Ex Nihilo

Bloodied and battered, Raiden was dragged before the major, the rumbling of battle still reverberating through the rogue station. "Professor Laurel?" "That's awfully formal for the occasion." He spat on the major's tactical boots. A gash above his hairline dripped fresh blood through the canyons of deep wrinkles across his face--more than she would have… Continue reading Ex Nihilo

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

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Seek Vengeance

General Welkar took the podium. "Congratulations, cadets. You are still here. When I addressed this group a year ago, you numbered more than a thousand. And now? Thirty. Those others did not share your grit, your intellect, your skill, or your boldness. They quit. They were cut. Some believed they had no limits, and they… Continue reading If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Seek Vengeance

We Were Here

Tana was the world's best cryptographer. She hadn't thought so before, though she'd known she was talented, but her very presence on this task force confirmed it. Everyone here was the best at what they did. The eclectic team included a renowned Oxford linguist, a cosmologist stationed on Luna's far side, an Angolan who was… Continue reading We Were Here

The Past Casts Shadows As Long As the Future

Marshall sat on the ledge of the fountain in the square in front of the Naluo Center, tucked between the imposing towers of the city and the more imposing crowds that scurried frantically at street level. He was early for his interview; career change. Naluo had a good program, or so he'd been told. He… Continue reading The Past Casts Shadows As Long As the Future

An Abundance of Audacity

It took them a long time to figure it out--long in human terms, anyway; generations--and longer still to put that revelation to use, but even so, the humans did it first. From orbital stations around the brown dwarfs of Epsilon Indi and the white dwarfs of Sirius and Procyon, from Rigel and Regulus and sentimental… Continue reading An Abundance of Audacity

Risks and Rewards

"It's a star; a black dwarf." "I already told you, that's impossible." She reminded him that for a white dwarf to cool to the cosmic background radiation temperature it would take a quadrillion years--70,000 times the current age of the universe. "You can recite numbers all you like, but I'm telling you it's a black dwarf."… Continue reading Risks and Rewards