How to Sleep for 1,000 Years

As part of his education, Praveen had to read the autobiography of Dr. Maaz Ghazali, one of the pioneers of cryonic interstellar travel. It was called How to Sleep for 1,000 Years. Interesting book, if a little dated. It didn't really cover Praveen's current dilemma, but even so, the parallels were enough to chill him to… Continue reading How to Sleep for 1,000 Years

Learning to Run

Humanity was born on Earth, and the Sol system was where they learned to crawl. And crawl they did, to Mars, and to Mercury, and to Titan. They got so comfortable with crawling that they eventually crawled all the way to the Centauri Coast—Alpha Two, orbiting Rigel Kentaurus—on a three-kilometer generation ship that somehow managed… Continue reading Learning to Run

When the Stars Align

It was early—very early—but the air was warm and still. And Benoît, for his part, hadn't complained in the least. He'd even offered to carry the backpack she'd filled with breakfast pastries, a thermos of dark coffee, and an outdoor blanket. Kirsty thought she might love him, which was what made him worthy of what… Continue reading When the Stars Align

The Price of a Scholarship

Irina floated to the catwalk where her governess waited. Instead of taking the water pouch offered to her, she swatted it away and banged her side fist repeatedly against the bulkhead. Her governess swam over and scooped Irina loosely into her arms. "What has gotten into you, child?" Irina shrugged the woman off. "I don't… Continue reading The Price of a Scholarship

Children of the Reach

Westin walked the night forests of Giausar IV. The hydrogen-filled bubbles hung thirty feet overhead, each one rooted to the ground by a bioluminescent umbilicus too thick to get his hands around to throttle or snap. Long leafy ribbons hung down from the bubbles, rustling in the breeze and brushing his face. It was like… Continue reading Children of the Reach

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