Contact

Ryden sloshed through the toxic muck that sucked at his boots beneath the tangled thorn grass. It wasn't grass, of course—that was terracentric thinking—but on strange planets the mind tries to force things into familiar shapes. His unit was twelve days into its march with no obvious end. Twelve days of orange fog and swatting… Continue reading Contact

Guest Room

Kara sat up in bed and clutched her chest. There was a familiar pounding at her front door. She threw a robe around her toned frame and went to answer it without bothering to check the time—at some point the hour no longer mattered and it was just late. Without flipping on the porch light… Continue reading Guest Room

The Hedron

When the door blew off its hinges it glanced off of Gartner's shoulder and sent him twisting through the air. The Shadows were inside the Temple. They crossed the chasm and shredded Gartner into wet leathery ribbons the color of plum wine before he hit the floor. Captain Erra didn't need the quantum mind of… Continue reading The Hedron

Morning Capture

The first dirty neon tendrils of sunlight lashed the backs of clouds that had grown plump and forgetful in the night. Claude shielded his eyes against the harsh dawn and the hot breeze it brought with it. He and Cheyenne had a clear view of the camp below, the soldiers already set about their morning… Continue reading Morning Capture

Playing the Odds

Officials said that while the long period comet would pass within the moon's orbit, the chances of it striking the Earth were only 1 in 3,000,000. They'd been saying it all summer. When the news was first announced it went through the usual media blitz, cycling down after a few weeks and then reemerging at… Continue reading Playing the Odds

Winners Take All

It seemed the sky itself was on fire. Ruby and sapphire beams crisscrossed in midair, arcing toward dozens of growing white points of light—cruisers from the Accord descending like falling stars on this most noncompliant of colony worlds. With all the firepower it was easy to forget it was nighttime. "Randolph, get your ass over… Continue reading Winners Take All

This Is Not a Drill

As soon as Airman Rhodes reported for duty at the rear of the wash house he let his feelings be known. "Aw, shit. Eight hours with you?" Airman Berd awkwardly flapped one hand in the air and forced a toothy smile. "Together again, huh Rhodes?" It was painful enough folding freshly steamed laundry all shift,… Continue reading This Is Not a Drill

Ex Nihilo

Bloodied and battered, Raiden was dragged before the major, the rumbling of battle still reverberating through the rogue station. "Professor Laurel?" "That's awfully formal for the occasion." He spat on the major's tactical boots. A gash above his hairline dripped fresh blood through the canyons of deep wrinkles across his face—more than she would have… Continue reading Ex Nihilo

One Way or Another

There was only a modest breeze in the salty air, the Arrow of St. Karesh swaying gently in its moorings as Vennari stood alone on its deck, sullenly watching the night knit the sea to the sky until the two were seamless. There would be no moon tonight, nor stars to judge her deeds. Only a… Continue reading One Way or Another

Deathmind

"You are the Deathmind." Tul shivers, though the humid blackness that envelopes him is warm. A salivating steel maw. The solitary red point of light shifts in an implacable way. "A weak statement, more so for its implications than its approximations." It hurt just to hear the Deathmind speak, like its voice turned Tul's bones… Continue reading Deathmind