Not Alone in the Dead City

Martina crouched low as she picked her way through the dead city, sprinting between scattered debris. It was hard to tell what used to be a street and what used to be a building and what used to be a body. She popped out from behind a twisted rail switch, wrenched up from the ground… Continue reading Not Alone in the Dead City

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

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

Scavengers

Deadeye saw it first, no surprise. We rode toward the smoke. Loud Mouth couldn't stop giggling, interrupted every so often by that disgusting clicking noise the stump of his tongue made against his uvula. I ran my palm over the smooth end of my left arm, which terminated at the mid-forearm. It was an interstellar… Continue reading Scavengers

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

Pipes

The copter drew slow, low-altitude arcs through the thick air around Akkarfor Arco on Rypfe. Heavy storms pummeled the hills to the north but hadn't yet reached here. The copter piloted itself autonomously with only occasional interruptions by Governor Dalen, who would nudge the stick this way or that to point out some mundane feature,… Continue reading Pipes

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