Author : Aelanna Cessara

She picked up a page of the large volume that had been compiled, her keen eyes picking out each individual strand of fiber in the primitive paper. They had not originally planned on doing it this way, but she had convinced the council that using the hand-made material would have significant impact on their charges, and thus she had spent all month making the rough pages and handwriting the all-important documents.

Her partner was looking her with some amusement, and she smiled with the pride that accompanied the success of such a difficult task.

“Did you know?” she said, tugging absent-minded on a feather as she gazed down at the surface. “They have a name for us now.”


“They call us angels. Messengers in their tongue.”

“Indeed,” he answered, smiling back at her. “We definitely have a message to deliver.”

His fingers danced over the controls, and the shuttle nosed downwards, preparing to enter the atmosphere.

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Author : Noel Sloboda
Author : Noel Sloboda
Oh, let’s go back, Bekah pleaded. She had made a decision. Alone. What? Go back where? We’re in the middle of nowhere. Halfway between South Carolina and Vermont, Julian protested. Oh.

Palpable silence filled the car, pressing like a wet palm on the back of his neck. Do you have to go? To the bathroom, I mean. Oh. No. I just want to see it again. Jesus, Bek–you mean that thing? They had been the only ones on the road when they approached the mangled mass. The moonless night made it impossible to make out anything clearly.

Do you really think you’ll be able to figure out what it was? Do you? She didn’t. Still. He started to sneer yet hesitated. Something dead in the road had never ended a relationship, he reassured himself, no matter how strange the shape. His lips pursed as he started breathing through his nose. Ignoring her, he tracked the broken yellow lines beneath his lights, then sped up.

There was nothing ahead of them, and he didn’t look back. But long after the elements as well as hungry, little birds had their way with the mystery in the road, Bekah still yearned to return. She thought she could perform an autopsy, perhaps determine the cause of the thing’s end, even if there weren’t any longer remains to be found. Alone.

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The Soul Collector

Author : Sam Clough aka “Hrekka”, Featured Writer

The Soul Collector strode through the echoing streets of Sarvan, and found a cluster of people sheltering in the lee of the great reactor situated in the centre of the city. These people were the first that she’d seen in weeks. They watched her approach, her green robe swishing against the ground, a green lantern hanging from her hand, headdress framing her face, and a tall staff click-click-clicking on the ground.

“What do you want?” One man demanded of her, breaking away from the group and the fire that had been lit in the centre of their small huddle.

“To talk. I have a deal to make you.” She pitched her voice so as to sound more local, like him.

“We have no food,” he said, just as fiercely as before.

“I’m not hungry,” she replied smoothly, making it seem as if this should have been an obvious fact.

“Good.” He slunk back to the fire, exhaustion replacing the anger in his manner.

“What do you know of truth and beauty?” she asked the gathering as a whole.

“Nothing!” shouted one. “They’re both dead!” shouted another.

“Truth and beauty are admirable things to chase,” another man said quietly. He was quite close to the Soul Collector, “but they cannot be captured, nor may they be achieved.”

“Ah, philosophy. You’re right, though, Truth and Beauty do not exist in their absolutes, at least not in this world. In the next? Who knows.”

She walked around the group, pitching her voice higher, applying an edge of control to it.

“Death is an unknown. Beyond it may lie paradise or nothing. No one can know. But I can offer you something real. I can hold your soul in this world. I can keep you from the dark. I can hold your soul as insurance against the unknown. Is life meaningful? Or is it a hollow lie? I can’t tell you. But I do know that life can only truly hold meaning if it can be perpetuated beyond the grave. And that is what I offer. I can offer you a karmic loan on your next reincarnation. I can deduct time from purgatory. I can put off death’s call.”

She unhinged the top of her lantern. Wisps of green smoke drifted from it. One flurry began to form the shape of a human: she waved her hand through it, dissipating it.

“It’s painless, simple, and will feel like a dream of decades. Your mind will be free. This is a heaven of here and now. No need to eat or drink. Just the simplistic pleasure of being, forever more.”

Her vocal technique was proving effective, as they all listened with rapt attention.

Hours later, leaving the empty shadow of the reactor, staff again click-click-clicking on the ground, her lantern burned that much brighter.

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The Quickening

Author : TJMoore

Lightning struck her left wingtip sending a twinge all the way down to her ribs. Finally it had begun. She flapped her enormous wings, increased her speed and altitude. She needed a body strike.

It had been twenty rotations since she had mated and the time was right. She could feel the clutch of eggs, dormant and unmoving in her womb, waiting.

Another lance of lightning flashed in the swirling clouds above her and she started her localized spiral up into the maelstrom.

She had never been pregnant before so she was a little nervous. The unknown was always two sided.

Suddenly, a blazing hot arc of static electricity that enveloped her whole body in a corona of blue energy slammed her, causing her to shudder. That was a good one, she thought.

She could feel the energy pooling in her womb as the eggs reacted to the static charge. Some of the eggs would burst and some would char, but a small percentage would transition to the second phase of development and become children.

Unsure of how much energy was required, she circles in the permanent storm getting hit time and again by the ferocious bolts until, finally, unwilling to risk burning another egg, she dove down to the relative calm of the lower stratosphere.

The orange clouds of Jupiter surrounded her like lilies on a pond as she flapped toward a distant flock that was her family, a bluish train of ions trailing after her leaving sparkles in the sky.

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Author : Duncan Shields

The good news is that my time machine works.

The bad news is that the laws of the universe will only allow it to go forward.

I don’t know what I was thinking. We sent it forward two minutes and then three minutes and then a month. All tests were green. No time passed for me but the people in my lab saw me disappear for four weeks. It was a success. There was talk of a government contract. We didn’t dare do a test back in time yet. The causality equations were still being worked out.

I just wanted to impress Jenny. I’d been drinking. It was late. I wanted to go a few hundred years into the future, find something amazing, and bring it back for her. It seemed like the most romantic thing anyone had ever done to my drunk lovesick scientist mind. I took a deep breath and hopped in and dialed in the tempordinates.

I hit the go button. Everything worked perfectly. I stared at the exit door, took a deep breath and pulled the handle.

With a crack and a hiss I walked out into the darkness. Immediately, floodlights came up and a loud horn made me freeze like a scared dog. It looked like I was standing in some sort of parking lot but it was hard to tell with the light shining down on me. I shielded my eyes with an upraised hand. I squinted into the darkness.

“Quin do lave track temp shift over max chain” said a booming voice from a loudspeaker.

“What?” I stammered back “My name is Dr. Jenkins. I am from the year 2008. I, uh, I come in peace.” I finished lamely.

My stomach was really not enjoying the celebratory whiskey anymore. I was scared like I hadn’t been scared since I was a child. I staggered forward onto my knees and vomited noisily onto the pavement.

That was all six months ago. Turns out they’d been waiting for me. This tempstation had been set up like a barrier across all of local time. It catches us illegal time travelers like tennis balls thrown against a net. I was the thirtieth one that they had caught so far but I was a semi celebrity seeing as I was the inventor of the first time travel machine.

Unfortunately, it meant that they had to tell me the bad news that every time traveler since me already knew. It’s not a return trip. You can’t go back.

They say they’ll let me out of the holding cell soon. I have a support group of temporal displacement counselors and fellow temponauts waiting to help me adjust to this new future society.

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