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

How Many Zeros?

"Let me know at what point I'm supposed to be impressed," said Zoe. "I'm sorry, you'll have to remind me: are you rich, or rude?" said Asher, folding his arms and looking sideways at the wealthiest venture capitalist interested in investing in terraforming. Her aide, Jonathan—a young professional who'd let stress prematurely age him a… Continue reading How Many Zeros?

Shiver

Reef thawed out in a rubbery basin. The chemicals prevented his body from shivering, but not from feeling the cold. It was a biting, terrifying cold. He felt like icicles were pinning down his limbs so he could be cleanly dissected. He was glad he was alone; no one else had to endure his screaming.… Continue reading Shiver

Terraforming Terra

Cole sat slowly down, owing the slowness to the low surface gravity, and nestled his body down. The armchair shifted on its own to hold his doughy body more comfortably. He bit the tip off of a thick, tightly rolled cigar—imported from Europa—and lit it with the small butane lighter he kept beside the armchair… Continue reading Terraforming Terra

Undercity Revolution

Everything was sore. Elenore wiped the grit from her eyes and stretched her long arms and legs like a modern take on the Vitruvian Man. The space she encompassed was her own, but only that and nothing more. She slid one of the empty ten-liter plastic cartons out from under her bed and squatted over… Continue reading Undercity Revolution

Terraplant

“What’d you say your name was?” “Garbenzera. Rick Garbenzera.” The director turned his gaunt, thin-lipped face to his assistant, Miranda Spring, a woman with soft features and a hard voice whom Rick would have just as easily accepted to be 25 as 40. He got a mentor-protege vibe from the two of them. They both… Continue reading Terraplant

The Lifters

I'll keep this brief. In cosmic terms, our species was here but for a short time, and as individuals our time was shorter still; too short to measure from such a perspective. This is the way it was meant to be. As the last of us, I can say that with certainty. The Lifters, as… Continue reading The Lifters

Amethyst

Amethyst, like most planets discovered in the 23rd century, had a name as one-dimensional as it was misleading. There's no quartz here. The first ship to attempt a landing nearly combusted when its hull started oxidizing from the iodine in the atmosphere. That's what gives it its rich violet palette: the iodine vents. Its scorching… Continue reading Amethyst