Author : Kate Thornborough

David was able to make the transition as soon as he finished University. I’ve been in Secondary for a little more than seven years. I should have undergone the transition years ago. If only my brain was faster. Everyone else in my compound can perform advanced math and equate many species’ genomes. I struggle with the most basic calculus formulas and the simplest of fungi DNA send me into a loop. I want to be just like everyone else, inside and out. I look average, and I am grateful for that small blessing, but I want to feel average too. Why must I be different?

Many stare at me as I drift mournfully by, estimating my age and creating equations in a blink of an eye. It would take a good half and hour for me to do that. That is why I’m going to go through with the transition illegally. I just want to get it done so the gaping and humiliation can finally end. Besides, who really needs to know every physics equation?

Lucas, the operator and owner of the machine, guides me to the chamber. It is littered with coils and wires, and many are covered in dark ooze. Gulping my cowardice, I focus on Lucas and see him grab some glinting object. Delivering it to me, he nervously points to a safety poster and rushes out of the room. The object has two holes in the handles, and the blade is oddly thick. My normally clumsy hands automatically conform to the handle as if it was a treasured toy from my childhood. Flexing my fingers cautiously, I jump in startled shock as the blade splits in two. I panic, and I fear I have destroyed it, but a glance at the safety poster reassures me. I follow the instructions, and proceed to sever the personification of my stupidity. I feel my body becoming heavier with each snap, and I pause at the last vein. I say a quick prayer, close my eyes, and amputate my final connection to my former life.

My body collapses, and I slightly sink into the muck. I try to move, but nothing happens. As I lay there, a diagram springs into my head. It shows an arm- mapped out on a graph- with an equation next to it. Crazily, I play along, and plug in my arm’s approximate weight, length, and other information. Picturing the formula written out, I slowly compute the answer, taking my time to carry the various digits. Finally, I get an answer. 75 1/3. When nothing happens, I contemplate my mistake. Then, I remember that I forgot to factor in the 8X. Calculating the many numbers and reevaluating the variables, I receive another answer. 24. Suddenly, my hand springs to life and looks at me, awaiting my next command. Groaning, I realize that I should have waited and paid more attention in math class. This was going to be a long walk back to the bus stop.

This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows
365 Tomorrows Merchandise: The 365 Tomorrows Store
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow

History Redux

Author : Allen McGill

LEADER was about to impart; hoards of followers pressed toward the sanctified podium in the domed plaza, along the warren of tunnels leading from it, and on every crag and terrace where the stentorian resonance could be felt. The silence of static thousands was tangible, pressing on the epidermal layers, smothering.

Suddenly, without warning or introduction, LEADER’s words bellowed throughout the cavernous domain, reverberating off the crystal ramparts: “We are the master race! The inferior humans must be destroyed! They have decimated all we’ve permitted them to inherit and now threaten our world with their incessant pollution, wars and diseases.”

LEADER’s corporeal image materialized beside the podium in an evolving emergence of light; angry red infused with the blue tint of sorrow and a purple shade of pain. LEADER’s physical being was immense, more massive than any other in the assembly. Bodily countenance spoke as clearly as the mind-projection of thoughts and words. LEADER would be understood and obeyed; the universe to change forever.

“Their ambassadors and politicians convey nothing but untruths; their so-called religions are nothing more than means to control, enslave, and lead our offspring into cults of self-indulgence and anarchy totally against our belief in the unity of all.

“Their inferiority extends even to their inability to communicate without ‘heard’ or ‘written’ language. They are of less value than the animals they devour, or keep in chains. We have been patient with them since we first allowed them to crawl upon the dirt of a pristine world and begin to destroy it. We excused their faults, pardoned their intentional disregard of our warnings and demands for care. Too long. Far too long. Possibly our own fault. But now the time has come to remedy the error.”

LEADER drew up tall, taller than could have been imagined possible, crystal-white of determination emanating from within the visible body. The atmosphere in the cavern was still as the congregation, warm to suffocation.

“I have decided,” LEADER continued, “and the council agrees with me, that we will halt the continuance and advancement of the human problem. The final solution! Extermination!”

