Last One There’s a Rotten Egg

Harris and Sanchez bunny-hopped into the chasm in the reduced gravity of this strange world, but Kwon held back. Despite the surveillance and the simulations and the successes of the rovers she was deeply unsettled. Petrified eggs—larger than the Zaqar lander the astronauts flew in on—sat half submerged in a pool of hydrocarbons at the… Continue reading Last One There’s a Rotten Egg

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

Storming the Lighteater

The Lighteater's spherical hull loomed giant over the golden tall grasses like a burned out ember cast from the sun itself, charcoal black and distorted by an energy shell that could be confused with heat waves. Dotting the field were the scattered skeletons of trees with no leaves, even with the lateness of the season.… Continue reading Storming the Lighteater

One Wrong Move

Keaton sat hunched over the game board, considering the endless permutations. His clothing clung to his sweat and he shifted uncomfortably. The room itself was very comfortable; the ornate game table sat in the center of a dedicated high-ceilinged room larger than most homes. Intricate gilding covered every surface, from the massive columns to the… Continue reading One Wrong Move

Let’s Do This Again Real Soon

The night was black and starless. Even the moon dared not sail that darkened sky. But below, New Manzhouli's neon glow dazzled, cold and bright. Yuxi stood in the in-between. She could be a phoenix rising from electric ashes, or the angel of death descending from the heavens into the City of Dis. Tonight, she… Continue reading Let’s Do This Again Real Soon

Adventure Awaits

The posters in the recruitment offices on Earth were brightly colored, depicting psychedelic landscapes and brandishing phrases like Adventure Awaits and See the Unseen! Abe couldn't wait to sign up. Then they sent him to oversee the auto-mines scraping niningerite from the regolith on DCKX1023. He was all alone, from one dark dead horizon to the other.… Continue reading Adventure Awaits

Helping Hand

Shivam awoke to strange constellations. Red stars that didn’t glimmer, looking not so far above the tops of the Western white pines. Then he felt a tremble in the earth like an orchestral brass section playing dissonant chords in infrasound somewhere just out of sight within the dark forest. There was a Behemoth ship overhead.… Continue reading Helping Hand

Into the Black

Deloza followed behind Metsker, bouncing lightly across the Tirawa basin on Rhea. After a generation of studying from afar, using orbiters and rovers and all variety of instruments they were finally here in the flesh. Humanity had reached the anomaly. Radiance Base was 15 klicks away. They'd taken a buggy most of the way and… Continue reading Into the Black

Something to Fight For

Jules stood alone in the Proteus desert on Empyrean. He'd never been first before, not in any of the trillions of light cones. Good. He was at the front then, making a real change. He wouldn't be alone for long. But as the seconds dragged on he didn't know what to do with himself. Always… Continue reading Something to Fight For

The Heart of Elatus

The air was stale, but the fact that there was air at all was something of a miracle. Demetri was the first person to walk the halls of Elatus in a thousand years. He shut his visor. Breathable as the air might be, it was damp and there were thick carpets of mold overhead, as… Continue reading The Heart of Elatus