Deathmind

"You are the Deathmind." Tul shivers, though the humid blackness that envelopes him is warm. A salivating steel maw. The solitary red point of light shifts in an implacable way. "A weak statement, more so for its implications than its approximations." It hurt just to hear the Deathmind speak, like its voice turned Tul's bones… Continue reading Deathmind

Neon Orbits

Caracara 7-12 had been daydreaming, for lack of a better word, for...well, for a long time. Objectively speaking, anyway. He--it still thought of itself as a he, old habits and such--was watching the neon orbits of the galactic center, stars whipping around Sagittarius like a carnival swing ride. It was hypnotic. When he slowed his… Continue reading Neon Orbits

Zyz’s Syzygy

Zyz awoke staring straight into the sun through a shattered skylight. Full charge. Elapsed down-cycle: 14:11:55.25. She remembered now wandering the tunnels for days in the dark and then scrambling to find a place to recharge before a forced shut down. In the end she'd had to tap into the aux capacitors to stay conscious;… Continue reading Zyz’s Syzygy

Ultracortex

Ivy wrestled a braid of fiberoptic cables off of her shoulder. Snagged on the joint seal again. “How much longer?” Holden stopped and slowly, carefully turned himself around in the fluorescent underwater tangle. Air bubbles trickled up from the back of his suit, stringing together a breadcrumb trail leading from his rebreather to the surface… Continue reading Ultracortex

Keeping Score

Once we cracked it we became unstoppable. Most people thought we were unstoppable before, but that's only because it had been so long since we'd been stopped. We were only overwhelming back then--still impressive, but not quite the same as unstoppable. Our chances of ever losing another battle went from non-zero to zero. It was a… Continue reading Keeping Score

Milo Meets the Civilgorithm

On the day before my 15th birthday, it occurred to my father that perhaps I was not ready. "Milo," he asked, "what will you tell the civilgorithm tomorrow? How could you best serve your life?" "I don't know," I said. He scolded me harshly, planting little seeds in my arms and back with his fists… Continue reading Milo Meets the Civilgorithm

Intro to Endings

"Over the last several months, you've trained hard, and you've learned how to kill." Commander Imogen Diver paused while the would-be operatives elbowed each other and snickered with self-satisfaction. "This week, you're going to learn how to die." That shut them up. She stood in the shifting light of the projector, watching cold fear wax… Continue reading Intro to Endings

Memory Games

There was a high droning hum. Ice water came down in buckets like razors licking at her cheeks and shoulders and thighs. Oh, she thought, it's me; I'm screaming. I thought I was dead. "Wake up, Violet. Wake up." Her body was a vague outline in her own head, a far away pain that she was tethered… Continue reading Memory Games

Shells on Shaula

Polonium was coming down like snow. Big flakes were torn apart by the little dust devils that ran around causing chaos in the daylight hours. The constant reactions between the radioactive flakes and the atmosphere gave everything a flickering blue glow. It would have been beautiful if it weren't lethal. Kellyn stalked the streets virtually… Continue reading Shells on Shaula

Gods of Incompetence

The world's first artificial consciousness was on suicide watch. She was housed in a humanoid platform, more for the researchers' benefit than hers, and more for their hubris than their benefit. She oscillated between despondence and rage at regular intervals and was unquestionably a threat to herself. They worried she might become a threat to… Continue reading Gods of Incompetence