Charlie’s Anchor

The sky was clear and the suns were up. Light rays bounced off the dust particles in the atmosphere, making the daytime sky seem full of stars. Charlie tried to enjoy it. She liked being outside the settlement, even with the bulky envirosuit. She tried to marvel at the bioelectric technology that surrounded her as… Continue reading Charlie’s Anchor

The Seventh Moon

The six inner moons of Avalon—a typical ice giant out on the fringe—were fine places. Rocky bodies, essentially spheroids, rich in ices and metals. Good for industry, and more than capable of supporting associated settlements. But the seventh moon—that was the prize. If you could get to it. Preliminary data indicated a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, temperate… Continue reading The Seventh Moon

Idle Hands

It didn't have a name. People sometimes called it the Barrens, but most preferred not to talk about it at all. Penal colonies have little overlap with polite conversation. Unfortunately for Myla, those sorts of unwritten social codes no longer applied to her. She took the first step out of the drop-pod and onto the… Continue reading Idle Hands

Let’s Get Cruisin’

When Siegena was close enough to see, Amber unexpectedly found herself impressed. She'd been shuttling folks around the belt with her pops for as long as she'd been able to float, so she considered herself worldly; she thought she'd been just about everywhere, and one place mostly looked like any other. But Siegena was different.… Continue reading Let’s Get Cruisin’

Worm Food

It wasn't raining this morning, so Eino didn't grab a poncho. But, as he'd come to expect, the weather on Kultainen Tunti could change on a dime. Without the weather mod-sats there was little that could be done about it. At the moment, things were not as golden as the name implied. Eino was soaked.… Continue reading Worm Food

A Little Chaos

Though the sky was the dark of night, interrupted only by the steady smiles of distant stars and the blue-green arc of the Ring, the clouds far below glowed with orange light. They looked remarkedly like hot coals ready to be fanned into glorious flames. Tareq sipped his cortado. He was fortunate, and he took… Continue reading A Little Chaos

Blackout

Tori woke up like a pot left to boil over, lurching up and gasping from a nightmare immediately forgotten. Her eyes were hot and dry and crusted firmly shut from the dew drops she used last night. The high was second-to-none, but you always paid for it in the morning. She picked the goop from… Continue reading Blackout

Cosmic Justice

It came down like snow. Like a blizzard, in fact, smearing the space between the cloud tops and the ground into a disorienting blur of whirling, blinding, chaotic particles. For a moment, just before descent, Ken became absorbed in the abstract motion and found it profoundly beautiful. Perhaps it was this tendency—to become transfixed by… Continue reading Cosmic Justice

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

Learning to Paint

Sandra was as surprised as anyone when she failed her compulsory exam, but she supposed that's why they had randoms to begin with. By the time you realize you've caught Degen, you've probably infected your whole settlement. The moment that red light came on they rushed her into Level 5 Quarantine to await confirmation. Presently,… Continue reading Learning to Paint