Fun Slows Us Down

Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer I’m with the XIA. The Xenomorph Intelligence Agency. I’m undercover. This is a soft war; more of an intelligence-gathering mission to discover weak points and destabilization technique hypotheses in case they’re needed. It’s the pin-striped skin ...

Past Tense

Author : Robin de Graaf Bartleby pushed open the heavy pub door. A bell jangled and a handful of pub patrons gave him a quick look-see. Realizing that they had no idea who he was, they quickly returned to their pints. Bartleby looked around, until he saw who he was looking for. He took ...

Old-Time Memory

Author : Kiel Finger He stabbed his knife into the hardpack soil. It didn’t go in very deep; in fact it barely stood upright. Maybe an inch or two into the ground, tilted to the left. Not as dramatic as he would have liked, but the meaning behind the act was clear. It was an old ...

Pageturner

Author : Joseph Pascale My ears were assaulted by a variety of sounds as I entered the 21st Century-style café. The most alarming was the grinding sound that could have come from a malfunctioning robot, but was actually emitting from large copper contraptions. I was also unaccustomed ...

The Seven Year Scream

Author : Aldous Mercer Gerrard goes down on one knee to tie Junior's shoelaces. He double, then triple-knots the things, and wonders what else she's left deliberately undone. "Did Mommy tell you why I wanted you to come today?" His voice is low. "Uh-Huh." Junior's toddler-treble is ...

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Author : Roger Hammons The Lady of the House had a mind of her own. “Christopher James Robbins!” she scolded. “Yes, ma’am! Yes, ma’am!” he replied, picking up the dirty clothes. The forceful puff of hot air from the vents made him chuckle, which seemed to annoy her even more. He ...

Junk Planet

Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer The piles of scrap starship parts stretched off toward the horizon in every direction. I’d lived on the junk planet for almost five years now, but my escape was imminent. I wound up here like so many others, stranded in orbit with a broken ship, ...

A 'Simon-Pure' Tale

Author : Desmond Hussey, Staff Writer I’s down at Calhoon’s Saloon washin’ the day’s grit outta my mouth with belts of sour mash. Was hotter’n a cat-house on nickel night with nothin’ to jaw on but leathery yarns told too many times. Sudden-like, I feels a cold wind ‘cross my arm n’ ...

Trash Man

Author : Mark Tremble The gravel road leading to the dumping ground is the colour of washed bone in the moonlight. Nothing moves except the leaves of ironbark trees when the night breeze comes. Inside the caretaker’s trailer, which is parked closer to the piles of industrial waste and ...

Big Bang Theory

Author : Dawn Napier Six year old Jacob found the marble under his bed, behind a grey bin filled with army vehicles. It was bright blue and glowed faintly in the dusty darkness. Jacob picked up the marble—then dropped it again. It was hot, so hot that it burned his hand. He stuck his ...

Scrap

Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer I look at the disc embedded in the tree by my head. I've just avoided the embarrassment of being beheaded by the greatest hits of the 1990s. The slotgun is an innovation that embodies the creed of the scrappers, using society's discards to provide ...

The Spotter Alone

Author : Jay Hill Corporal Hawkins woke to a loud ringing in his ears, the sound muted only slightly by the rush of pain swimming across the top of his skull. He undid the strap on his Kevlar helmet and ran his hand through the blood and sweat pouring down from his high and tight ...

Good to Have Company

Author : Townsend Wright The girl with the bright red hair walked into the dingy, ramshackle hotel. The lobby was edged with people, some standing, watching, most asleep under old coats or bags, except one man with a disfigured face who was sitting cross-legged in meditation. She ...

Dockside

Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer I stand on the shore. I am starting to hate my job. The smaller automatons here weld and stitch together and ferry cargo. They are mobile. They have wheels and treads. The shipyard is a hive of activity when a ship comes in. What I do is reach ...

Chronoscope

Author : Desmond Hussey, Staff Writer 17th Day, 8th Lunar, 1860 N.E. (New Earth ) 09:47:23 I look to the west; to the future. I meditate on how close we came to not having one. Our predecessors, our degenerate, self-obsessed ancestors destroyed themselves. We’d be naught but savages ...

FOOMF!

Author : David Stevenson “Come in, come in. Have a seat. Mind the filing cabinet. You wanted to speak to me?” “It’s about my black hole paper.” “Remind me.” “Well, In theory, I have a way to generate black holes here, in the lab.” “Really? Do we have room for massive degenerate ...

A Swirl of Chocolate

Author : K Esta Time travel is impossible. Or so Charlie had always been taught to believe. He stood shivering in the darkness of the November morning, his breath creating puffs reminiscent of his long-past smoking days. Worrying about cancer seemed so trivial now. His leather gloves ...

The Suicide Concerts

Author : Morrow Brady They legalised suicide to combat over-population but the widespread stench of decay demanded a more ritualised approach. This emerged as a celebration of a life lived too long and metastasised into the suicide concerts. In the summer of 2212, the festival of ...

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