A Taste of Vengeance

The morning sky is black, thick with the ash spit from the stacks of the trawlers. The metal-plated machines stretch two kilometers straight upward, maybe more, with wide bases that could cover my entire village twice over. They hover on a cushion of plasma and crawl across the surface in long, ponderous paths, harvesting the… Continue reading A Taste of Vengeance

The Gentle Crush of Outward Expansion

Cyclopea VII did not want to be tamed. In that way it was like all the other wild planets before they'd been swept into the Fold. The Scouts would break it, eventually. But this was to be a war of attrition. Kaixuan stood beside a loaded-up Colt, its multijointed glassy carbon legs firm beneath its… Continue reading The Gentle Crush of Outward Expansion

Coming in Hot

"Let's just cool off and talk in a few days, right? I lo—...well, goodbye." That slimy son of a bitch almost said I love you. Martin had spoken that lie so many times it was habitual. If he was in front of her right now she might kill him. He wasn't, of course, but he would… Continue reading Coming in Hot

Knowing the Enemy

The ice giant Rosen is only a pale crescent in the violet sky of its largest moon. Ivodus looks up and thinks it looks like the closed eye of a sleeping god. Or a dead one. This place sets off strange and indistinct memories, more feelings than specific recollections, and he doesn't like it. It… Continue reading Knowing the 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

How to Sleep for 1,000 Years

As part of his education, Praveen had to read the autobiography of Dr. Maaz Ghazali, one of the pioneers of cryonic interstellar travel. It was called How to Sleep for 1,000 Years. Interesting book, if a little dated. It didn't really cover Praveen's current dilemma, but even so, the parallels were enough to chill him to… Continue reading How to Sleep for 1,000 Years

Throw Away Your Body Parts

The fires that night were so bright that I got out of bed thinking it was sunrise. I pulled up the time out of habit, and when I saw the hour I leapt from the fold-out to the balcony door and slid it open in one explosive movement. My conapt was on the 177th floor.… Continue reading Throw Away Your Body Parts

The Last Wonder

Above, thick bundles of diamond nanotubes cut thousands of parallel vertical lines in the air, disappearing in low cloud cover. Below, the ruins. The buildings that were still standing were either skeletons or bloating, sagging corpses. Shipping containers were strewn about among the hulls of gondolas like a knocked-over bucket of Legos. Capsized ships and… Continue reading The Last Wonder

Big Wins

There was an Attack Macaque in the courtyard—AM-120 from the looks of it: forward infantry mecha, fast, and trigger happy for an AI. But that's not what worried Daiju. He was worried about the mushroom cap standing guard, so called for their umbrella-like helmets. It wasn't a nice term. Wasn't meant to be. They fancied themselves… Continue reading Big Wins

What Grows in the Orchard

Kartika walked through the soft grass of her family's orchard, smiling as the sun warmed her shoulders. The first promise of autumn was in the breeze. It was nearly time to harvest. Even with her prescription sunglasses she had to squint against the multifaceted reflections of the sun. Rainbow prisms flitted in her periphery vision… Continue reading What Grows in the Orchard