A Proper Burial

Y'reen gathered his children; his two daughters, Roon and Afaya, and his youngest, Cratio, not yet himself a man. "I want a proper burial," he told them. "Like our ancestors." Afaya bit her lower lip and turned to her sister. She followed Roon like illness follows the elderly, still to this day. "Of course," said… Continue reading A Proper Burial

The Truth About Exile

Officially it was called Humanis Beta, but everyone just called it Beta. They pronounced it Bait-uh, like the Americans used to say it. Ah, to have been an American, Apurna thought; a people liberated by the notion that the future was a thing already dead and buried. Apurna was still trapped in the here and now like it was flypaper.… Continue reading The Truth About Exile

Shed

Imogen had shed. The disease was native to Anaxagoras and wiped out the first two settlements completely, but in the decades since then there hadn't been a single case. It had been a simple matter of changing the airlock procedures to include a quick burst of UV light—not much different from a tanning bed. It was… Continue reading Shed

Seven Summers From the Forge

Child sat on a low sandstone wall outside the city gates with Rewel—of his many, many mothers, she was his favorite because of her loud and frequent laughter full of snorts and screeches. But she had no laughter now. Together they waved as the caravan rolled past, and they watched it disappear over the hills… Continue reading Seven Summers From the Forge

Easy Targets

The missionaries crossed the dull gray landscape slowly, their buggy straining with the weight of their supplies, even at this low gravity. Easy targets. Eunomia was well past its boomtown days. The ringwoodite deposits, rich in hydrates, had all been depleted and shipped across the Belt. It was a cruel irony, then, that generations later… Continue reading Easy Targets

My Summer Vacation

"Next up is Leighton Decker." Leighton walked to the front of the class, dragging her feet as she walked so that her polka-dotted boots—her favorites, though entirely out of season—scraped loudly against the coarse carpeting. Twenty-three blank faces stared at her in wait. By the end of the year she'd be able to perform the… Continue reading My Summer Vacation

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

Prepared for Anything

The Cada's crescent outline still faintly glowed violet in the skies above Nova Aparanta as the lingering exotic matter decayed and fell away from the ship's shielded hull. Omari was among the survivors, looking down at unnamed continents and murky freshwater oceans, knowing their fates were chained to this unknown world as sure as the stars… Continue reading Prepared for Anything

Greener Tomorrow

Natalie shifted the two jugs of water and the sack of fruit—plums and peaches, just now in season, and bananas—to her other arm and wiped a bead of sweat from her forehead. It was so humid. "It's just been so busy lately," she was saying, "with Eli's leg still healing—" A tug on her pantleg.… Continue reading Greener Tomorrow