Lure

At long last, Jimenez saw the blazing white lance of the beacon in the slate green haze, and after a few more steps forward Leroux's slim profile appeared near the beacon's base. He wasn't moving. She tried hailing him. No response. No surprise; she'd been hailing him for hours. Jimenez approached carefully over the crevices… Continue reading Lure

Alphanebulon-3 and Brian

Riggs woke first, greeted by the playful chuckling of the creek and the crisp autumn smell of rain clouds coming down from the escarpment. And by a fully armored man in a long brown cape carrying some sort of weird pulse rifle. Standing beside the man was a twelve-foot blue robot looking something like a… Continue reading Alphanebulon-3 and Brian

Unbound in the Shade

"Entering the Shade in 30 seconds," said Ecliptious, the Resolution's onboard AI. It was the smartest member of the crew—though they were all gifted scientists and explorers—even bound as it was. The risks of this mission were unknown, but the risks of an unbound AI were well understood. The mission proceeded, and Ecliptious remained bound. No… Continue reading Unbound in the Shade

Just the Start

I ran down the emergency outer corridor on Lambda Deck, but it looked like all the others. The escape pods were gone. The automatic lighting was intermittent. The long-dried dark brown splatters on the white walls and floors made my heart thrash in my chest and I had to keep swallowing bile, but I refused… Continue reading Just the Start

Attenuation

There was a static hiss. Flickering teal light beyond his visor. His shoulder hurt—must have slept on it funny. Actually, he was oddly reclined. Anton Tereschenko swam out of a foggy dreamless sleep and into a foggy dreamlike reality. He was wearing a flight suit and strapped to a crash couch. He unlatched the harnesses… Continue reading Attenuation

Colony Collapse Disorder

The deep blue crescent of Surefire grew to unfathomable size as the shuttle descended on the night side. High white chains of clouds disappeared behind the orange glow of reentry flames. Tina kept her dark eyes downcast and rubbed her fingers. She was collected but didn't want to invite conversation. Speculation as to what had… Continue reading Colony Collapse Disorder

A Serious Problem

Its face was a putrid shade of orange, like fruit gone to rot. It had only the most basic impression of the necessary features—eyes, nose, and flat mouth—but lacked detail. No wrinkles, no whiskers, no creases or blemishes, no freckles or scars or tired bags beneath the eyes. The lack of definition made the flecks… Continue reading A Serious Problem

Buried Questions

Dr. Mae Cassendor wheeled yet another load of spoil to the heap. Sweat beads spilled from her brow down her round cheeks, and not just from the physicality of her work; her suit's heat exchanger was reaching its max. Though the outside temperature was just below freezing, the atmosphere was too thin for her suit… Continue reading Buried Questions

The Stargazer’s Test

Mitch stood alone in the unnatural gloam of the sacred canyons. He hated it here; it gave him the creeps. The long branches of the wanderwood trees slithered slowly across the chalky stones, shedding their bark with a wooden groan that swirled around him as it echoed from the canyon walls. A chill breeze swept… Continue reading The Stargazer’s Test

Projecting

Ava Graves stepped cautiously out of the escape pod and onto the alien ship. There was no one to greet her. No one to lovingly vivisect her for scientific pursuits, either, but still, the solitude after such a long and lonely stretch was maddening. A long corridor stretched before her, its every angled surface reflective… Continue reading Projecting