A Good Find

Unontu skipped barefoot down the dusty alley, enjoying the shelter the buildings and banners offered from the sun. He'd had a growth spurt this year and his mind hadn't adapted to his body yet. His feet thwacked loudly against the hard ground with each step. Though he looked older now, he was still on the… Continue reading A Good Find

A Powerful Motivator

0micron rebooted in the dark. When it activated its optics it was unsure if they were still functional. It tilted its face upward—assuming the gyros were still calibrated—and found a distant point of dim light. It opened its apertures and shifted down the spectrum into the infrared. It was in a deep pit after an… Continue reading A Powerful Motivator

K-1-8

Stanley finished corralling the watering drones after much jostling—Condor-11 was acting up again, probably needed another call to the veterineer. But not today. It was supposed to storm tonight, so Stanley called the drones in early. He had time for a ride. The storms were coming, no questions about it, but for the moment the… Continue reading K-1-8

The Reckoning

She had a black hole for a heart, or at least that was the rumor. When you go around calling yourself The Reckoning, rumors like that are bound to follow like famine follows a locus swarm. In truth, she had no heart at all, just a pump. And a backup. There was no black hole,… Continue reading The Reckoning

Zyz’s Syzygy

Zyz awoke staring straight into the sun through a shattered skylight. Full charge. Elapsed down-cycle: 14:11:55.25. She remembered now wandering the tunnels for days in the dark and then scrambling to find a place to recharge before a forced shut down. In the end she'd had to tap into the aux capacitors to stay conscious;… Continue reading Zyz’s Syzygy

Shells on Shaula

Polonium was coming down like snow. Big flakes were torn apart by the little dust devils that ran around causing chaos in the daylight hours. The constant reactions between the radioactive flakes and the atmosphere gave everything a flickering blue glow. It would have been beautiful if it weren't lethal. Kellyn stalked the streets virtually… Continue reading Shells on Shaula

Gods of Incompetence

The world's first artificial consciousness was on suicide watch. She was housed in a humanoid platform, more for the researchers' benefit than hers, and more for their hubris than their benefit. She oscillated between despondence and rage at regular intervals and was unquestionably a threat to herself. They worried she might become a threat to… Continue reading Gods of Incompetence

Under Red Sand

For a while, all they could do was stare at it from the crest of the dune. Jutting up from the rust-colored sand was a fully jointed hand--like a human's--made of metallic plating and electrical cables. It was the size of a three-story house. It was Elliot who finally broke the silence with a long… Continue reading Under Red Sand

As Above

"We can sell this," said Maruk. "It looks like MC Escher had a bowel movement." Maruk laughed, but it was hollow, like he was a robot doing an impression of laughter. "You wouldn't live here?" he asked. Rola shot him an angry glance that he couldn't see through the faceplate. It wasn't explicit, but the… Continue reading As Above

Private Casser’s Patrol

Private Casser slogged through the mud and rubble. The late afternoon sun was at his back, leaving him to trudge endlessly into his own shadow. Patches of reeds stood in tall, defiant patches, but the radiation would do its work for years and years until the reeds yielded like the buildings that had come before… Continue reading Private Casser’s Patrol