Warnings From the Tanglemind

"Phobia. Kinetics. Dodecahedron." Cara was alone with the tanglemind. Robin said she'd only be gone twenty minutes tops. That was an hour and a half ago. "Tourmaline. Aureolin. Wisteria." The world's easiest babysitting job was getting on her nerves. "Polychrome. Leptis Magna. Backscatter." The Holsteiner Crown, like all federated naval ships, had an onboard tanglemind. Technically,… Continue reading Warnings From the Tanglemind

The Message and the Messenger

Ian paced down the triangular corridors of the deep space listening outpost like an agitated lion at the zoo. Three walls. Three-month rotations. Three shifts with three technicians each. Threes must be important, so he checked his work every three hours. Didn't leave much time for sleep, but he didn't want to sleep. The nightmares… Continue reading The Message and the Messenger

How to Sleep for 1,000 Years

As part of his education, Praveen had to read the autobiography of Dr. Maaz Ghazali, one of the pioneers of cryonic interstellar travel. It was called How to Sleep for 1,000 Years. Interesting book, if a little dated. It didn't really cover Praveen's current dilemma, but even so, the parallels were enough to chill him to… Continue reading How to Sleep for 1,000 Years

Supersonic Solar Surfer

"So what do you do?" Rhoda looked up from her bowl of micrograins and green sauce—some sort of macronutrient vegetable purée that had more smell than taste. She'd thought she was alone in the Utnapishtim's galley; she was still groggy from cryo, not fully thawed yet. The man before her seemed too young for his… Continue reading Supersonic Solar Surfer

Freewheeler

Brena sat by herself on the floor of her small dirt-covered habitat, sipping tea. Above her was her only window: a circular borehole filled with still water—for the radiation—terminating in a skylight. Through it was the familiar splash of the Milky Way spilled across the night sky. She didn't look up. Didn't need to. A… Continue reading Freewheeler

Lure

At long last, Jimenez saw the blazing white lance of the beacon in the slate green haze, and after a few more steps forward Leroux's slim profile appeared near the beacon's base. He wasn't moving. She tried hailing him. No response. No surprise; she'd been hailing him for hours. Jimenez approached carefully over the crevices… Continue reading Lure

Bigger Problems

He triple-checked everything, sticking to the official checklist. Alone, on the night side of Viviani—a rocky subsatellite in the Poerava system—was not the time nor place to play cowboy and go off script. As frustrating as that may be. "Aleksander to base, still ready to make the splice." "I said stand by," came the reply… Continue reading Bigger Problems

Hailing the Skybenders

Singulon wandered through the rooftop jungles in quiet contemplation with its metallic hands clasped behind its back. It rarely went below—indoors—to the precision of the glass labyrinth stacked a kilometer high and stretching like a mold bloom a hundred kilometers in every direction. That underworld belonged to the humans. Singulon found no comfort there, nor… Continue reading Hailing the Skybenders

Long Distance Call

Swirling pixels in Ian's periphery indicated an incoming call. He begrudgingly answered, letting the feed overlay his vision with minimal opacity. He didn't want to lose a finger. "Hello, Jenna," he said, knowing how much she hated it. Sure enough, she frowned. The expression fit her wrinkles precisely. "That's no way to address your mother."… Continue reading Long Distance Call

The Advocate

"I'm Harley. I'll be your advocate." She waited while the creature on the other side of the translucent partition interpreted her message and responded. Integrated translators turned its color-shifting into text that scrolled across the partition. Many of the pixels were dead, especially for such a short response. "My what?" She sighed and crossed one… Continue reading The Advocate