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

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

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

The Solovyova Object

The Second Cold War was colder than the first, the stakes higher, the players more numerous. But it picked up in the most memorable arena of the First: the Moon. NASA and JAXA maintained a joint science outpost in the Avogadro crater on the far side, and it was from there that Comet Calvillo-Ōtsuka-Folts was… Continue reading The Solovyova Object

Bait

It was a gray day—overcast but bright, and the brightness amplified by a patchwork of melting snow. Cold puddles formed in the mud like tidepools along the shore of some vast alkaline ocean, still and lifeless. Karsaca remained vigilant, her finger at the ready, and tried not to think about the dryness of her eyes… Continue reading Bait

Resplendent Roulette

"Bull shit," said Myke with his distinctive edge-world drawl. "I got ten coin and a brand new jacket that says you ain't got the guts." He held his hand to his eyes and squinted as the clouds passed and the twin suns beamed warmly on the three boys standing in the short silvery grasses. "You ain't… Continue reading Resplendent Roulette

Ex Astris

Roman's heart raced. This was it. The culmination of three years of painstaking nonstop work. Truly nonstop; he'd found it easier to live in the lab for the last several months—years? Surely it was only months—venturing out less and less frequently. His fellow lab assistants shared his zeal, but no one could compare to Dr.… Continue reading Ex Astris

Meeting Your Maker

What would have been a simple excavation on Earth took more than nine years at Sinus Iridum. Still, it was worth the extra effort to be the first xenoarchaeologist. He'd sold all his worldly possessions, alienated his family, and watched his coworkers turn into tentative friends and then into casualties as Luna did its very… Continue reading Meeting Your Maker

What They Say About Us

Major Poppy Seaver exited the airlock and used her MMU to propel herself smoothly toward the Well. "Command, I'm on approach." Earthside, Command could see everything she was doing. More than 100 technicians filled the massive control room and crowded around monitors and control stations on countertops, on wheel carts, and occasionally on the floor. They… Continue reading What They Say About Us

Waking the Clockmakers

I had that fever dream again. I'm walking around the habitat. My feet make hard clicking sounds against the floor, but I can't look down to see why. I'm too busy looking at all the corpses. It's the rest of the team: Wilkens, Kang, Singh, Tenderman, and Din. They're all going about their jobs, cleaning,… Continue reading Waking the Clockmakers