A Powerful Motivator

0micron rebooted in the dark. When it activated its optics it was unsure if they were still functional. It tilted its face upward—assuming the gyros were still calibrated—and found a distant point of dim light. It opened its apertures and shifted down the spectrum into the infrared. It was in a deep pit after an… Continue reading A Powerful Motivator

The Hedron

When the door blew off its hinges it glanced off of Gartner's shoulder and sent him twisting through the air. The Shadows were inside the Temple. They crossed the chasm and shredded Gartner into wet leathery ribbons the color of plum wine before he hit the floor. Captain Erra didn't need the quantum mind of… Continue reading The Hedron

Glass Houses

Gage was looking at Charlotte, entranced by the way the wisps of hair from behind her ear drew delicate lines over her slender neck. But she was looking at the Quant. "Do you know what this is?" she asked. The underlit glass structure before them loomed heavy. Gage followed the etched tracks within the main… Continue reading Glass Houses

Star Child

Yensuensu'suneasun—Yensu, for simplicity—awoke in a bath of bright silver light. The long night was not over; it was too early to wake. He stretched his proto-limbs against the strong thin filaments of webbing and the syrupy fluid within the interior of the pod. He did not know the word mother, but that was what his spindly… Continue reading Star Child

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

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

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