Higher Thought

Author : B.York, Founding Writer

Knowledge is power.

Carved into the stone next to her in an elegant font as Maisy slumped back against the structure to catch her breath. Salty tears drew down her cheeks. She stretched out her hands and observed the fingers shaking, almost twitching with such adrenaline coursing through her veins. Clenched fists, biting her lower lip as she tilted her head back against the stone.

She felt heat. Wet heat. On her hip. Fingers tugged up her shirt to reveal the wound. Just a graze. But Taggart hadn’t been so lucky. They were hunting him and she got in the way.

Who were they? Why did they ask Tags about the code? Why did they murder my friend?

Had to think fast. Boots were heard in the distance but there was no way she’d have the knowledge. Tags had been dead a matter of a few minutes so if what she was thinking was going to work she’d have to pull the trigger now.

She reached behind her head, feeling for the rough patch of skin. It got rougher with age, she could only vaguely remember the small bump as a child. Pressing it, a low hum jolted through her head. The thoughts came rushing in…



Images. Swirling in her heard in quantum computations. Electrical brainwaves became pure hard data in seconds.


The scent of it, along with the exact ingredients and methodologies began sinking in.



Stacy is the most beautiful girl you know. Stacy likes green. Stacy likes–

No. Damnit, c’mon!




All right, hacking the cloud wasn’t exactly a science to a street rat, but Maisy had done enough crowdsourcing to know that cloud codes were usually a fixation.

Thoughts turned to ideas, images and things. Maybe Tag’s favorite jeans, the watch he always wore. She focused in one each, thinking of the details and letting it linger for a moment. Nothing was sticking.
Voices. They were getting close.


Stacy. Could she remember Stacy? Didn’t have to, she was already in Tags’ cloud. She went digging and found the long black hair, the tattooed skin, and thoughts of both sweet and pornographic acts. That had to be it. Focusing more, she slid lower against the bulwark.

In all her glory, both naked and clothed, sad and happy, and with him and without him all simultaneously. Stacy.




Maisy snapped to, she wiped the tears from her face and knew now. She knew just like Tags knew why they raised the gun and fired. The throbbing in her implant slowed to a halt.

Had to hide, had to get out of sight. The stone structure she was against was huge enough. She slid against it, glancing upwards into the sky where the tether in the stone ended with one of the colossal synthetic clouds. She looked where she had bled on the stone. It read “DATA CLOUD H6”. Somewhere up there, Tags was going away forever. But down here, in Maisy’s head, she knew he’d live just a little bit longer.

Bio Bill

Author : B.York, Staff Writer

“I guess you found me. I just wonder what’s keeping you from cutting me open to find out how I do it.”

The doctor sitting in front of him adjusted his glasses and smiled, trying to remain reasonable with the locked up felon before him. The white room they were in with the standard mirror left no illusions for the man being held there today. His eyes were a soft brown, his hair thinning and his stubble overgrown. No special features, no distinguishing marks or habits.

The doctor clicked his pen, “So, Mr. Fieldman-“

“Call me Bill. No one calls me Mister.”

“All right, Bill. So before we begin let me tell you that we’re not going to cut you open. We just want to ask a few questions just to make sure and then we’ll run some tests.”

“Tests. Right.”

“How long have you known how to do it?”

“For a while. Listen, it’s not knowing how, it’s kind of automatic for me. It’s like seeing a smudge on a kids face and pointing at them and going ‘Hey kid, you got some shit on your face'”

The doctor smirked, “Bill if we’re going to get you out of here, we’ll need to be more precise. Fewer metaphors. Can you remember the first time?”

“Right. Less emotions and humor. I’ve hated doctors all my life. They told my mother she had something she didn’t. I knew because of the thing… so when I was old enough I found the bullshit ones and I roughed them up a bit. Oh, you mean the first time I did the thing? Middle school. Some kid with a runny nose and a cold.”

“How does it work? Do you feel anything when it occurs? Any numbness or even pain?”

“Naw, I just let it happen. Sometimes I shake their hand or just give’m a slap on the shoulder but I think it happens before that. I can see it happening. I feel bad and worse until the moment I do it and it doesn’t take much. It’s like giving in.”

“A few more quest-“

“So, did you tell your wife?”

“Excuse me?”