This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows
365 Tomorrows Merchandise: The 365 Tomorrows Store
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow

SC Bounty

Author : L. Hall

Martin’s hand waved lazily at the string of scented smoke that hung in the air. The tent smelled of sand and hot breezes, mixed with heady aromas of spices and metal. The mines on Cypress 304 provided the Wan Military with their massive ships, but the aboriginal people provided the metal. The taste, the smell, the heaviness of metal hung about the planet… enveloping the adapted vegetation.

The government had showed the cadets countless films; reels upon reels of warnings of contamination. Degradation of humanity was the most highly punishable crime; the human element could not be soiled by other planets. The military emphasized that non-Terran planets were inhospitable and beneath human consideration.

All the new recruits were psychologically tested after every third film, until it was ground in and concrete the contempt the men would have for other worlds. This was standard Wan protocol, to prevent AWOL and keep their people focused. A very young cadet Dremmel had measured his responses to the psychological tests, slowed his heart rate and answered appropriately; ensuring an assignment off world. Those who could not were doomed to a life in the lush but identical offices in a Terran bio-dome.

Deserts were non-existent on Terra-Earth and when a burgeoning Captain Dremmel arrived on Cypress 304, his senses exploded with unfamiliar sights and sounds. With watchdog mechanical eyes following everything the crew did, it was a rare occasion when Dremmel’s eyes would stray from his work. But when they did stray, he drank in the sepia desert and held it close to his heart.

After three years of active duty, Captain Dremmel’s crew boarded the “SC Bounty” to return to Terra-Earth. As the ship rose toward the upper atmosphere, there was a hissing sound as a piece of the extended cargo bay ripped off. Some distance away, three figures watched as the “SC Bounty” shuddered and fell apart, falling back into the lower atmosphere and eventually, the planet’s surface. The records of the Wan Military recorded no survivors… certainly not the Captain, his first officer nor his navigator.

Two years later, Martin breathed in the intoxicating scent of spice and metal. The taste of the Cypressian woman lingered on his lips. He stroked her dusky skin, following the ridges along her back. She chuckled and at the heavy sound, Martin’s skin tingled. Looking up at him with her golden eyes, she hummed contently. “You Terrans… You have such a hunger for desolate places…”

Captain Dremmel had gone native.

This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows
365 Tomorrows Merchandise: The 365 Tomorrows Store
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow

Space Colony Delta

Author : Patricia Stewart

Space Colony Delta was the largest manned spacecraft in history. It was a three-mile in diameter donut that rotated in the most stable location in the Earth-Moon system, the Lagrange L4 position. The population of 12,176 souls lived and worked in the six Habitat Sections that were equally spaces around “The Rim.” Today, however, was not a good day to be living in Section 3.

The warning klaxon finally subsided. “What’s the situation, Chief?” asked the Station’s Commander.

“Not good, sir. According to the sensors, an iron-nickel meteoroid, approximately 15 feet in diameter, punched a hole through Section 3 about 15 minutes ago. The primary bulkhead doors sealed off the Section, but the damned thing went clean through, exposing almost every hallway to the vacuum of space. Anybody that wasn’t blown out during the decompression had about 20 seconds to get into a pressure tight living area or office space. They’re probably 1,800 people trapped, with anywhere between 12 and 24 hours of air, depending on the size of the room and the number of people in it. I’ve got both shuttlecraft evacuating whomever they can through the exterior escape hatches. But at best, they can only save about 50 people an hour. We have to seal the entrance and exit breaches, and re-pressurize the section, or over a thousand people will suffocate.”

“Can’t you seal the breaches with a meteoroid patch or sealing foam?”

“No, sir. The patches are sized to seal 99.9999% of possible impacts. That’s a hole of two feet in diameter, or less. The foam can only seal a crack less than three inches across. The problem’s the pressure. The fifteen foot hole equals about 25,000 square inches. At a minimum of 0.8 atmospheres, the outward load is approximately 300,000 pounds. A patch won’t hold unless I can tie it into the secondary structure. And there just isn’t enough time. I’m out of ideas.”

