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

Dyson’s Fear

For a time—though a great long time it was—the Immortal King Dyson, a supreme intelligence of spontaneous origin, ruled over the myriad species of the galactic empire. And for a time, it was good. King Dyson, a simple and pleasing name it chose for itself by combining random syllables, wove its mind into the bright… Continue reading Dyson’s Fear

Agent Ouroboros

"You've done well, Captain, and you can expect your effort to be rewarded," said Ouroboros. She'd been born Olivia Shen, but she'd given up that identity along with everything else to become an Agent, one of the shadowy operatives who lived between the stars. They were the movers and shakers around whom this galaxy spun.… Continue reading Agent Ouroboros

No Prisoners

"Bring them out." Par Acaces had no question as to who the ruhl meant by them. The par gathered the feeble space-weakened prisoners, with their wet eyes and their dry elastic skin, and marched them in a shackled line off the hulking battle transport. Ruhl Shald  was waiting on the narrow bridgeway, pacing and clomping about… Continue reading No Prisoners

Game Theory

"Am I the first?" asked Arcus, kneeling. "I'm afraid not." He looked up, surprised despite the likelihood of the answer. The eye contact appeared to make the Ascendantary uncomfortable. Something new, then—a deviation. A good sign. "How—" "A great many. I have not kept count." She had known his question before he'd fully formed it… Continue reading Game Theory

Lux Apocrypha

Lieutenant Colonel Randall Jung watched alone from the observation spire of his command cruiser, the Fate Arisen, as the drop ships poured from the formation of carriers by the thousands. The starfield beyond was completely blotted out. To think, such an imposing show of force, and still it would not be enough. A million soldiers… Continue reading Lux Apocrypha

This Is Not a Drill

As soon as Airman Rhodes reported for duty at the rear of the wash house he let his feelings be known. "Aw, shit. Eight hours with you?" Airman Berd awkwardly flapped one hand in the air and forced a toothy smile. "Together again, huh Rhodes?" It was painful enough folding freshly steamed laundry all shift,… Continue reading This Is Not a Drill

Ex Nihilo

Bloodied and battered, Raiden was dragged before the major, the rumbling of battle still reverberating through the rogue station. "Professor Laurel?" "That's awfully formal for the occasion." He spat on the major's tactical boots. A gash above his hairline dripped fresh blood through the canyons of deep wrinkles across his face—more than she would have… Continue reading Ex Nihilo

Wired

There was a portrait on the wall, and for some reason Kilbourn couldn't take her eyes off it. It was black ink on canvas that had grown sickly yellow-green long ago. She couldn't decide if the face was a man's or a woman's. Every time she thought she'd made up her mind those eyes seemed… Continue reading Wired

Standardized Testing

Calia climbed into the hollowed out stump of a fallen roof tree and made an effort to quiet her labored breathing. Her lungs felt sunburned from the sprint and her mouth was cottony, flecked with bitter congealing saliva. She wiped at the beads of sweat on her brow, not noticing the dark streaks she left… Continue reading Standardized Testing