Retrograde

Launch was in three days. That meant today was Pirinid's last day of leave before she had to report to the launch complex for final preparations. Her whole life had been a series of preparations, but now that closest approach was upon her, she wasn't certain she wanted to be an Ambassador. Oh, but her… Continue reading Retrograde

No One Dreams of War

The old woman trembled in her chair on the lawn beneath the dimmer orange light of the night sun. She breathed heavy, and soon the breathing became troubled murmuring and her body rocked mightily. Kashton set down his book upside down, keeping his page, and approached quickly but carefully, making sure not to surprise her… Continue reading No One Dreams of War

Priority Message

It came from beneath the ice dear God what was that thing it came from beneath the fucking ice! Waverly Thompson ran for her life over a frozen rock-littered waste the color of burnt molasses. Her heart raged in her chest as it failed to satiate her oxygen-starved muscles, but her scramble didn't slow. It… Continue reading Priority Message

Hope Incarnate

Soft orange light bathed the Trailblazer III as it tumbled out of bulkspace, and the captain of the expedition, Paz van Dijk, finally set eyes on the citrine sphere that was UDF 2457. The red dwarf didn't even have a proper name, but to Paz it was hope incarnate. "Nice and easy," she said. "Maintain… Continue reading Hope Incarnate

Taking Charge

Lieutenant Gina Rolas held her cup of burnt, black coffee in both hands, waiting for it to cool. She kicked her feet up at her station on the Silencio's bridge. Most of the stealth frigate's crew were planetside with Captain Hocks and Commander Nitsady, which made her the ranking officer and acting captain. It wasn't a… Continue reading Taking Charge

Scatterbrained

Mary was a little scatterbrained when she found it, but that had been intentional, not to mention lucrative. She worked in the mines on a planet with the interminable name OGLE-2013-BLG-0341L B b; for whatever reason the naming rights were tangled in a legal dispute which left a situation where the planet could be mined… Continue reading Scatterbrained

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 retch at the otherwise disgusting glob that filled the… Continue reading Don’t Touch

The Light of Other Stars

Brook donned her worn, cumbersome pressure suit piece by piece, sat on the uncomfortable bench in the airlock, and waited for equalization. She found a Zen-like solace in the rushing sound of dark viscous fluid filling the lock and she tried to harness it into something positive. Her crewmates had surprised her with a pastry… Continue reading The Light of Other Stars

You’re Not Yourself

Meredith Aves looked upon her husband's ashen face through a veil of hot amber sparks that erupted in the space between them. His voice carried a dread she'd never before heard as he asked her pleadingly, "Are my eyes open?" She awoke with a start and barely suppressed a scream. Carter was standing beside the… Continue reading You’re Not Yourself

Set the Stars Aspinning

Magamyar enjoyed its work—at a surface level, anyway. Pushing particles into clouds with its magnetic wings, caressing and coaxing them into hot little eggs, and after they hatched setting them spinning like tops. It was slow mindless work that allowed for contemplation. It was good for the soul. But it was without meaning—congealing dust until… Continue reading Set the Stars Aspinning