Critical Resolution

"War's over," said Commander Cotton. I'd never seen her so grim. I remained laying on my cot, having long ago learned how far I could push against the power dynamic between us, even as our relationship evolved into one of mutual understanding if not respect. "Well then, congratulations. What was the final nail?" "Your acting-chief… Continue reading Critical Resolution

Mapping the Tetra

"Seen one Tetra, seen 'em all. What'd I tell you?" "More than I asked for," said Pia. "I hired a pilot, not a color commentator. Stay the course." The impossible bulk of a Predecessor Tetra loomed before them, a lightyear to a side and as smooth and as black as any human tool could measure.… Continue reading Mapping the Tetra

Major

Gio must have fallen asleep, because when he looked up there was someone sitting in the crash couch across from him in the otherwise empty shuttle. She wasn't quite staring at him, but looking through him. Lightyears away. Chewing gum. She seemed totally at home, but her outfit was out of place on a military… Continue reading Major

Arrival of the Pangea

Varun waited for Lan in the corridor beside the airlock. He watched pale teal shadows shift across the cloud tops of the planet's atmosphere. The view would be better once they were outside, unconstricted by the frame of the window. But there was still work to do, and he wanted to get his gawking out… Continue reading Arrival of the Pangea

Return of the Centauri Man

It had been a long time by any measure. But of course, the measure was the whole point. Max was awake and returning to Earth. He'd spent the bulk of the journey in a state of minmet. Even so, his stretches of wakefulness totaled more than four years subjective. Four years, five weeks, two days,… Continue reading Return of the Centauri Man

Warnings From the Tanglemind

"Phobia. Kinetics. Dodecahedron." Cara was alone with the tanglemind. Robin said she'd only be gone twenty minutes tops. That was an hour and a half ago. "Tourmaline. Aureolin. Wisteria." The world's easiest babysitting job was getting on her nerves. "Polychrome. Leptis Magna. Backscatter." The Holsteiner Crown, like all federated naval ships, had an onboard tanglemind. Technically,… Continue reading Warnings From the Tanglemind

Ghosts of Tomorrow

The Empress of the SUGRA Skies sunbathed at a hangar on Eta Convex while Sawyer watched from the shadows. He stood to stave off the urge to sleep. He could rest when he was back on board, after the next jump, but not now. Not while there were hands other than his own touching the Empress. The… Continue reading Ghosts of Tomorrow

Storm Shelter

Petty Officer Lars Lamont helped get the clamp in position and then got out of the way. He didn't like it, but the Kid had to learn sometime. The whole cohort was at Lars' least favorite part of the training: practicum. He had to babysit while they did the wrenching on the Kólga's FTL drive. They… Continue reading Storm Shelter

Ups and Downs

Nu stood in the warm tidepools and took in one last look at the blazing blue sun. It had no name, just like this planet. But with a little luck, they would both be in the catalogs in a couple hours. The planet was rich in drinkable water, breathable air, and stable landmasses, but luck… Continue reading Ups and Downs

The Cleanup Crew

Livi snorted and shook her head as they approached what remained of the Rockhound. Zora gave her a sideways glance and half a frown. "What?" She looked like a hard vacuum personified—cold, imposing, and entirely without a sense of humor. "It's just—you know—all that empty space out there and they still managed to hit something. Like,… Continue reading The Cleanup Crew