Anachronic Lag

All the windows were boarded shut from the inside. Jacinthe didn't even bother with the front door. Instead she walked around the sun-scorched and weather-beaten house, expecting very little and generally having her expectations met. The midday brightness baked the earth. The heat almost seemed to rise up from the cracks in the yellow-white clay.… Continue reading Anachronic Lag

Helping Hand

Shivam awoke to strange constellations. Red stars that didn’t glimmer, looking not so far above the tops of the Western white pines. Then he felt a tremble in the earth like an orchestral brass section playing dissonant chords in infrasound somewhere just out of sight within the dark forest. There was a Behemoth ship overhead.… Continue reading Helping Hand

Terra Nullius

The object flashed by the Earth so fast that we didn't even have time to photograph it. We didn't even know what it was, but its path was perpendicular to the ecliptic, or nearly so. A piece of it broke off—or was ejected with purpose, depending on your own inclination—and made landfall. It was called… Continue reading Terra Nullius

The Heart of Elatus

The air was stale, but the fact that there was air at all was something of a miracle. Demetri was the first person to walk the halls of Elatus in a thousand years. He shut his visor. Breathable as the air might be, it was damp and there were thick carpets of mold overhead, as… Continue reading The Heart of Elatus

Painting by Numbers

"First are the golds." Jaylah squeezed paint from the tube. She mixed her colors with meditative patience and focus. She'd spent the week working ahead at a feverish pace. Traffic was cleared; packets were outbound; scrubbers and filters and purifiers were fresh. Islet N114S7-12 was unburdened for the day. So there was no need to… Continue reading Painting by Numbers

New Moon

Wikus stared up at the Moon, and half a billion refugees stared back. He couldn't help but think of his grandfather, Papa. He would have been proud. The atmosphere within the domed city atop Olympus Mons was thin; not for being on Mars or even for its elevation, but for the allocations underway. Olympus Prime… Continue reading New Moon

Memories of Birds

The early morning air was cool, but not uncomfortable, as Annika strolled through the unstructured wilds of Quaoar. Little insects leapt and glided away from the thin grasses underfoot, chittering softly in their rhythmic, stuttering way as she passed. The long, slender amphibians croaked and gurgled from the rocks along the edges of ponds where… Continue reading Memories of Birds

City People

The clouds were catching on the pointed tips of the skyscrapers like stray threads on a cotton sweater. A light drizzle spilled from the tears. They weren't supposed to be here, and that's what made it exciting. They were explorers, rediscovering ancient secrets and pocketing old-world treasures. Mikey found a little black rock—a pebble, really—with… Continue reading City People

Can’t Change the Past

A temporal switch-box is a complicated device, to put it mildly. It made an 18th century Swiss timepiece look like a mud pie by comparison. So Will was understandably upset when Kai blew theirs to smithereens with a shift grenade. It was Thursday, October 10th, 2307—78 years in the past, to them, and three days… Continue reading Can’t Change the Past

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