Wandering on Hinterland

Harper sat sullenly at the top of the habitat's spire, looking out above the canopy as the first—and brightest—of Hinterland's two suns tucked itself below the horizon. At least it would cool off a little. She took the stairs down to the surface level, passing Brielle in the mudroom leading to the garage. "I'm going… Continue reading Wandering on Hinterland

Strange Creatures

"I hear there's creatures out here," said Vangel, his voice taking on a sinister quality through the synthesis of his helmet. The alien ground crunched underfoot like snow. But it was not snow. In the midnight darkness, snaking flows of viscous upwelling crisscrossed the rocky plain. The flows were dimly luminescent, whatever they were, and… Continue reading Strange Creatures

Morning Capture

The first dirty neon tendrils of sunlight lashed the backs of clouds that had grown plump and forgetful in the night. Claude shielded his eyes against the harsh dawn and the hot breeze it brought with it. He and Cheyenne had a clear view of the camp below, the soldiers already set about their morning… Continue reading Morning Capture

Live Worlds

Dustin came around when Len threw a fist-sized chunk of wreckage at this chest. The escape pod was in rough shape. Some of the coolant tanks had ruptured and caught fire. Dustin unstrapped himself from his crash couch and activated the Halon system. There were gaping holes in the hull; given the fire he'd just… Continue reading Live Worlds

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

K-1-8

Stanley finished corralling the watering drones after much jostling—Condor-11 was acting up again, probably needed another call to the veterineer. But not today. It was supposed to storm tonight, so Stanley called the drones in early. He had time for a ride. The storms were coming, no questions about it, but for the moment the… Continue reading K-1-8

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

Race to the Bottom

Jorde climbed further and further, placing each step with great care, further than anyone had ever gone before. He was nearing the bottom. The glorious cream-colored mesas of Apexa towered dauntingly over him, rising miles and miles into the stratosphere. The air along the plateaus of their summits was light enough to be oxygen rich… Continue reading Race to the Bottom

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

Lexicon

Paa set up her shop on a dusty road an hour's ride from the spaceport at Ibreseem. It was a little difficult to get to, and that was the point. Tourists thought it was authentic. The 61 Virginis tourism board had cultivated and maintained a rich mythology for centuries—a fabricated mythology to be sure, but… Continue reading Lexicon