Genres: Science Fiction
Presumed Dead (Part 5)
by Rick Kennett
The map in her hand now showed only the blue-green of the sea. Apparently there was nothing but ocean ahead for the foreseeable future.
“Plain sailing form now on, Lazarus,” she said, turning to look for the spider, but could see it nowhere. (Continue Reading…)
Presumed Dead (Part 3)
by Rick Kennett
Night came quickly in these latitudes, dropping out of the late afternoon sky like a black weight. Though she thought it silly she didn’t much like the idea of coming across spiders in the dark. Not that she imagined there was a posse after her or that she might be ambushed. But the notion was hard to shake. The spiders were an unknown quantity. (Continue Reading…)
Presumed Dead (Part 1)
by Rick Kennett
Days later, while sheltering from rain that had lost its novelty, she decided the end had begun when George McClusky said, “So what do you suppose that is?”
That had been the moment. Everything leading up to it may have had a bearing, may have been a primer, but hadn’t been the trigger. Not the utter mental void of floating in space with only the whisper of her rebreather for company. Not when the McMurdo Sound disintegrated around her. Not even the battle itself. (Continue Reading…)
by Drea Silvertooth and Lian Rose
The vast desert sprawled before Kei, burnt sienna beneath the rising sun. In the distance, derelict buildings of the Old Cities defined the horizon, their dark and splintered silhouettes pointing like daggers at the sky.
Behind her, the city gate clanged shut with a heavy sense of finality. The outer sentries ignored her as she shouldered her supplies—food, water, and the exact number of bullets allowed for intercity travel—and walked toward the stables. Her red cloak dragged in the sand, leaving a path in her wake like a winding snake.
A half-mile out stood a small, hunched figure waiting for her. The faded blue fabric of his robes was drawn up over his face to protect from the stinging wind.
“My driving student,” he said warmly, extending his hand as she approached. “Mister Zhang?”
“Miss,” Kei corrected, taking his hand. (Continue Reading…)
All Systems Go
by Gerri Leen
The spaceport at Norn Five is a shining ode to order, automation, and interstellar travel. State-of-the-art communication ports dot the walls, offering instant access to loved ones, bosses, or eccentrics offering revolution at bargain prices.
Travelers move across the floors, various forms of locomotion taking them from point A to point B. Walkers tends to be the most common, but there are also floaters, crawlers, slitherers, and the odd vaporous beings that just sort of waft.
And working around it all are the units of the robotic char force. One in particular moves slowly along the wall, sucking up the residue left by one of the slithering public. It gets stuck for a moment when it hits a point where one being’s slime has mixed with another’s, making a sort of glue of the noxious kind. The bot revs forward, then backward, sucking up goop up as it goes, spritzing solvent onto the floor and then wiping it up so no one slips.
What You’re Missing
by Allison Mulder
The words slipped past Anya’s lips, not for the first time. Most days she could keep them buried under other, safer thoughts. But on quiet, peaceful days like this one, when she’d successfully coaxed Colton past the fences to the off-grid hills, the words had a nasty habit of wriggling out to warm themselves in the sun.
“Of course something’s missing,” Colton said, staring back toward the sprawling gray city. Sun sparkled off the high chain link fences between the hills and town. “No Wi-Fi, no cell signals. The power grid’s scrapped out here. If it bothers you, let’s head back.” He fiddled hopefully with his loose tie, obviously ready and waiting to tighten it.
Anya shook her head, enjoying the unfamiliar feeling of unbound hair swishing against her cheeks. “Not what I mean.” (Continue Reading…)
by M.K. Hutchins
I raced Cornelius home after school, through the corridors of the Platinum Phoenix. He took the right hand side, I took the left. The dents in stainless steel walls made our reflections wobble.
“I’ll beat you this time!” Cornelius called from behind. He was eleven — two years younger than me.
I laughed. “I doubt — ”
But my feet slipped out from under me. I skidded across the floor. Like all the other kids on this asteroid mining colony, my clothes were sewn from surplus mylar blankets — slick stuff. I crashed into a sealed-off door. There were plenty of unused corridors like that, leftover from better days when the Platinum Phoenix actually had passengers. (Continue Reading…)
All Them Pretty Babies
by Alexandra Renwick
Esmè step careful in the pretty grass. Grass on the hillside is green just how she like it; not all yellow, not all brownish purple like grass past the base of the mountain.
Them grasses, them yellow and purple grasses, make Esmè think on her old mama, who yell and slap and bite and kick at her. Only good thing Old Mama ever done for Esmè, she done let Esmè know just how ugly Esmè is. Ugly enough to stop her wind-up watch, say Old Mama. Ugly enough to stop a train, like train what done stopped on other side of the mountain when them bio-bombs fell so close, sent that train bucking like nasty old three-headed milk cow so it buck right off its track and into the gully.
Of course, that train done crashed long before Esmè was born. That train done crashed without Esmè ever having seen a train a-go full of people, with all them people’s pretty jewelries and pretty clothes, and them pretty little babies bouncing on they’s laps. No, Esmè never seen a train a-go, but she sometimes climb down into the gully, ignore bruised grass and glowing sludge, and she play in that wrecked train what now filled so full with all them clean, clean bones, and she think how pretty all them ladies and gentlemens must’ve been; so pretty that if ugly Esmè lived back then they would’ve chased her off with sticks like Old Mama done when she got so sick-and-tired of looking at Esmè all day long. That’s what Old Mama done told her: I’m so sick-and-tired of your ugly face. Now get gone, girl. Go try the other side of the mountain. (Continue Reading…)