Gravity bombs sent ripples ripping through the battlefield, decimating friend and foe alike. Zoe pressed forward, unwavering and ever ready. Her battle armor's powered joints did most of the running for her, but it would stop if she faltered in her courage. The shallow hydrocarbon stream defaced beneath her boot tread boiled from the ambient… Continue reading A Shot in the Dark
Josie's arm was jammed into one of the Thresher's exterior maintenance ducts past her elbow, but she still hadn't found the ruptured cell. The attack had left the ship vulnerable—it was a miracle they'd managed to limp it away at all—but nothing made you feel quite as exposed as being out in the vacuum with… Continue reading Slip
Temple of Seamless Iteration
Breaking every promise he'd made to himself, Grant found himself once again in the shining, shifting heart of the Temple of Seamless Iteration. The golden panels lining the long enclosure fluttered in their waving way, gracefully forming now a vaulted ceiling and then a dome of nested arches, always moving uniformly, symmetrically, and silently like… Continue reading Temple of Seamless Iteration
I spare no more love for bugs than for those godless neighbors of mine, the Midgleys. Neither of ‘em ain’t worth killin’; better avoided. But when that space rock plowed a furrow crosswise through my bean field? No avoidin’ that. S’pose it’s some kinda meteor, but it coulda been a cow pie seein’ it was… Continue reading Pests
What Comes Lurking in the Light
Miria’s eyesight was poor, and that was before the hibernation sickness. She awoke alone. The Mon Chou was as deathly quiet as space itself. It was a freighter—unglamorous, but cheaper than a passenger transport—hauling a wormhole mouth to Khambalia. Miria wandered the identical empty corridors. Motion sensors kept her spotlit within the surrounding blackness. By… Continue reading What Comes Lurking in the Light
Last One There’s a Rotten Egg
Harris and Sanchez bunny-hopped into the chasm in the reduced gravity of this strange world, but Kwon held back. Despite the surveillance and the simulations and the successes of the rovers she was deeply unsettled. Petrified eggs—larger than the Zaqar lander the astronauts flew in on—sat half submerged in a pool of hydrocarbons at the… Continue reading Last One There’s a Rotten Egg
A Taste of Vengeance
The morning sky is black, thick with the ash spit from the stacks of the trawlers. The metal-plated machines stretch two kilometers straight upward, maybe more, with wide bases that could cover my entire village twice over. They hover on a cushion of plasma and crawl across the surface in long, ponderous paths, harvesting the… Continue reading A Taste of Vengeance
"There is only one true God," said the Exoform, addressing the prisoners. "You gonna tell us it's you?" shouted a man with more courage and less sense than I. "No," said the Exoform. "The only God is Entropy." And then it vaporized the man. Slowly. I dared not turn away, but I unfocused my eyes… Continue reading Dead Matter
Was It Something I Said?
Ambassador Neph sat in the partitioned meeting room aboard the Diplomacy II, bouncing her heels off the floor. She wiped off her sweaty palms on her pant legs. Every time she realized her legs were bouncing she would stop, only to soon realize they'd started again. The door on the other side of the transparent partition… Continue reading Was It Something I Said?
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