I've Got Mail

Author : James Smith

Sarah’s eyes went dim for a second, and I figured she was getting mail. She squinted with one eye and said, “That’s weird. I just… got… headmail from my… from Richard.”

“What’s he say?”

“‘Wanna get dinner? Wear the red dress.'”

“Are you serious?”

“This is crazy…”

The waitress walked by, I beamed her the bill and tip, stood and put on my jacket. Sarah got up with me, looking vaguely distant.

“Are you still reading it? What’s he say?”

“This is just too weird. He’s got a girlfriend now. That’s good… Do I… Should I send it back to him? Let him know she didn’t get it?”

“What? Of course not.”

“Why not?”

“Come on! Two years and he hasn’t forgotten your address? How many times do you defrag your long-term memory in a given year? Two, three times? Or you bog down? Get bottlenecks? And he hasn’t dumped your address yet?”

Sarah walked beside me, thinking. You can tell, somehow, the difference in the eyes, between the look that says, “considering your opinion” and the one that says, “wiring untold megabits of crap through my forebrain, probably porn, please kill me.”

She came up out of it. “So, I should just leave it.”

“Yeah, and it better not be there by tomorrow. Throw his headmail out with tonight’s self-doubts and thoughtcrimes.”

She stammered, looked for a word, didn’t find it, online even, because she didn’t know what she was looking for. So she closed her mouth and we just walked some more.

We came to the store where I’d seen the keyboard we couldn’t afford. I stopped and stared at it, let her walk a few steps before noticing I was gone. Counted the seconds. Felt her come up behind me.

“That the one you were waxing over so poetic last night?”

Sarah came around in front of me and I nodded, chin against her head. I smelled her hair. I watched the keys where our reflections cut the glare on the glass. I tested a palm against her hip, imagined those keys along that curve of thigh and played them, the kind of thing I’d play on a Sunday, the sunlight orange and silver where vertical slivers of sky could reach us. The cat at my heel.

She leaned back into me. I didn’t know if she was thinking about him just then. When we married, we agreed to offline any leftover sense data from past lovers. But he was back in there now. She could re-think his last thoughts to some other woman any time she wanted, and I figured I would have to do something about that.

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Author : Andrew Bolt

“Why is there no Zeus, Vale? Why am I the only one?”

Dee sits on a pile of aquamarine thermal pillows. Cushions of air, tinted and pressurized, hold her aloft, warming her blood and chlorophyll and making her glow red and green like Christmas.

“C’mon, Dee. You know this one. You were the only one with enough residual Psi-fi left. Something to do with the mineral content of that sanctuary in Sicily. I don’t know. I don’t get it either. But the point is, we haven’t found enough psychic residue to recorporate anyone else.”

Her eyes darken. It’s subtle, but I’ve been watching this for months now. It’s an open secret that she’s been growing peyote in her arterial walls for the last twenty or thirty years. She’s just released some into her bloodstream. Her metabolism operates at a rate fifty or sixty times that of a professional athlete. The amount required to have even a mild effect must be incredible.

“What about Ares? That temple in Thrace?” she inquires with a slight slurring.

“Yeah, well, we talked about that, too. Believe it or not, the WestHem government is not thrilled about the idea of recorporating the ancient god of murder. There’s a spot somewhere outside of Parga that we could probably use to pull together Hades, but we’re not going to be doing that either. Death-related gods are not considered viable candidates.”

“We’re not gods.”


“I’m not a god,” she mumbles, drifting both physically and mentally. “I’m a physical embodiment of the neural energy empowering a generalized faith in something like me. I’m a recorporated Tinkerbell, powered by your fucking belief in fairies. I exist because some government tool clapped too hard and brought me back from Never-never-land with that damn PsiReCor.”

“To Never-never-land.”

“Hmmm?” Her head lolls to the side.

“Tinkerbell died. The clapping brought her back to Never-never-land.”

Dee glances around at the walls of her room, a plush setting that looks like a cross between a botanical garden and a medlab.

“My mistake.”

Screw the Westie rules. I slip my electric bandolier off my shoulder and settle next to her on the thermal couch. Up close, she looks terrible. Greenish veins trace spider webs down her cheeks. Sweat is slick on her face and hands, even though the couch is set at only slightly above room temperature. She coughs once. I lay my arm across her shoulders.

“I’ve saved the world, more or less,” she murmurs. “You have food growing everywhere, in deserts, around the poles, on the surface of all major oceans, even on the moon colony that everyone said was impossible. Why do you still need me?”

She gazes at me distractedly, a milky white film over her eyes.

“Why am I still here?”

The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
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Author : Chris McCormick

When we finally made contact it wasn’t in the way that everyone expected. It wasn’t like Star Trek, or Sagan, or Alien.

It should have been kind of obvious, looking at an atlas of the universe that there were so many of us. Tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny points of life on planets, in star systems, in galaxies, in galactic clusters, in the cellular mess of the known and unknown universe of radiating globules.

It should have been kind of obvious, looking at the ubiquity and persistence of evolution in every system we examined. The genetic systems, the stock market systems, the social systems, the atomic physics systems – everywhere the same rule – “Things that persist, exist,” the corollary of which is that the more intelligent the system, and the more desirous it is of persistence, the better it is at persisting.

The universe gave us an escape valve against the frustration of physical isolation; the impossibility of transcending those colossal, unthinkable distances.

The particle itself had a longish lifetime. Long enough that we could create several of them, overlapping in time so that there was always at least one in the atomic soup for us to probe and watch. Collide, examine, die, collide, examine die. The first time we created the first one, we simply could not fathom the data. The energy signature from this one, weird, heavy particle, was completely strange. The data spewing from it hung around at the border between chaos and order. It was neither chaotic nor ordered. It was complex. Spectral analysis, fourier transforms, and various forms of signal processing yielded only more mess.

