Fury Of The Widowmaker

They called the ship a Widowmaker, a relic of a time when the black of space was scarred by the war and the machines that made it possible. There were no windows save at the top and few doors; little was done to make the metal monstrosity look like anything other than…

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Applied Linguistics

How are your studies progressing? The liaison asked, once he was within range of the professor. The professor, a hoary man whose moustache seemed to be made of white wire, glanced up before placing his stylus on the desk beside his tablet. They’re progressing, he…

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The Smell of Freedom

The expedition team had watched the aliens closely with devices and kept their bodies far away from any pathogens. Never before had anyone seen something quite like this. Today they’d be getting the special privilege of first contact. With all the alien races out…

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Death by Water

“You’re being irrational.” “I know.” Sandra’s grey-green eyes matched the sight below her, mesmerized by the crashing of waves against one of the few beaches left in the world. She didn’t look away, not even to meet the irritated gaze of her husband across the…

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The Mission

Angel was used to doors shutting in his face, the slap of glass sliding doors, the definitive clunk of plastic automatic doors, even the thump of an old fashioned wooden door. On Earth, people live with shut doors and masked faces. Angel went barefaced for his…

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The Terran Way

The Terran ambassador arrived in a richly decorated shuttle, bearing several barrels of unfiltered ayula and decked in fabrics that shimmered under the Ryexian sun. The visit was unexpected, so no troops met him at the spaceport to ensure his safety, but he spared no…

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Suspension of Disbelief

The glow of a television never graced two happier faces before that summer day. Aaron was blonde and wide-eyed while next to him, in an almost mirrored image save for the black hair, sat his friend Hamel. Both children were staring at the images of a mad scientist and…

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Artificer

“Iljek, it’s time for another piece.” The Interplanetary Artist Laureate, holder of the Sigil of Creativity, founder of the Union of Visionary Crafters, chair of the Board of Humanities at Reykjavik University of the Arts, leaned back in his lounge chair and put his…

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Always Summer

Herbert Mumble was proud of his house. He had every right to be: he’d spent nearly a decade compiling it. Most of his friends had bought discount single-structure mansions in the Midwest and used a portal to get to work, but Herbert wasn’t the type to buy pre-fab….

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For Honor, For Earth, For Man

Look at you. Take a good look at yourselves. Five fingers on each hand, five toes on each foot. You’re not victims, you’re not rookies. You’re human and each and every last bloody one of you is going to let the enemy know that. You hear them outside the hull? Hear…

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Simple Plan

For a successful space pirate, Valentine Arvossio did not seem particularly intimidating at first glance. His eyes, though smug, were a rather peculiar shade of grey that in another context might have been referred to as “soothing.” It was the sort of grey that one…

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How To Snag A Muffin-Choker

K’dackis was slivercaster, scout and herder of wildfeeds, piping when needed, but always in pursuit of the genuine driveway effect. She was constantly sisbertized by the right or the wrong people, surfing the waves of condemnation and approval as she launched onto her…

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Universal Constants

All through college, the three of us were best friends. When we graduated in ’18, Bob and I joined the Galactic Defense Force and got shipped off to the Sirius Sector, but Dmitri’s calling was Postdoctoral research, studying Xenobiology in the Vega system. We tried to…

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Synthesis

There is nothing to burn. Modern life is plasticine, cheap and mutable and easily manufactured. Wooden furniture is the stuff of history textbooks and Better Homes and Gardens pinups, the pictures affixed to smooth synthetic walls with reused sticky-tack. Pinup is a…

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Ultimate Showdown

No one saw the meteor coming. It was faster than any meteor yet recorded. It didn’t so much as break the speed of light as it did beat its face in, set it on fire and sleep with its girlfriend. No one saw it coming when it smashed into what once was the Pacific Ocean,…

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Method Man

It was a week before opening night and Bub was still flubbing his lines. “I don’t understand,” said Bub, “Why can’t I have a feed? Why do we have to memorize our lines?” “You have to memorize your lines,” said Daven, clenching his hands into fists…

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Queue

Innocence may be a commodity, but it’s easily emulatable. I get it in thin aluminum cans from the drugstore downtown, the kind that energy drinks come in. They’re kept behind the counter; innocence isn’t a controlled substance, but like condoms and suppositories, it’s…

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Programmed to Receive

“I’m leaving.” Viktor said as he pulled the duffel back over his shoulder and made for the door. He’d had enough of the quarantine, and he had a hankering for Luna stew that needed some satiation. “You can’t do that, Vik! They’ve got every spaceport in the continent…

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