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

Arrival of the Pangea

Varun waited for Lan in the corridor beside the airlock. He watched pale teal shadows shift across the cloud tops of the planet's atmosphere. The view would be better once they were outside, unconstricted by the frame of the window. But there was still work to do, and he wanted to get his gawking out… Continue reading Arrival of the Pangea

Canaries

Trent never committed a crime, but he found himself a convict anyway. Wasn't uncommon. He'd heard one in five citizens across the empire was a convict now—more than starvation, or even Phlox Syndrome. It was probably all exaggerated, but for every grain of salt there was a grain of truth to go with it. The… Continue reading Canaries

Lifeforms on Aether Rex

Nia's backpack dug into her shoulders. It was heavy and hard, but it contained her suit's life support system. It made constant clicks and whirs and gurgles, almost white noise but more distracting. The worst part was that it probably wasn't needed. Aether Rex was perfectly safe by the initial readings. But Nia heard enough… Continue reading Lifeforms on Aether Rex

Taking From the Water Cartel

Ivy flew down the stairs three at a time. Her palms sweated, but at each landing she managed to keep her grip on the metal handrail as she whipped herself around 180 degrees toward the next flight. The railings were cold, and getting colder as she descended. Her bare feet made slapping sounds on the… Continue reading Taking From the Water Cartel