Using for the Cause

"Braindead" hauled herself out of her chair—it took a little effort with the flight suit—and locked herself in a toilet stall in the locker room adjacent to the on-deck lounge. "Braindead" wasn't her name—could you imagine?—but her call sign. She got it back in flight school when she didn't realize her mic was hot and… Continue reading Using for the Cause

An Uneasy Alliance

The snowfall was heavy. The flakes were large enough to be feathers, like a flock of white-winged sky-spanning birds was on a migratory path just above the battered tree tops, the rhythmic pulsing of the wind further evidence of beating wings. It was a pity about the trees; trees don't even grow here. Wreckage. Hull… Continue reading An Uneasy Alliance

The Worst Kind of Enemy

"Ma'am, with all due respect, am I to understand—" Admiral Canty dismissed him with a wave of a pixelated hand—the heavy encryption on the 'tangle feed tended to make the holos look blocky. "You aren't to understand anything, Captain." It wasn't often that someone could make Tanner's rank sound derogatory. The Amphinome, the ship under his command,… Continue reading The Worst Kind of Enemy

The Solovyova Object

The Second Cold War was colder than the first, the stakes higher, the players more numerous. But it picked up in the most memorable arena of the First: the Moon. NASA and JAXA maintained a joint science outpost in the Avogadro crater on the far side, and it was from there that Comet Calvillo-Ōtsuka-Folts was… Continue reading The Solovyova Object

The Civility

Something invisible slammed into Meralda's shoulder. Splinters of bone flew away and the force knocked her to the ground, but by the time she bounced back up she was healed. It was just surface damage. A gray sheen of nanocytes swarmed the area and laid down a thick patch of synthetic exoskeleton over the impact… Continue reading The Civility

New Destination

Captain Brecht stood just outside the bunk module of the Veneration. The terminator line split Jupiter in half beyond the crystalline viewport. The massive body now blocked line-of-sight with Earth, and the tumult of its magnetosphere scrambled any stray signals. They were on their own. Time to tell the kids. She entered the bunks, dialed up… Continue reading New Destination

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

Conclusions

He sat at his usual place in an odd little alcove at the end of the bar. It was an ill-lit and uninviting corner; it kept away the passersby—the other regulars all knew to leave him alone, and in that sense they did well to accommodate. It's why he kept coming back. He and Skip—the… Continue reading Conclusions

War Within the War

After six days, the recycled, re-purified, re-sterilized urine was beginning to taste like what it actually was, but Louisa remained patient and unmoving. Cold but not shivering. Tired but not sleeping. Alert and ready. She was a professional, if a grave robber could be such a thing; and if not, she was at least experienced.… Continue reading War Within the War

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