Guest Room

Kara sat up in bed and clutched her chest. There was a familiar pounding at her front door. She threw a robe around her toned frame and went to answer it without bothering to check the time—at some point the hour no longer mattered and it was just late. Without flipping on the porch light… Continue reading Guest Room

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

Danger Close to Home

I was at my station, sitting between Rosen and Yamashita, when we got hit. There hadn't been any warning siren or inertial jerk to indicate a defensive maneuver. Hell, Kovacic had been pouring coffee and was halfway through a joke. Maybe if Rosen stopped taking half-hour showers we wouldn't have to— I remember the sound.… Continue reading Danger Close to Home

The Hedron

When the door blew off its hinges it glanced off of Gartner's shoulder and sent him twisting through the air. The Shadows were inside the Temple. They crossed the chasm and shredded Gartner into wet leathery ribbons the color of plum wine before he hit the floor. Captain Erra didn't need the quantum mind of… Continue reading The Hedron

Morning Capture

The first dirty neon tendrils of sunlight lashed the backs of clouds that had grown plump and forgetful in the night. Claude shielded his eyes against the harsh dawn and the hot breeze it brought with it. He and Cheyenne had a clear view of the camp below, the soldiers already set about their morning… Continue reading Morning Capture

Not Alone in the Dead City

Martina crouched low as she picked her way through the dead city, sprinting between scattered debris. It was hard to tell what used to be a street and what used to be a building and what used to be a body. She popped out from behind a twisted rail switch, wrenched up from the ground… Continue reading Not Alone in the Dead City

Escaping the Nonpareil

Sparks came down like molten rain. Drea ran through the neon smoke and darkness, clawing at the air in front of her. Sometimes she caught stray cables hanging like cobwebs, or severed ducts that breathed hot steam onto her face, but mostly she only swatted uselessly at the emptiness. The Nonpareil was bleeding to death, but… Continue reading Escaping the Nonpareil

Studying the Veracruz Coast

"This is Sr. Navcom Technician Hugo Shaw, acting pilot of the Veracruz Coast." His full round cheeks jiggled just a little as he spoke. Beads of sweat stuck to the roots of his combed back black hair along the top of his forehead. "I am acting on orders from Chief Pilot Erica Vance, who was executed… Continue reading Studying the Veracruz Coast

Weak Stomach

Before today, the only time Specialist Gordon saw live fire was on the range, and he'd anticipated it staying that way. The Tarnhelm was a patrol frigate that stuck to the mercantile routes, mostly performing random inspections and enforcing trade permits. He never imagined he'd get into a firefight on a pirate vessel, and now that… Continue reading Weak Stomach

Playing the Odds

Officials said that while the long period comet would pass within the moon's orbit, the chances of it striking the Earth were only 1 in 3,000,000. They'd been saying it all summer. When the news was first announced it went through the usual media blitz, cycling down after a few weeks and then reemerging at… Continue reading Playing the Odds