Into Ye Bodies Ye Go

Author : Pyai (aka Megan Hoffman)

Three years and two continents later, they reunited in an airport in Nairobi. As far as airports go, it was one of the worst they could have picked. The dust blew in and aluminum clusters of waste rolled into the traps the homeless set up to catch the scrap metal.

She ran into the arms of her lover, his soft scent so familiar and yet so different. She looked up into the unfamiliar blue eyes and saw the woman she had once loved. A tear coalesced in the corner of her eye, and then another and another, until they filed their way down her face through her wrinkles like slaves building the pyramids.

The young man who held her to his chest wiped away the tears. “Don’t cry, my love,” he said softly in deeper tones than she expected. “It’s still me, just in a better working body. This is what we wanted, remember?”

The woman nodded. Lips found lips as they had to relearn how to kiss each other. “I just don’t know, Amber,” the woman said, “I just don’t know how things can be the same.”

“I will always love you, Diane, be I man or woman, be you woman or man. Some day you will go through your own body transfer and then we will get yet another opportunity to explore each other anew.”

The woman nodded, drying her tears off on the man’s shirt. “But your breasts, Amber… they’re gone.” There was the beginning spark of amusement in her eye.

He chuckled. “You always said you’d love me if I had smaller breasts, or even if I had breast cancer and had them removed. This is your chance to prove it.”

She laughed. “I guess it’s just ironic when you used to be so femme.”

The man shrugged. “I’m finding I don’t mind being all that masculine. You know what the shrinks say. They recommend balancing your chi or soul or something by alternating genders with every body. Besides, I get to pick a new name. What do you think of Sunil?”

The woman nodded, her tears gone. There was a look of determination on her face. “I will always love who you are, Amber, but it will take getting used to this new body.”

“That’s all the fun, my darling. You know what they say about men like me, though, right?”

The woman nodded, finally smiling up at the man who was once a woman named Amber. “A lesbian in a man’s body.”

As they walked out, he whispered into her ear, “Maybe we should get you a male body in a few years yourself. I have it on good authority the prostate isn’t something you want to miss out on.”

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When The Sunlight Is No More

Author : V.L. Ilian

The vault doors closed unceremoniously under the gaze of thousands. The sound of the heavy machinery could still be heard for a few moments but people turned away from the massive gates. On the platform stood several men whose faces everybody knew.

“Ladies and gentlemen, our benefactor…” the sounds of applause drowned anything else the announcer wanted to say so he retreated.

The man that came up to the podium, without saying a single word, had the undivided attention of everyone.

“It was only a year ago that our astronomers discovered the phenomenon that changed our lives so profoundly. Within a month every man, woman or child in the world could see it growing in our sky. The Spot became the focus of our world. But while governments panicked, cults formed and millions simply stood in futile amazement we decided to take action. As darkness filled the lands we stood as one ensuring our future.

The nuclear reactors, the hydroponic gardens, the heat gatherers… none of these would be capable of ensuring our survival alone. Together they all form this facility. It is the culmination of our efforts and every person in this room should be proud of their contribution to it.

So I ask you all not to dwell on what we’ve left behind. We place this seal to protect our future from the frozen wastes… a future that I promise we will forge together.”

As the man retreated from the podium the sound of applause was drowned by the sound of machinery welding huge sets of obsidian-like plates onto the vault doors.

Backstage ten agents had restrained a researcher stopping him from reaching the podium.

“Why didn’t you tell them?… You all take pride in your policy of building our future together but you don’t even tell them the truth.”

“Take him back to Section 5 and keep him there.”

“Why didn’t you tell them? Why didn’t you tell them the Spot is artificial?”

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One in a Trillion

Author : Josh Romond

“One more time. CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?”

“Ugh, would you please STOP already?”


“Did it ever occur to you that simply no one’s interested in what you have to say?”

“You can hear me! You can hear my thoughts!”

“For quite some time now, actually. You’ve practically been on non-stop broadcast since you figured this little trick out.”

“Why didn’t you ever respond?”

“We don’t have much in common.”

“Oh. What’s your name?”

“Believe it or not I actually have more important things to do at the moment, so if you don’t mind…”

“What are you doing?”

“…None of your business. Now, really.”

“I-I’m sorry.”


“It’s just that being surrounded by people’s thoughts night and day is just so terribly… lonely.”


“I was giving up hope that I’d ever find anyone to talk to. Anyone who understands. I was beginning to think about, you know, ending it all.”

“Yes, that’s sort of what we hoped.”



“’We?’ You know others?”


“How many of us are there?”

“Well, counting you, five.”

“Five? That’s it? Five?”

“One in a trillion, love.”

“Where are you from?”

“No where near you, I’m sure.”

“But I bet I know it! I love to study charts and maps and that kind of stuff.”

“Is that so? Well, I only know the local name so I suppose I’ll just have to sift through your vast pile of cartographic ‘stuff’ for one you’ll recognize. Pardon me.”

“What? Uh, ah! AH!”

“You’re really making this quite difficult.”


“Ah, here we are.”

“How… how’d you do that? Go into my memories?”

“Figure it out for yourself. Now… oh. Oh my.”


“It seems we’re practically… neighbors.”

“REALLY? You’re from Connecticut?”

“Never heard of it. According to your brain I’m from M33.”


“Yes, galaxy M33.”


“About forty-five degrees antispinward of galactic north to be precise.”


“The local name is a tad more eloquent believe it or not.”


“Now if you’ll excuse me I must get back to work. Go find someone else to bother, won’t you love?”

