No Philosophers Aboard the Prism

"What do you know, Doc?" The small contingent of science-minded survivors loitered around the lower level of the observatory like dead leaves without a breeze to carry them. The other--the religious, and the despondent, and the most insufferable of them all, the indifferent--migrated around the gargantuan alien spaceship in endless, meaningless loops, passing the time… Continue reading No Philosophers Aboard the Prism

Not My Circus

The first and most obvious sign of trouble was the trees. The trunks were charred black from the ground up to three meters, above which the bark appeared normal in every way, forming a strict border. Valentine spun in a circle. The whole forest was like that, burnt below three meters, straight and flat as… Continue reading Not My Circus

Stealing Secrets From the Dead

She didn't feel a pulse, and he wasn't breathing. He was dead; the dumb kid was dead. But River wasn't about to call the authorities. Her little 27-hour tea shop enjoyed the best Net connection on the planet because she'd tapped into the government hardline by digging down to it through the basement. It made… Continue reading Stealing Secrets From the Dead

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

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

Time Trees, From the Encyclopedia Humanica

The postwar priority was to find our lost cousins. They'd scattered themselves blindly to the stars like fledglings too soon from the nest, taking with them only ingenuity, luck, and a desire to live in equal measures. We knew for certain only that they would no longer be human in form, if not in spirit.… Continue reading Time Trees, From the Encyclopedia Humanica

The Encryption Ward

Sawyer Trill was intuitive, observant, and a quick learner. He was a talented coder. Dealt a different hand he could have led a comfortable happy life. Instead, the most responsible role model he'd had was his mom's hush dealer--guy called himself the Glass Man, and everyone else did too because his real name didn't matter.… Continue reading The Encryption Ward

Out of Body

There were a lot of bodies. They were neatly laying on stainless countertops spaced evenly throughout the windowless room, amidst a labyrinth of push carts with gleaming tools and monitors that blinked stupidly in the silence like dead-eyed cattle. None of the bodies were Kent, though. I picked my way through the laboratory under the… Continue reading Out of Body

Hell Could Be Many Things

The cargo hold door hissed as the locking cylinders depressurized, and then it swung silently open. A rush of stale air blew back Faulkner's coal-black mane. There was an electric light inside. "Please, let me go now," said the technician. Faulkner had already forgotten about him; pity. He faced the tech, placed his hands atop… Continue reading Hell Could Be Many Things

Fate of the Denali

"Commander, this is Spatha Six." Horace stood alone on a grassy outcrop overlooking a calm river that curved to the south through brilliant grasslands. But there was tragedy here. "Go ahead, Six." "I've got something you'll want to see, ma'am. I think I found the main drive system." The quiet hum of radio noise shushed… Continue reading Fate of the Denali