Bill pointed to the ring on the doctor’s finger, “You’re married. I was just wondering if you told your wife that you had it. It’s kind of a big deal.”

“I never… wait, what are you talking about?”

Bill sighed and turned his head looking at the mirror, “Nothing you need to worry about anymore. So, you were going to ask me another bullshit question?”

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Count Bodies Like Sheep

Author : B.York, Staff Writer

The pills didn’t work. Private Dawns was still unable to recall anything that might help. Stuck between an ambush and a colony outpost somewhere off the Z sector of Alpha Centauri, Private Dawns had nothing but her rifle and the training she’d been put through. That meant that she and her squad were shit out of luck.

Lt. Jorgenson turned to them, “Anyone have any ideas? We’ve got less than 0100 to make it to the jump point with these people and these guerillas are pinning us down.” The digital input in their visor displays showed them the mess they were in. When red flanked the perimeters it meant that all hell was going to come raining down eventually.

The squad looked on the brink of madness, when suddenly Private Dawns remembered. She adjusted her display and sent a download to the Lt.

“Jesus, Dawns you think that’ll work?”

“Pills started working, Lt. I know it because I’ve been there.”

That’s all Jorgenson needed to hear as he gave the command to roll out. Squadron Hellcats broke through a small cushion of offensive in the perimeter and took cover. The smoke was clearing from the firefight when they split to south and north. The guerillas might have heard them coming, but it was too late for them to organize. The offensive soon became the defensive as the small group of thinly spread but well-trained soldiers became the new perimeter and locked the guerillas in the same outpost they were trying to exterminate without a means of escape.

“That’s the thing about guerillas”, Lt. Jorgenson remembered Private Dawns saying, “If they get organized, change strategy and execute. Takes those bastards forever to re-group.”

Within twelve hours the de-briefing started about the outcome of Colony Outpost Beta. The men and women sat around drinking their coffee and laughing about the recent jokes they’d heard or the funniest shit that had happened that day. When the de-briefing began all went silent and turned to face the Captain.

“Well done, troops. Colony Outpost Beta is alive and well and being relocated as we speak. I’d like to congratulate all of you for your hard work but mostly I’m recommended Private Dawns for a Prismatic Star for participating in our dreamscaping program. Her recall of the Panzer Strategy when defending saved many lives and completed the mission.”

Everyone cheered, they held Private Dawns over their head and they cheered. Private Dawns had never been happier. At least that’s what the readings said at the console. The doctor turned to the other as they casually wrote down their readings for the day, “Think they’ll ever find a cure to wake these soldiers up?”

“Cure? No. They should have never started that dream pill program to begin with.” He flicked the switch to the room Private Dawns slept in and the lights went out. A courtesy he gave her to make himself feel better.

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Pocket Change

Author : B.York, Staff Writer

Kale made a habit of playing only in his backyard. The public display of toying with small action figures in the park or at a friends house made Kale a shy boy indeed. Instead, he would enjoy the comfort of solitary imagination in his backyard. The young boy, only eleven in age, could play with plastic soldiers from sunrise until the dusk of the evening. Though even in his wildest dreams he could never fulfill the true desire to have his imaginings come true.

One day in the fall, Kale took to digging in the back yard. He dug mounds for his action figures to battle upon and pits for them to die in. Kale made very deep pits for the figures to die in to make it that much more dramatic. It was only with this digging that Kale found the hole that day.

The hole was a thing not so much larger than his head and black with no light penetrating. Kale looked at it, he poked at it and the darkness within the hole swallowed his finger until he pulled it back. It was a peculiar thing this hole. He had decided that he would see just how deep the hole would go. He sacrificed an action figure to the depths of the hole and nothing happened. Kale covered up the hole and went inside.

The next day, Kale woke up and went outside to play but not before his mother gave him some purified water to stay hydrated in the intense heat outside. He quickly made his way to the hole which was still there beneath the dirt. Kale was not willing to sacrifice any more figures to the hole so he decided to take something from the house instead. Yes, his father’s electronic measuring tape would do nicely. He sunk the measuring end into the hole and eventually ran out of tape! Shrugging, the young boy dropped the rest of the electronic tool into the hole and waited. Nothing happened so Kale covered up the hole and went inside.