At last someone gave up and threw the data on the ‘net. Flushed it through the distributed computing networks, and eventually, subjected it to cryptographic analysis. Suddenly the data came into sharp relief; millions of tiny voices, babbling, saying hello.

The particle was a resonator which resonates at the same frequencies everywhere. A change in one place means the same change everywhere else on the same resonant channel. Like Einstein’s spooky action at a distance, like strange attractors, except that here the particle broke the known physical laws, and now information travels faster than light. So now, while the physicists scramble to accommodate the new phenomena, we’re talking, sharing, and discovering with all of them – Everyone, with a capital ‘E’. Our webs and nets connected to all of their millions of webs and nets. Our network is a tiny node in the largest network of all; the universal network, stretching across all known space, outside all known space.

We’re all working hard together, trying to find a way not to be alone.

The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
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Author : Joshua Reynolds

“Can I has cheeseburger?” the cat whined plaintively. It’s voice was an electronic squeal that grated on Jim’s nerves. Jim swatted the cat on the butt and pushed it off of the desk.


“Plz?” it mewled up at him, eyes unblinking. Jim shook his head.

“I said no.”

“OMG.” the cat yowled. Jim threw up his hands and tried to focus on his work. Schematics for cybernetic voice-boxes filled the screen of his laptop. EMP hardened as most things were these days. No help there. There had to be-

“ROFL!” a cat screeched, rolling onto its back on the desk, swiping at him.

“Shut up!” Jim shoved it to the floor.

“Happy cat is out of happy.” another cat burbled, laying flat on the floor behind his chair.

He glanced at it and went back to work, muttering, “Happy cat is out of happy because happy cat snorts catnip like it was going out of style. Happy cat needs to knock that shit off before happy cat burns out his teeny-tiny brain.”

“Plz can I has cheeseburger?” the first cat purred, leaping into his lap and rubbing its head against his arm.

“No, no, no! A hundred times no!” Jim banged his head against his desk. “Just shut up!”

“I has bucket!” a third cat yowled from the top of a bookcase. Jim whirled.

“Get out of that flower pot!”

“I can fix it.” a fourth cat mumbled, fumbling at Jim’s laptop. Jim turned back and swatted it away from him. His computer screen hiccuped.

“Don’t touch that!”


“No! No cheeseburger!” Jim buried his face in his hands. “No damn cheeseburger.”

It had seemed like such a good idea. People loved cats. People loved those stupid pictures. Just a slight cybernetic modification to the animal’s larynx and bam! Talking cats. Everybody who was anybody wanted one. For about ten minutes. Then nobody did. The fad ended and he was left holding the bag.

“OMG lurve you.” the cat on his lap grumbled. Jim sighed and stroked it.

“Thank you.”

“Can I has cheeseburger now?”


It wasn’t the talking that bothered people really.

It was the fact you couldn’t get the damn things to shut up.

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Crossing The Lines

Author : Michael Varian Daly

Dawn’s light angled off the blank brick walls of the narrow alley. The air shimmered, then expanded like a large soap bubble and softly popped. Iyo stood there for a moment to orientate herself. She glanced up and around. No windows. Bioforms reading only insects and the odd rodent.

“Clear,” she said to no one in particular.

She was flying solo. It would have been nice to have her old unit along, but explaining away a squad of heavily armed Shan dog troopers, five foot canine humanoids, or Corporal Jax, a three quarter ton Marine cyborg, well, the locals might get nervous.

So, Iyo stood in this alley alone, a tall blonde in jeans and a leather jacket. The air reeked of hydrocarbons and decay. The nanites in her lungs and blood were already working hard to offset their effects.

“You’ll get used to it,” she thought, like the dank, moldy air in the catacombs of that scathole Trobathney back…”or forward?” she mused. Transtemporal/Paratemporal operations were still new enough to have not worked out the tenses of their grammatic descriptors.

“Your cover is Camilla Göteborg. You’re a model from Sweden,” her Case Officer said. “Remember, this line is swarming with unmodified males. Refrain from killing them unless you have absolutely no choice.”

Iyo knew all that from the compressed immersion vert. This was just her Real Time cover activation. She also knew she was picked because she looked more like the locals than her mostly dark and therefor potentially ‘exotic’ Sisters.

Not mentioned in the vert briefing was the underlaying reason for this mission. The tactical rationals were addressed in detail. The strategic concepts were clear. The socio-cultural purposes were left unspoken.

Iyo knew them, however. She was only one of hundreds of millions of Sisters who had been born into, and had grown up to fight, The War. It was always there, generation after generation. Once, The Enemy had threatened The Sisterhood with extinction. Now, Victory was almost assured and The War was slowly winding down.

What to do with all these battle hardened warriors?

Retrain them in covert operations and ship them out across all of Creation was the plan The Elders of The Sisterhood devised. Iyo actually thought that a good idea. She knew she’d get into mischief in peacetime and the necessities of ‘blending in’ would help her readjust to non-martial society.

Thus, she found herself in place called Brooklyn.

“Okay, enough woolgathering,” she said using local colloquialisms.

She strode out of the alley, though quaint asphalt and concrete streets, to a promenade overlooking the city’s harbor. The water smelled even worse than the air, but the skyline of the tightly packed urban island across that water held a chaotic beauty.

She knew one of the two ugly boxlike towers that dominated that skyline would be destroyed in the Father/God wars that plagued this period. But that was nearly two decades…’up the line’. Maybe.

“Things change,” she murmured.

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