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

Lawn

The garage had bays for three rovers. Tsumugi had a hard time imagining a private citizen needing one rover, let alone three. She gently tossed her bot into the pressurized, purified, triple-filtered triple-scrubbed and triple-treated air. It floated gently through the space, its thrusters puffing lightly as its spherical eyes mapped the garage from every… Continue reading Lawn

Canaries

Trent never committed a crime, but he found himself a convict anyway. Wasn't uncommon. He'd heard one in five citizens across the empire was a convict now—more than starvation, or even Phlox Syndrome. It was probably all exaggerated, but for every grain of salt there was a grain of truth to go with it. The… Continue reading Canaries

Body Builder

Arsen was building a new body. The process was tedious and incremental, but an improvement over the natural way, he supposed. And this was no new life he was bringing into the world; just a vessel. A vessel through which he might live on. It helped that he'd finally settled on a new name: Luciana.… Continue reading Body Builder

FNG

"My God, I think I'm gonna be sick." M4<^>w? looked down at its new trainee with disdain. It didn't show on its face, but it felt it. The apertures adjusted on its six ocular inputs, arranged vertically on the face of its elongated head, in an impression of a squint. "God had nothing to do… Continue reading FNG

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

Scatterbrained

Mary was a little scatterbrained when she found it, but that had been intentional, not to mention lucrative. She worked in the mines on a planet with the interminable name OGLE-2013-BLG-0341L B b; for whatever reason the naming rights were tangled in a legal dispute which left a situation where the planet could be mined… Continue reading Scatterbrained

Agent Ouroboros

"You've done well, Captain, and you can expect your effort to be rewarded," said Ouroboros. She'd been born Olivia Shen, but she'd given up that identity along with everything else to become an Agent, one of the shadowy operatives who lived between the stars. They were the movers and shakers around whom this galaxy spun.… Continue reading Agent Ouroboros

Shiver

Reef thawed out in a rubbery basin. The chemicals prevented his body from shivering, but not from feeling the cold. It was a biting, terrifying cold. He felt like icicles were pinning down his limbs so he could be cleanly dissected. He was glad he was alone; no one else had to endure his screaming.… Continue reading Shiver