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…

Family Business

Finally, he'd caught the sonofabitch. Ramon Martens paced across the natural hardwood floor of his chief counsel's outer office, making a clacking noise with the soles of his shoes that sounded like the hammers of a roofing crew before sunrise on a Saturday morning. He chewed his lower lip as he paced, somewhat uncharacteristically, and… Continue reading Family Business

A Scar Upon Our Souls

Shune and Dobar watched from a ledge under the chilly shade of one of the valley's iconic monadnocks, the Five Sisters. Standing motionless in the coppery hues of early morning was an Interfederal Argema-373 passenger ship, its body retracted over its folded legs. It looked like a 3,000-ton chrome mosquito. Shune shivered with disgust and… Continue reading A Scar Upon Our Souls

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

The Child From Qas

Rin stood at the counter in the orphanage's galley when the boy entered. At first he just stood beside her, watching her scoop the guts out of several sugar squash—the guts are the only digestible part—grown right here on Nayim. The boy waited to get her attention until she'd finished with the squash in hand.… Continue reading The Child From Qas

Long Distance Call

Swirling pixels in Ian's periphery indicated an incoming call. He begrudgingly answered, letting the feed overlay his vision with minimal opacity. He didn't want to lose a finger. "Hello, Jenna," he said, knowing how much she hated it. Sure enough, she frowned. The expression fit her wrinkles precisely. "That's no way to address your mother."… Continue reading Long Distance Call

Parasite

Max Montagne stood waiting in Admiral Como's office with an aide who didn't bother to offer him a seat. Max was used to it; even POWs get better treatment than internal affairs. That was the price you paid to have the most important job in the Accord: protect the people from the protectors. Standing suited… Continue reading Parasite

A Proper Burial

Y'reen gathered his children; his two daughters, Roon and Afaya, and his youngest, Cratio, not yet himself a man. "I want a proper burial," he told them. "Like our ancestors." Afaya bit her lower lip and turned to her sister. She followed Roon like illness follows the elderly, still to this day. "Of course," said… Continue reading A Proper Burial