“Perhaps I have a solution,” said the disembodied voice of CACC, the Station’s Command and Control Computer. “If the Chief’s crew could open up the two exterior breaches to a circular hole exactly 18 feet 4 inches in diameter, you could plug the holes using the nose section of the shuttlecraft, and seal the gap using foam.”

The Chief was irritated by the stupid suggestion. “It won’t work CACC. As soon as we pressurize the Section, the shuttlecraft will pop out like a campaign cork.”

“I believe, Chief,” explained CACC, “that each shuttlecraft can produce 500,000 pounds of thrust for up to two hours. Properly coordinated, the thrust can counteract the internal pressure long enough to rescue everybody that’s still alive.”

It took 4 hours to laser cut two circular openings, and two more hours to seal the gaps. The shuttlecraft thruster loads were coordinated with the re-pressurization of the Sections, and at 0.8 atmospheres, the evacuation began. It was complete in less than an hour. Only 84 people died, all of them in the first few minutes after impact. Later that day, the Commander asked CACC a question that had been plaguing him the last eight hours. “CACC, you’re not programmed to have that kind of reasoning ability. How did you come up with that idea?”

“It wasn’t my idea, Commander,” answered CACC. “As part of my duties, I ‘read’ approximately 600 bedtime stories every night to the Colony’s children. A favorite is Hans Brinker’s story about a Dutch boy plugging a leak in a dike with his finger. It’s not a big leap for me to think of a shuttlecraft as a finger.”

This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows
365 Tomorrows Merchandise: The 365 Tomorrows Store
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow


Author : V.L. Ilian

With only a beep the small wrist recorder came to life extending its minute sensors.

“Casefile 2501 /12– Primary analysis of crimescene. Hello Neko… what do we have today?”

A rather tall man in a containment suit approached. “Well detective, we’ve finished setting up the stasis field in the alley. Victim is a female, 16 years of age by all indications”


“Not determined. Her retinas are unreadable due to heavy drug use prior to death. DNA hasn’t turned up a match yet so she may be foreign.”

As they walked past the blue curtain, an all too common scene of brutality greeted the detective. Resting in the trashpile, bathed in the shimmering light of the stasis projectors, was the body of a young blond girl, laying lifeless, staring at the sky above.

“The garbage truck found her there while it was making its rounds and called us directly. Unfortunately the area doesn’t get any other traffic. “

“How long has she been sitting there?”

“Estimated time of death is 17 hours ago …; cause of death is kind of difficult to pin down.”

The detective could see the marks on her broken body and the dried tears of blood from her red eyes, once blue.

“How many options are we looking at?”

“There’s evidence of violence, sexual abuse and heavy substance abuse…, legal drugs but they’re so many that the portable analyzer crashed. Also by the looks of her I wouldn’t rule out exhaustion, heart failure or even aneurism.”

“Must have been some party…”

As Neko went back to his men the detective approached the body. His movement caused ripples in the field, but that didn’t detract from the effect the image was having on him. “Serene” was the only word one could use to describe her. A girl looking up at the sky, brushing away the tears brought on by her unhappy life.

Once every few years a victim would get to him like this. The detective would see to it that this case would not remain unsolved…

“It seems we’ve interrupted dinner for nothing.”

Neko’s announcement replaced the detective’s thoughts with confusion.

“What on Earth do you mean?”

“The DNA just returned a match. Take a look.”

“I’ll be… That’s it then. Shut everything down.”

The detective, datapad in hand, approached the crime scene administrator.

“Give the order to pack everything up. Slap the maximum fine on the owner for littering and bill him for the department resources spent on this. Damn stupid people.”

“Sir… What about the remains ?”

“Pack it up and send it to the recycling facility… bill the owner for that too.”

He took a last look at the body before they stuffed it in a bag.

“They make them better every year… and I must be getting old.”

“Case 2501/12 – case closed – improper disposal of synthetic remains”

With only a small beep the recorder retracted its minute sensors remaining motionless… serene.

This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows
365 Tomorrows Merchandise: The 365 Tomorrows Store
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow