Let’s Do This Again Real Soon

The night was black and starless. Even the moon dared not sail that darkened sky. But below, New Manzhouli's neon glow dazzled, cold and bright. Yuxi stood in the in-between. She could be a phoenix rising from electric ashes, or the angel of death descending from the heavens into the City of Dis. Tonight, she… Continue reading Let’s Do This Again Real Soon

Something to Fight For

Jules stood alone in the Proteus desert on Empyrean. He'd never been first before, not in any of the trillions of light cones. Good. He was at the front then, making a real change. He wouldn't be alone for long. But as the seconds dragged on he didn't know what to do with himself. Always… Continue reading Something to Fight For

Beneath the Snow of Jetzt

The lander rocked gently as it descended toward Jetzt, the capital city of Schwarzer Regen, a tidally locked world on the fringe in an unremarkable system. "Sloppy flying," chided Ambassador Sterne. "This is how they greet the son of Grand Empress Sonne IV?" Hoff, slovenly splayed over a lounger, drink in hand, said, "Excellent flying.… Continue reading Beneath the Snow of Jetzt

A War Like Any Other

Zyon Genna had been away at war for more than two standard years, but the hardest part was going home. The small dropship taking him back to his farm also carried his eldest son, Alistair, and his middle son, Rome. The little cabin was weighed down by the ghost of Emerald, Rome's twin sister. Her… Continue reading A War Like Any Other

The Time Slip Man

He'd called it a bunker, but it was really just a series of empty square chambers carved out of the Tritonian ice, pressurized, and separated by heavy hatchways. Whatever you called it, he wasn't here. Leah could sense Captain West's impatience. "Give him a little time," she said. West snorted. "You'd think he'd be punctual… Continue reading The Time Slip Man

A Sort of Homecoming

It had been a hard-fought tour and Harlow felt she'd earned the right to go home. But not like this. She waded slowly through the river in her six-ton mech suit, mindful of making waves that would douse her squadmates who were on foot. The water was up to their waists and they were doing… Continue reading A Sort of Homecoming

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

Can’t Change the Past

A temporal switch-box is a complicated device, to put it mildly. It made an 18th century Swiss timepiece look like a mud pie by comparison. So Will was understandably upset when Kai blew theirs to smithereens with a shift grenade. It was Thursday, October 10th, 2307—78 years in the past, to them, and three days… Continue reading Can’t Change the Past

Worm Food

It wasn't raining this morning, so Eino didn't grab a poncho. But, as he'd come to expect, the weather on Kultainen Tunti could change on a dime. Without the weather mod-sats there was little that could be done about it. At the moment, things were not as golden as the name implied. Eino was soaked.… Continue reading Worm Food

Bait

It was a gray day—overcast but bright, and the brightness amplified by a patchwork of melting snow. Cold puddles formed in the mud like tidepools along the shore of some vast alkaline ocean, still and lifeless. Karsaca remained vigilant, her finger at the ready, and tried not to think about the dryness of her eyes… Continue reading Bait