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

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

Terraplant

“What’d you say your name was?” “Garbenzera. Rick Garbenzera.” The director turned his gaunt, thin-lipped face to his assistant, Miranda Spring, a woman with soft features and a hard voice whom Rick would have just as easily accepted to be 25 as 40. He got a mentor-protege vibe from the two of them. They both… Continue reading Terraplant

With Only Moons to Bear Witness

The sulfur sky was a thin fog that smeared the horizon like finger paint and turned the three moons—Miya, Dota, and Castelor—to triplet discs devoid of definition. It smelled like pig shit. Jorge tried not to talk to keep the taste out of his mouth. "How far you think that tower is?" asked Dom. Jorge… Continue reading With Only Moons to Bear Witness

The Ru Rempisa

Fallon had nearly given up, and was at that moment considering turning back, when she saw them over the next rise. There were two tall figures wearing dark hooded cloaks the color of red clay. Each held a long black pike. And between them, in similar garb, was Ira. They stood as if they'd been… Continue reading The Ru Rempisa

The Builders

Captain Montgomery Abbott floated down the center of the funnel that coupled together the two rotating cylinders of Elbridge Station. Lieutenant Commander Laramore waited on the landing platform, standing stationary but appearing to slide sideways down the wall due to their differing inertial reference frames. Abbott was coming up on 30 years of service, but… Continue reading The Builders