City People

The clouds were catching on the pointed tips of the skyscrapers like stray threads on a cotton sweater. A light drizzle spilled from the tears. They weren't supposed to be here, and that's what made it exciting. They were explorers, rediscovering ancient secrets and pocketing old-world treasures. Mikey found a little black rock—a pebble, really—with… Continue reading City People

RAM

I had to get some more RAM for my dad. He'd been getting slower for a while, but yesterday he totally locked up midway through a game of gin rummy and I had to restart him. He hates being restarted. Sulked around the rest of the night just pacing and mumbling, his slippers shuffling and… Continue reading RAM

The Civility

Something invisible slammed into Meralda's shoulder. Splinters of bone flew away and the force knocked her to the ground, but by the time she bounced back up she was healed. It was just surface damage. A gray sheen of nanocytes swarmed the area and laid down a thick patch of synthetic exoskeleton over the impact… Continue reading The Civility

Let’s Get Cruisin’

When Siegena was close enough to see, Amber unexpectedly found herself impressed. She'd been shuttling folks around the belt with her pops for as long as she'd been able to float, so she considered herself worldly; she thought she'd been just about everywhere, and one place mostly looked like any other. But Siegena was different.… Continue reading Let’s Get Cruisin’

Real Bad Debt

The smell of rotten eggs was suddenly strong and inescapable. It made Florencia scrunch her nose, and her back teeth floated. She scooted off the hard and scratchy sofa, shifting her weight from one hip to the other until she was up. Her slippered feet shuffled over the engineered vinyl flooring to the sliding door,… Continue reading Real Bad Debt

A Little Chaos

Though the sky was the dark of night, interrupted only by the steady smiles of distant stars and the blue-green arc of the Ring, the clouds far below glowed with orange light. They looked remarkedly like hot coals ready to be fanned into glorious flames. Tareq sipped his cortado. He was fortunate, and he took… Continue reading A Little Chaos

Children of the Reach

Westin walked the night forests of Giausar IV. The hydrogen-filled bubbles hung thirty feet overhead, each one rooted to the ground by a bioluminescent umbilicus too thick to get his hands around to throttle or snap. Long leafy ribbons hung down from the bubbles, rustling in the breeze and brushing his face. It was like… Continue reading Children of the Reach

Retrograde

Launch was in three days. That meant today was Pirinid's last day of leave before she had to report to the launch complex for final preparations. Her whole life had been a series of preparations, but now that closest approach was upon her, she wasn't certain she wanted to be an Ambassador. Oh, but her… Continue reading Retrograde

No One Dreams of War

The old woman trembled in her chair on the lawn beneath the dimmer orange light of the night sun. She breathed heavy, and soon the breathing became troubled murmuring and her body rocked mightily. Kashton set down his book upside down, keeping his page, and approached quickly but carefully, making sure not to surprise her… Continue reading No One Dreams of War

Happy Families Are All Alike…

Landon von Rutzer looked down upon Amycus crater with rheumy eyes. His ship had parked itself in orbit above Dione's trailing hemisphere which, paradoxically, was riddled with impact craters while the leading face remained relatively smooth. The universe doesn't give a Sam Hill for your expectations. It just is as it is. He squinted as… Continue reading Happy Families Are All Alike…