Building the COB

The observable universe was something near 100 billion lightyears across and all but half of a hundred-quintillionth of it was empty space, so Leia felt justified when she woke up feeling annoyed about her cramped quarters. When it was complete, the COB—Callisto Orbital Basecamp—would serve as the gateway between the inner system and the as… Continue reading Building the COB

The Message and the Messenger

Ian paced down the triangular corridors of the deep space listening outpost like an agitated lion at the zoo. Three walls. Three-month rotations. Three shifts with three technicians each. Threes must be important, so he checked his work every three hours. Didn't leave much time for sleep, but he didn't want to sleep. The nightmares… Continue reading The Message and the Messenger

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

Nothing Comes From Nothing

The tunnel walls were smooth as blown glass, hard as diamond, and cold as everything else in the empty depths between the stars. A brown marbling splintered across the cream-colored surface like veins. Jiten had never seen anything like it anywhere in the solar system, and he'd been to three rocky planets and a hundred… Continue reading Nothing Comes From Nothing

Mother Sea Turtle

Admiral Pak entered the committee chamber like she were riding a chariot pulled by fire-breathing Andalusian stallions. "Whose brainchild is this abomination?" She pointed at the holo of Monumenta hovering above the conference table, reflected in its glassy onyx finish. The various officials and councilors bristled at her accent: Sol system. They'd all been there,… Continue reading Mother Sea Turtle

The Roll

Kenzo woke up when the cigarette burned its way down to his fingers. Must have dozed off. He wasn't sure the last time he really slept. Or ate something, for that matter. He checked the little baggy in the pocket of his red leather jacket. Two white rectangular pills with red dots in the center:… Continue reading The Roll

Starship Fuel and Blood

This was not Captain Jord's first trip to the Deitnerkon; he'd been to Authorial Headquarters many times. But this was the first time since his son had died. His son, Askorot, was slain on the Ophiuchus Line in glorious battle, defending the Authorium from the death-hordes from beyond the disc. The planet where he'd fallen… Continue reading Starship Fuel and Blood

Yellowjacket

After all communications ceased, Flight Engineer Sadhbh Duffy and Science Officer Eddie Takeda stuck it out another nine days before departing in the last Soyuz capsule. They'd tried, but Commander Colin Kask could not be coaxed into abandoning the station. He would remain, alone and without means to escape. The last astronaut. That was 21… Continue reading Yellowjacket

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

Under the Knife

The Lunar Gateway orbital station was made not only of polymers and carbon fibers and lightweight alloys, but, principally, of rules. If humans had been intended for space they would have been born there. To survive in such a hostile and unforgiving environment, a strict, ordered constellation of rules was required. The Gateway had been… Continue reading Under the Knife