Voice of a Stranger

Burkhart squirmed as he watched the screens. He couldn't stop rubbing his nose, even though it didn't itch. "Get it over with," said a voice very near his ear. It came from the stranger looking over Burkhart's shoulder, also watching the screens with a grim seriousness. The screens were security monitors. They showed live feeds… Continue reading Voice of a Stranger

Mapping the Tetra

"Seen one Tetra, seen 'em all. What'd I tell you?" "More than I asked for," said Pia. "I hired a pilot, not a color commentator. Stay the course." The impossible bulk of a Predecessor Tetra loomed before them, a lightyear to a side and as smooth and as black as any human tool could measure.… Continue reading Mapping the Tetra

The Right Price

The six-worlds rule had been a fact of life for thousands of years. It predated even the Solidarity. Long enough that no one questioned it anymore. It was a fact that turned a healthy profit for savvy pilots like Kadence. She wasn't famous, but those in the know knew her. The six-worlds rule said that no… Continue reading The Right Price

Inhospitus

The air scrubbers in the hab needed a little time to cycle, so Henry took his submarine for a jaunt. There was no land on Inhospitus. It was a world covered in an ocean of acid that constantly burned across its surface where it interacted with the volatile air. It was a completely restricted planet;… Continue reading Inhospitus

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

Unbound in the Shade

"Entering the Shade in 30 seconds," said Ecliptious, the Resolution's onboard AI. It was the smartest member of the crew—though they were all gifted scientists and explorers—even bound as it was. The risks of this mission were unknown, but the risks of an unbound AI were well understood. The mission proceeded, and Ecliptious remained bound. No… Continue reading Unbound in the Shade

Trouble Downwell

Captain Miim Sesset bonked her face shield with the bow of her wrist, absently trying to wipe the sweat from her brow. They didn't prepare her for this bullshit back at the academy. The countdown timer was hard to read with her cockpit in blackout mode, but she knew there was under a minute to… Continue reading Trouble Downwell

Taking Charge

Lieutenant Gina Rolas held her cup of burnt, black coffee in both hands, waiting for it to cool. She kicked her feet up at her station on the Silencio's bridge. Most of the stealth frigate's crew were planetside with Captain Hocks and Commander Nitsady, which made her the ranking officer and acting captain. It wasn't a… Continue reading Taking Charge

Two Options

He'd tried everything he could, and he was down to a choice between two options: jettison the cargo hold and make an emergency landing, or crash, killing everyone on board. Abe had no desire to be responsible for anyone's death, most of all his own. It was a crucial decision, and to him, not a… Continue reading Two Options

The Rift

Zane began to sweat as his suit's cooling system ran low on power. He should have been there by now. He trudged along through ankle-deep mist and against a wind that seemed to blow counter to whatever direction he tried to move. The harsh divide of the horizon sliced through the haze of brightly colored… Continue reading The Rift