88 More

A swell of nausea pulled Private Elowen Dextre out of darkness. The spinning in her head was a very specific sensation: gravity flux. She felt she was strapped to a flight chair, but her arms and legs were restrained, too. She opened her eyes, and the sight before her gave her stomach a new reason… Continue reading 88 More

Emerging Problems

Sander Hurr stood outside the locked hold watching the monitors and smoking a cigarette. He hadn't smoked in years—was it ten yet?—and he couldn't believe how hard it had become to find the damn things. Or how much they cost. They were selling them individually wrapped now, and for what used to get him a… Continue reading Emerging Problems

Where Life Goes

Magma oozed down the hillside to the basalt plains upon which Rose stood waiting. Flakes of sulfur fell in what would always look to her like slow motion, but was really a natural motion that exposed her Earth-centric bias. It could hardly be avoided, but she tried to mentally call herself out when she noticed… Continue reading Where Life Goes

A Thing Too Short

"Oscar, where have you been?" With Miranda, at her cabin down in the glasswood groves—not that he was about to admit it. He casually rubbed the back of his neck and flopped himself down on the couch without removing his boots. "Out," he said, barely hiding the barbs in his voice. "I am allowed to… Continue reading A Thing Too Short

Learning to Paint

Sandra was as surprised as anyone when she failed her compulsory exam, but she supposed that's why they had randoms to begin with. By the time you realize you've caught Degen, you've probably infected your whole settlement. The moment that red light came on they rushed her into Level 5 Quarantine to await confirmation. Presently,… Continue reading Learning to Paint

Set the Stars Aspinning

Magamyar enjoyed its work—at a surface level, anyway. Pushing particles into clouds with its magnetic wings, caressing and coaxing them into hot little eggs, and after they hatched setting them spinning like tops. It was slow mindless work that allowed for contemplation. It was good for the soul. But it was without meaning—congealing dust until… Continue reading Set the Stars Aspinning

Gravedigger

"Start digging graves," Dalton told the Lacuna Populous' android attendant. "Graves?" Dalton dropped the legs of the body he was dragging onto the deck and they thudded dully one after the other. He turned his irritated gaze to the android and rubbed his dark, thick beard. "Holes. Outside. To put the bodies in. Find something to… Continue reading Gravedigger

Hell to Pay

Riazi sat on the rustic hardwood floor with her back against the foot of the couch and her knees drawn up to her chest. The ashtray on the floor beside her was overflowing with butts and ash. She lit up another cigarette anyway. It was frivolous, but it helped her feel human. Which, of course,… Continue reading Hell to Pay

No Prisoners

"Bring them out." Par Acaces had no question as to who the ruhl meant by them. The par gathered the feeble space-weakened prisoners, with their wet eyes and their dry elastic skin, and marched them in a shackled line off the hulking battle transport. Ruhl Shald  was waiting on the narrow bridgeway, pacing and clomping about… Continue reading No Prisoners

The Child From Qas

Rin stood at the counter in the orphanage's galley when the boy entered. At first he just stood beside her, watching her scoop the guts out of several sugar squash—the guts are the only digestible part—grown right here on Nayim. The boy waited to get her attention until she'd finished with the squash in hand.… Continue reading The Child From Qas