The morning sky is black, thick with the ash spit from the stacks of the trawlers. The metal-plated machines stretch two kilometers straight upward, maybe more, with wide bases that could cover my entire village twice over. They hover on a cushion of plasma and crawl across the surface in long, ponderous paths, harvesting the… Continue reading A Taste of Vengeance
The Gentle Crush of Outward Expansion
Cyclopea VII did not want to be tamed. In that way it was like all the other wild planets before they'd been swept into the Fold. The Scouts would break it, eventually. But this was to be a war of attrition. Kaixuan stood beside a loaded-up Colt, its multijointed glassy carbon legs firm beneath its… Continue reading The Gentle Crush of Outward Expansion
The object flashed by the Earth so fast that we didn't even have time to photograph it. We didn't even know what it was, but its path was perpendicular to the ecliptic, or nearly so. A piece of it broke off—or was ejected with purpose, depending on your own inclination—and made landfall. It was called… Continue reading Terra Nullius
Red Planet Rustler
Now was his chance. Jeb was all alone on the far side of the ranch. He gently ran his good hand over the back of one of the large heifers and made cooing sounds as it benignly chewed its cud. Then he threw his bionic arm under its ribs and lifted. The heifer was startled… Continue reading Red Planet Rustler
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?
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
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
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
“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