Deadflower Refinery

"Isn't this just something?" she asked with enthusiasm. She clasped her hands together in front of her heart. Her eyes sparkled in that excited way of hers and I nearly ceded, but caught myself. One of these days those eyes would get me to blindly agree to something foolhardy. Maybe today. But not yet. I… Continue reading Deadflower Refinery

Retrograde

Launch was in three days. That meant today was Pirinid's last day of leave before she had to report to the launch complex for final preparations. Her whole life had been a series of preparations, but now that closest approach was upon her, she wasn't certain she wanted to be an Ambassador. Oh, but her… Continue reading Retrograde

Return to Paramount

Kace entered the tavern beside the unlicensed spaceport south of New Pennet on Adenin. It was dim inside, and the twin suns at midday turned him into a silhouette in the doorway. For that brief moment, the patrons paid him no mind. He looked human enough. But after he stepped inside and the door fell… Continue reading Return to Paramount

Freighthopping

Coleman hopped across the frozen dark brown landscape of Marius Regio north of Melkart—outside its protective bubble. He was picking up speed. He was surprised just how fast he could go now that he was in the open, but even so he was falling behind. Gus was 25 meters ahead and the gap was increasing.… Continue reading Freighthopping

Colony Collapse Disorder

The deep blue crescent of Surefire grew to unfathomable size as the shuttle descended on the night side. High white chains of clouds disappeared behind the orange glow of reentry flames. Tina kept her dark eyes downcast and rubbed her fingers. She was collected but didn't want to invite conversation. Speculation as to what had… Continue reading Colony Collapse Disorder

Butterfly

Dean stared at his hands through the plastic of the facemask, the now-empty syringe in the turmeric-colored dirt beside him, discarded, and he wondered with awe and terror what might become of him. A breeze rustled the black star-shaped leaves of the tree he sat under, and it sent a shiver up his spine. This… Continue reading Butterfly

Making Do

At long last they took their seats for dinner. The four servantoids served the salads promptly. Gene and Judy had splurged on new servantoids—this year's model—but they were only allowed two due to the strict rationing. Their guests, Jude and Ginny, had to bring their own. Gene fumed to himself in his quiet way, and… Continue reading Making Do

The Light of Other Stars

Brook donned her worn, cumbersome pressure suit piece by piece, sat on the uncomfortable bench in the airlock, and waited for equalization. She found a Zen-like solace in the rushing sound of dark viscous fluid filling the lock and she tried to harness it into something positive. Her crewmates had surprised her with a pastry… Continue reading The Light of Other Stars

From the Garden

At 12 years old, Liam felt older than his parents. The other kids at school had the same feeling. Reality was right here, right now, all around them. But the only thing the grown-ups had any interest in was a fantasy of the past. Earth. Climate change. The draft. So what? The future was at… Continue reading From the Garden

The Rift

Zane began to sweat as his suit's cooling system ran low on power. He should have been there by now. He trudged along through ankle-deep mist and against a wind that seemed to blow counter to whatever direction he tried to move. The harsh divide of the horizon sliced through the haze of brightly colored… Continue reading The Rift