Charlie’s Anchor

The sky was clear and the suns were up. Light rays bounced off the dust particles in the atmosphere, making the daytime sky seem full of stars. Charlie tried to enjoy it. She liked being outside the settlement, even with the bulky envirosuit. She tried to marvel at the bioelectric technology that surrounded her as… Continue reading Charlie’s Anchor

Lifeforms on Aether Rex

Nia's backpack dug into her shoulders. It was heavy and hard, but it contained her suit's life support system. It made constant clicks and whirs and gurgles, almost white noise but more distracting. The worst part was that it probably wasn't needed. Aether Rex was perfectly safe by the initial readings. But Nia heard enough… Continue reading Lifeforms on Aether Rex

One Problem at a Time

This might be the end. Through her suit, the chaos around her was muffled, like she were hearing it from the bottom of a pool, but to Kassidy that only heightened the unreality of the situation. Sparks were flying and gas was venting. Smoke billowed down the corridor, and the deck beneath her flexed and… Continue reading One Problem at a Time

Not Alone

A yellow spark inched along a blue landscape. Claytor, a large moon in the 70 Virginis  system, had all the blues of Earth but none of the oceans. It had valleys of kyanite and sheer cliffs of cordierite, and an abundance of copper that leant the thick, hazy atmosphere an aquamarine hue. As for the… Continue reading Not Alone

Buried Questions

Dr. Mae Cassendor wheeled yet another load of spoil to the heap. Sweat beads spilled from her brow down her round cheeks, and not just from the physicality of her work; her suit's heat exchanger was reaching its max. Though the outside temperature was just below freezing, the atmosphere was too thin for her suit… Continue reading Buried Questions

From the Garden

At 12 years old, Liam felt older than his parents. The other kids at school had the same feeling. Reality was right here, right now, all around them. But the only thing the grown-ups had any interest in was a fantasy of the past. Earth. Climate change. The draft. So what? The future was at… Continue reading From the Garden

Reasons of Their Own

The human settlements that dotted the Martian surface with light and color and smoke were as varied as the people who built them. Mars had become a world of people, and they each came for reasons of their own. Some came for love, and some came for money. Some came to feed their wonderment, their… Continue reading Reasons of Their Own

Contact

Ryden sloshed through the toxic muck that sucked at his boots beneath the tangled thorn grass. It wasn't grass, of course—that was terracentric thinking—but on strange planets the mind tries to force things into familiar shapes. His unit was twelve days into its march with no obvious end. Twelve days of orange fog and swatting… Continue reading Contact

Projecting

Ava Graves stepped cautiously out of the escape pod and onto the alien ship. There was no one to greet her. No one to lovingly vivisect her for scientific pursuits, either, but still, the solitude after such a long and lonely stretch was maddening. A long corridor stretched before her, its every angled surface reflective… Continue reading Projecting

Danger Close to Home

I was at my station, sitting between Rosen and Yamashita, when we got hit. There hadn't been any warning siren or inertial jerk to indicate a defensive maneuver. Hell, Kovacic had been pouring coffee and was halfway through a joke. Maybe if Rosen stopped taking half-hour showers we wouldn't have to— I remember the sound.… Continue reading Danger Close to Home