Half Done

It started with a bar fight. I don’t remember what started the swinging, but I do know that I swung first, and I did it with a double rocks glass in my hand. Dark liquor and darker blood covered the big man’s droopy, drawn-out face and sharp little pebbles of glass scattered over the floorboards.… Continue reading Half Done

Subroutine

||Error S712: continuum rupture|| //Launching «backfire» subroutine /Analyzing\ ||Irretrievable chronology|| //Executing «retrojaunt» /Setting delta minima\ ||-1 minute|| ||Fuel: sufficient|| /Scanning jaunt chamber\ ||Lifeforms: negative|| /Triggering\ ||INSTABILITY|| /Override: authority «backfire»\ /Triggering\ ||Complete|| /Temporal preservation cooldown: trigger lockout\ «retrojaunt»\\ /Analyzing\ ||Stable chronology|| ||Lifeforms: positive|| ||Security breach|| //Executing «retrojaunt» ||Trigger lockout|| «retrojaunt»\\ //Executing security protocol «blue lambda» ||Antagonists:… Continue reading Subroutine

Redacted

It looked like there were two bodies, but it’s always hard to tell in these cases. They were like cherry popsicles on the pavement on the Fourth of July: a sticky red mess you tried your best not to step in. I’d seen it before. More times than I cared to count. Perfect case record,… Continue reading Redacted

The Third Age of Sail

The First Age of Sail lasted for 400 years, marking a period when wind-powered ocean vessels were the principal means of human commerce before the rise of steam engines. The Second Age of Sail was a reaction to rising average global temperatures. Wind propulsion, combined with the advent of electric battery technology, again dominated mercantile… Continue reading The Third Age of Sail

Dead Matter

"There is only one true God," said the Exoform, addressing the prisoners. "You gonna tell us it's you?" shouted a man with more courage and less sense than I. "No," said the Exoform. "The only God is Entropy." And then it vaporized the man. Slowly. I dared not turn away, but I unfocused my eyes… Continue reading Dead Matter

Was It Something I Said?

Ambassador Neph sat in the partitioned meeting room aboard the Diplomacy II, bouncing her heels off the floor. She wiped off her sweaty palms on her pant legs. Every time she realized her legs were bouncing she would stop, only to soon realize they'd started again. The door on the other side of the transparent partition… Continue reading Was It Something I Said?

Mapping the Tetra

"Seen one Tetra, seen 'em all. What'd I tell you?" "More than I asked for," said Pia. "I hired a pilot, not a color commentator. Stay the course." The impossible bulk of a Predecessor Tetra loomed before them, a lightyear to a side and as smooth and as black as any human tool could measure.… Continue reading Mapping the Tetra

Morals of a Gun for Hire

"This isn't right." "Not this shit again," growled Kendall, "not now. We've been over this: they're not people." Zaine and Seren kept working. They'd heard it before and didn't want to hear it again, though Leon suspected they agreed with him on some level. He was all about pinching mint from the Fedcorp, but murder… Continue reading Morals of a Gun for Hire

Ghosts of Tomorrow

The Empress of the SUGRA Skies sunbathed at a hangar on Eta Convex while Sawyer watched from the shadows. He stood to stave off the urge to sleep. He could rest when he was back on board, after the next jump, but not now. Not while there were hands other than his own touching the Empress. The… Continue reading Ghosts of Tomorrow

The Message and the Messenger

Ian paced down the triangular corridors of the deep space listening outpost like an agitated lion at the zoo. Three walls. Three-month rotations. Three shifts with three technicians each. Threes must be important, so he checked his work every three hours. Didn't leave much time for sleep, but he didn't want to sleep. The nightmares… Continue reading The Message and the Messenger