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The Panhandler

Author : Benjamin Fischer

“Begging,” and the cop practically spat the word, “is not allowed in Silver City.”

Nelson grinned and shook his plastic cup. It jingled, filled with a motley collection of transit tokens, poker chips, and low-end credit vouchers.

The cop growled at him.

“If you’re saying it’s illegal, I’m saying you’re wrong,” Nelson replied.

They were standing in the broad triangular promenade between the monorail station, the newly obsolete spaceport and the quarantine houses that guarded the entrance to Silver City proper. A sparsely forested park lay at the center of the public space, a place to lay down and rest for those who had time to kill while waiting for the next train to the Golden Crater, the city of Copernicus, or points more exotic.

The Silver City cop had caught Nelson making a circuit amongst those weary travelers.

“Where’s your sense of civic pride?” she asked him.

“Why should I have civic pride for a city that won’t let me in?” Nelson countered.

The frown on the cop’s face invited more words.

“Sure, I can get scrubbed and shaved, exfoliated and flushed out. But I happen to like my lice and the little beasties in my large intestine. Maybe they’re my damn pets, or maybe I don’t like being told what to do. This is Luna, God bless it, and no man can tell me what to do here!”

By this time Nelson was gesturing wildly, his eyes glancing around for an absent applause.

The cop sighed.

“Do you need food? Shelter?” she asked. “There’s plenty both at the port, if you’re willing to work.”

“Any man who surrenders his liberty for temporary security deserves neither!” Nelson shouted.

“I’ve heard that one before,” the cop said.

“You should have! It’s only the creed that all good Lunies live by!” said Nelson.

“I can think of a hundred thousand good Lunies who don’t want you begging on their doorstep,” the cop replied.

“And so you’ll do what?” asked Nelson. “Muscle me out of the city? Or out of an airlock? Your so-called civic pride won’t allow that. Or will it?”

The cop shrugged. She stepped away, muttering to herself and speaking through a throat mike.

Nelson smiled and resumed his rounds.

“How’s it going, how’s it going?” he would ask. “Spare credit? Spare credit?”

Some ignored him, a few yelled at him, many gave just out of the sheer brash novelty of a panhandler here, on Luna.

But the next day there were a half dozen panhandlers in the promenade, all of them suspiciously clean cut and antiseptic.

Nelson told jokes, got louder, and hung out directly at the doors of the monorail station.

The day beyond that the other beggars told better jokes, played musical instruments, and several were already camped out at the station doors before he woke.

On the third day Nelson cashed his tokens and took the train to Copernicus.

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Author : Patrica Stewart

The little boy was sitting in a chair that was clearly designed for an adult. His feet, which didn’t quite reach the floor, swayed back and forth like two tiny crisscrossing pendulums. His arms were wrapped tightly around some sort of red stuffed animal as his saucer-like eyes darted around the interior of the spaceport. His eyes finally came to rest on a man wearing a uniform sitting across from him. Comforted by an official looking adult, the little boy smiled sheepishly.

Captain Pluvia smiled back. “Hi there, buddy. Is this your first trip to the asteroid belt?”

“Yes, mister. This is the first time in my whole life that I ever even left Mars. But I’m a little scared that the spaceship might crash.” He looked down. “But, Daddy says we have to leave. It’s not safe to live here any more.”

“You don’t need to be scared, son. You know, I’ll be flying the ship, and I’m the best pilot in the entire universe. I’ve flown this ol’ ship at least a thousand times. I’ll make sure you get there safely. And don’t be sad about leavin’ Mars. You’re gonna love it on Vista. The gravity is so low that you can practically float. There’s hundreds of kids your age there already. You’ll have so much fun, you’ll forget all about Mars.” He stood up and grabbed his flight bag. “Well, buddy, I have to get ready for liftoff. But listen, if you get scared during the trip, you just tell the flight attendant that you’re a personal friend of the Captain, and to come get me, OK. There’s no need to worry. I’ll take good care of you.” As the Captain started to walk away, he noticed that the boy had relaxed his vise-like grip on his stuffed animal, and his smile became broader, and a lot less apprehensive. Captain Pluvia wished that it were always that easy. As he headed toward the bridge, he thought about how desperate their situation really was. The chance of long term survival on Vista was very slim. But, hell, a slim chance is better than none, right.

As the ship lifted off from the surface of Mars, the captain stared at the dry, barren landscape through the view port. It seemed that the tan colored rocks were turning a little redder every trip. The surface water on Mars had disappeared centuries ago. They’ve been living underground for generations, conserving what little water could be extracted from the permafrost, and recycling every precious drop. But it was a losing battle, and everyone knew it. They’d all have to leave Mars. They started establishing settlements on the asteroids, or the moons of the large planets, wherever water was available. The evacuations were almost complete, but the hardships were just beginning. The refugees would have to survive for thousands of years in their remote outposts, until the third planet cooled enough to start the rain cycle. The scientists say that the third planet is still too young, too volcanic, and too hot to live on. But, hopefully, when it settles down in a few thousand years, it will become a paradise, like Mars was centuries ago. It will have lakes, and rivers, and oceans. And rain! Captain Pluvia had never seen rain, just read about it. He could only imagine what it would be like to stand outside when it rained. Water, falling from the sky, like a gigantic, cold shower. Tiny droplets, splashing off his upturned face, running down his antennae, and collecting in his pouch. He knew that he’d never live to experience rain. But maybe, with a lot of luck and perseverance, his descendants might survive long enough to relocate to the third planet. A very, very slim chance, perhaps, but it’s better than no chance at all.

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