The Right Price

The six-worlds rule had been a fact of life for thousands of years. It predated even the Solidarity. Long enough that no one questioned it anymore. It was a fact that turned a healthy profit for savvy pilots like Kadence. She wasn't famous, but those in the know knew her. The six-worlds rule said that no… Continue reading The Right Price

You Had One Job

Elsinore Corona didn't look nearly as wavy as it did from orbit. Guy squatted and leapt off Miranda's surface. The rock and ice receded below his feet. Five meters. Ten meters. He'd be up here awhile, but at least the view was nice. The distance between Miranda and Uranus was only a third of that… Continue reading You Had One Job

The Seventh Moon

The six inner moons of Avalon—a typical ice giant out on the fringe—were fine places. Rocky bodies, essentially spheroids, rich in ices and metals. Good for industry, and more than capable of supporting associated settlements. But the seventh moon—that was the prize. If you could get to it. Preliminary data indicated a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, temperate… Continue reading The Seventh Moon

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

Special Cargo

The pilot made Lula feel extremely uncomfortable. The pilot likely felt nothing at all for his part. Him? Was the pilot a man? Not in the philosophical man-or-machine sense, but biologically. She'd assumed he was a man based on his bulk and the breadth of his shoulders, but she supposed those were not meaningful indicators.… Continue reading Special Cargo

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

Let’s Get Cruisin’

When Siegena was close enough to see, Amber unexpectedly found herself impressed. She'd been shuttling folks around the belt with her pops for as long as she'd been able to float, so she considered herself worldly; she thought she'd been just about everywhere, and one place mostly looked like any other. But Siegena was different.… Continue reading Let’s Get Cruisin’

Supersonic Solar Surfer

"So what do you do?" Rhoda looked up from her bowl of micrograins and green sauce—some sort of macronutrient vegetable purée that had more smell than taste. She'd thought she was alone in the Utnapishtim's galley; she was still groggy from cryo, not fully thawed yet. The man before her seemed too young for his… Continue reading Supersonic Solar Surfer

Flying High

Saoirse was floating through a giant spherical kaleidoscope, or at least that's how it felt. The feeling was due in large part to the Lighthouse's location in the galactic core, surrounded by the bloated furnaces and black fissures that comprised this lonely carousel. However, some of the feeling undoubtedly came from the pills. She was… Continue reading Flying High

The Scald

A lone, dark skeleton walked the Scald. The surface was made of standing waves the color of burnt cinnamon, cooked enough to stop from flowing, but not enough to blacken. The crust floated over an ocean of churning magma like a patella cut from its tendons. The skeleton thought it was supposed to have a… Continue reading The Scald