The Wait Calculation

Author : Beck Dacus I was told that, when I awoke, I should expect the thunder of battle to have already started. But when the doctor woke me, his face calm, if not bored, I heard only the low rumble of my fellow crewman babbling about something. I would soon learn what ...

A Winter Ramble to the Site of the Shapwell Ghyll Spacecraft

Author : Peter Haynes It’s a long winding tramp from the Ship Inn (formerly the Coachman) to Shapwell Ghyll where the spacecraft rests. At what is widely accepted to be the route’s start, I watch walkers of the Nordic bent de-telescoping and chatting as the first rimy sleet ...

The Long Smoke

Author : David Henson The chaplain sits beside the young man and lays a small box on her lap. "Mr. Parker, would you like to pray with me?" "That's not for me, Chaplain. But I'm glad you're here." Parker's hands are trembling, eyes red. The chaplain reaches out and ...

Vacuum

Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer Sometimes, when we got bored, we'd turn off the artificial gravity and do mundane things in zero gee. Sitting on either side of what passed for a mess room table over breakfast was a particular favourite pastime of mine. The slow motion ...

Startup

Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer My guardian wakes me with a mental alert: “Intrusion!” I lie there, unmoving, keeping my bodyware idle. The first rule of surviving killsoft: do nothing to allow it further access. “Where, Teriya?” I silently reply. – It’s a difficult ...

Eta Carinae

Author : Lisa Jade I still recall the sorrow of the Project Head when he said I was leaving Earth. I’d questioned it; there were plenty of people more qualified than me. I wasn’t sure why they’d chosen me, or why they treated the Stasis Project like a death sentence. It ...

Love Binds Us

Author : Beck Dacus While the feds brushed their feet on my welcome mat and walked into my kitchen, I was scanning my mind for things I had done wrong. I hadn’t reported any alien sightings. Never smuggled drugs, or touched drugs in my entire life. None of my friends had ...

Heavens Burst

Author : Austen Rodgers They spawned from the Heavens Burst and raced beyond the measure of speed and distance, and for a time longer than the total existence of any other species. Like streaks of cosmic fireworks, they spread outward and settled on planets scattered ...

Temporal Clock

Author : Roderick Holl Elijah checked the readout on the pen-sized tool, cursing to himself as he placed a hand on his helmet and spoke into the communications channel, “Hamlet do you read me? I don’t think the problem is this balance spring.” “It must be something, it’s ...

Spire

Author : Catori Sarmiento It will only grow bigger. The abdominal bloating that began as a minuscule bump is gradually becoming more obvious. He placed a hand on the swollen mass, now full enough to cup in his palm, as a quiet anxiety pulses from the source to the base of ...

The Instant

Author : Andrew Bale How is it that death is an instant? A few seconds ago, the gasping, struggling, savaged body of Ensign Harper had been a living person, and then, in an instant, he was gone. She held his body, felt it settling, relaxing from its former struggles, ...

End Game

Author : Leanne A. Styles I skip down the corridor, swinging my gun in delight. Even above the wail of the alarms, Ben’s screams carry, amplified by the lofty glass walls. As I enter the stairwell, I contemplate why, out of everybody in the office, I’ve spared ...

Hag Guard

Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer The monsters are just about to carve into my flesh when the fright-spasm finally wakes me. I struggle to breathe until panic releases my chest; gasping breaths hiss and thunder. The viewport is fogged with condensation and I’ve wet ...

Stumbling Toward Bethlehem

Author : K.A. Magrowski The giant handprint appeared on the hill sometime during the night of April 30. No one in the nearby farming communities and town saw or heard anything, but on May 1 everyone woke to see the imprint in the distance, across the cow pastures and ...

The Screw Up

Author : Iain Macleod "Dude! We are so boned, dude! This wasn't supposed to happen!" Jimmy frantically tapped at his console, sweat beginning to drip off the end of his nose. "They're sentient, man" "What? All of them?" replied Carl, the older of the two keeping calm, ...

Aesthetic Demise

Author : Timothy Marshal-Nichols “So this bloke then, this Galvano bloke, so this Galvano della Volpe is dead.” The Local Defence Officer thought for a few seconds while twiddling with his moustache. Then spoke into his radio, “Sucker's dead.” “Repeat,” came back the ...

My iFriend

Author : Daniel Helman One time there lived a small planet that decided to invent some silicon-based machines to serve as emissaries to the rest of the universe, to be a good neighbor. A few apes had some promise, as being able to develop, maintain and enjoy these machines, ...

Sisters

Author : David Henson The module thuds onto the planet's surface. Commander Stevens adjusts the stabilizers. "No prize for that one." Lieutenant Johnson cuts the engines. "You always think you can do better." "Do you have to take everything I say ...

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