Ambassador Neph sat in the partitioned meeting room aboard the Diplomacy II, bouncing her heels off the floor. She wiped off her sweaty palms on her pant legs. Every time she realized her legs were bouncing she would stop, only to soon realize they'd started again. The door on the other side of the transparent partition… Continue reading Was It Something I Said?
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
Dr. Regina Crane looked down at Damascus with despair. She'd gotten 1.5 billion miles from home without issue—so much so that she'd battled bouts of boredom—and now she'd fumbled within the one yard line. The other sulci mocked her with their stillness: Alexandria, Baghdad, Cairo. Only Damascus Sulcus was active, its cryovolcanoes blasting tons of… Continue reading Deep Beneath Damascus
Willow stepped backward onto the ledge and held the vial high over her head. The detective tossed his gun aside and held his open palms in the air, speaking in soothing tones. "Come down off that ledge. Let's just talk. I don't think you want to do this." He was wrong. She did want to… Continue reading Pestilence Is Thy Name
Amethyst, like most planets discovered in the 23rd century, had a name as one-dimensional as it was misleading. There's no quartz here. The first ship to attempt a landing nearly combusted when its hull started oxidizing from the iodine in the atmosphere. That's what gives it its rich violet palette: the iodine vents. Its scorching… Continue reading Amethyst
"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