When Kale woke up his vitamins and morning supplements were fed to him through the bio-water he drank before ever leaving his room. His mother made him wear the anti-irradiation overcoat and sent him out back to play. Kale uncovered the hole and began to ponder about what to put inside it today. He’d assumed that whatever he had put in it the day before had not worked to its desired effect. Today Kale went inside and retrieved a toy of his meant to play 1.2 million songs from the 21st Century. He slipped it easily into the hole and waited. Nothing happened and so like before, Kale went back inside.

The very next day Kale’s meditation was ending and he told his mother he’d be going outside. Everything he needed was already injected through nano-machines into his body. The boy went outside and took to using a displacer wand to move the dirt from the hole without ever touching it. Today, Kale decided, he would truly experiment with what the hole meant. Sifting through the junk in their metallic recycling console, he’d found an old relic of his grandfather’s belongings from after the war. Taking the object out back he dropped it into the hole and waited for a long while. Nothing occurred so Kale had the event recorded in his brain then went inside.

His mouth tasted like ash and his lungs filled with soot and dirt. The boy opened his eyes to the same landscape he’d fallen asleep in yesterday. The sounds of bombs going off in the distance couldn’t wake him after all that he’d heard and witnessed in his life. He had no parents to ask to play, no brothers or sisters alive to help him through the day. He coughed heavily and stood up, stumbling through the black smoke with the smell of decay and the heat of radiation about him. His foot hit something. Staring down, the boys pained eyes could make out what looked to be a hole but one blacker than any he’d ever seen. An object as pristine as the sky had been once laid next to the hole. It appeared to be a shiny metallic object; one with a handle and a barrel and even a trigger. It had been polished and kept well and for some reason it filled the boy with a sense of familiarity.

He reached down, gripping it by the handle and noting a small parchment slipped just under the trigger. He unfolded it and read what seemed to be ancient calligraphy, yet in astonishing clear English, “Reload, Please”.

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Tommy Texas

Author : B.York, Staff Writer

Tommy Texas was born in Sienna where his ma and his pa taught him to thank others for the luxuries they had. They thanked Peter for the ability to cook; they thanked Kimberly for the ride into town, and they thanked their grandpa Jeremiah for the television shows they watched each and every night.

In Sienna, Tommy Texas was loved by everyone. Tommy was loved because he had a big family and everyone there loved big families. All the townsfolk knew that more people meant they could have more luxuries and so Tommy Texas was someone they liked to see very much.
When Tommy got older, his parents wanted him to be a police officer but Tommy worked in construction anyways. He thanked Delilah’s father Robert for letting him use the lift and the vehicles to do his job each and every day. Tommy helped build the city bigger so that more would come to live in it. He knew that would make others happy to have more people in town.

As time went by, Tommy wanted to go to college far off but his ma and pa told him it would be a waste for him to leave town and surely the townsfolk would never be happy about anyone leaving the town. So, to be fair to his parents, Tommy stayed in the town of Sienna where he went to school and thanked Fred’s brother Ian for the ride over to school each and every day.

While Tommy was at college he met a girl named Felicia in one of his classes. Tommy and Felicia loved each other very much and eventually the two got married. The town was so happy that they got married because Felicia came from a big family, too. Her grandfather was the first one to thank for the lights at the town hall so that made Felicia’s family famous.

During the wedding, the pastor thanked Felicia and Tommy for getting married and wished on them a big and happy family. He also thanked a few people for the ceremony and then let Felicia and Tommy kiss so they could go off and have a family.

As the years went by, Tommy and Felicia had many children and so the townsfolk lavished them with gifts and thanked them for everything they were doing for the town. Tommy and Felicia were happy to have so many children- it made them feel blessed. They thanked Tommy’s parents for the house they lived in and also the cool air during the summer seasons.

Tommy and Felicia’s children grew up quick and they, too, learned to thank others for the things they had. They thanked grandpa and grandma for the cool air and the house they lived in each and every day.
Though one day years later Tommy got sick and died in the winter. Felicia was sad for bit and so were the children who were much older now. The town had a big celebration in Tommy’s name and they even brought the celebration to the plant where they liquidated his body.
Now all the boys and girls in Sienna thank Tommy Texas for heating the school in the winter. They learned to thank others for the luxuries they had and knew that someday someone would be thanking them, too.

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