Warnings From the Tanglemind

"Phobia. Kinetics. Dodecahedron." Cara was alone with the tanglemind. Robin said she'd only be gone twenty minutes tops. That was an hour and a half ago. "Tourmaline. Aureolin. Wisteria." The world's easiest babysitting job was getting on her nerves. "Polychrome. Leptis Magna. Backscatter." The Holsteiner Crown, like all federated naval ships, had an onboard tanglemind. Technically,… Continue reading Warnings From the Tanglemind

Storm Shelter

Petty Officer Lars Lamont helped get the clamp in position and then got out of the way. He didn't like it, but the Kid had to learn sometime. The whole cohort was at Lars' least favorite part of the training: practicum. He had to babysit while they did the wrenching on the Kólga's FTL drive. They… Continue reading Storm Shelter

No Innocent People

Emera had a sick feeling in her gut from the get-go, from the very first words of the briefing, and from there it only grew in her chest like a rancid vine strangling her heart. She boarded the dropship with the rest of the platoon. They were about to descend onto a remote and undefended… Continue reading No Innocent People

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

Using for the Cause

"Braindead" hauled herself out of her chair—it took a little effort with the flight suit—and locked herself in a toilet stall in the locker room adjacent to the on-deck lounge. "Braindead" wasn't her name—could you imagine?—but her call sign. She got it back in flight school when she didn't realize her mic was hot and… Continue reading Using for the Cause

The Worst Kind of Enemy

"Ma'am, with all due respect, am I to understand—" Admiral Canty dismissed him with a wave of a pixelated hand—the heavy encryption on the 'tangle feed tended to make the holos look blocky. "You aren't to understand anything, Captain." It wasn't often that someone could make Tanner's rank sound derogatory. The Amphinome, the ship under his command,… Continue reading The Worst Kind of Enemy

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

Betrayal Among Brothers

Castiel held Ishaan with his eyes through 3mm of vacuum-hardened plastic. It may as well have been 10 meters of lead. They'd been as close as brothers, once. But the tides of time erode brothers as easily as shorelines; it's not a measure of virtue or desire, or even grit, but of the accelerating expansion… Continue reading Betrayal Among Brothers

Mother Sea Turtle

Admiral Pak entered the committee chamber like she were riding a chariot pulled by fire-breathing Andalusian stallions. "Whose brainchild is this abomination?" She pointed at the holo of Monumenta hovering above the conference table, reflected in its glassy onyx finish. The various officials and councilors bristled at her accent: Sol system. They'd all been there,… Continue reading Mother Sea Turtle

From One Violence to Another

The scorching white sun was overhead and the humidity was oppressive, but even so, the alleys of downtown Gemini City were crammed with people. People everywhere, so close they had to swim and shuffle past each other. A city this big could never be built to a plan. There were no streets to speak of,… Continue reading From One Violence to Another