speaks to me. That's not hyperbole or metaphor. The sun—the one you're picturing, the burning ball of gas that we measure our days and years against—it speaks to me. With words. It's had a century or so to deduce our languages from radio waves. I'm speculating. It's cagey on the subject. I know… Continue reading Unusual Convictions

Justice on the Last Colony

Somethin big had happened. It seemed to be the only thing anyone could talk about, but at the same time no one knew anything. It was all speculation. Maren was aboard a no-frills public transport, the Velodona, headed for Buckminster on the ringstation around Argelander Aleph out in the halo—she was keeping a low profile—when the… Continue reading Justice on the Last Colony

Warnings From the Tanglemind

"Phobia. Kinetics. Dodecahedron." Cara was alone with the tanglemind. Robin said she'd only be gone twenty minutes tops. That was an hour and a half ago. "Tourmaline. Aureolin. Wisteria." The world's easiest babysitting job was getting on her nerves. "Polychrome. Leptis Magna. Backscatter." The Holsteiner Crown, like all federated naval ships, had an onboard tanglemind. Technically,… Continue reading Warnings From the Tanglemind

Ghosts of Tomorrow

The Empress of the SUGRA Skies sunbathed at a hangar on Eta Convex while Sawyer watched from the shadows. He stood to stave off the urge to sleep. He could rest when he was back on board, after the next jump, but not now. Not while there were hands other than his own touching the Empress. The… Continue reading Ghosts of Tomorrow

Storm Shelter

Petty Officer Lars Lamont helped get the clamp in position and then got out of the way. He didn't like it, but the Kid had to learn sometime. The whole cohort was at Lars' least favorite part of the training: practicum. He had to babysit while they did the wrenching on the Kólga's FTL drive. They… Continue reading Storm Shelter