Synthesis

There is nothing to burn. Modern life is plasticine, cheap and mutable and easily manufactured. Wooden furniture is the stuff of history textbooks and Better Homes and Gardens pinups, the pictures affixed to smooth synthetic walls with reused sticky-tack. Pinup is a…

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Ultimate Showdown

No one saw the meteor coming. It was faster than any meteor yet recorded. It didn’t so much as break the speed of light as it did beat its face in, set it on fire and sleep with its girlfriend. No one saw it coming when it smashed into what once was the Pacific Ocean,…

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Method Man

It was a week before opening night and Bub was still flubbing his lines. “I don’t understand,” said Bub, “Why can’t I have a feed? Why do we have to memorize our lines?” “You have to memorize your lines,” said Daven, clenching his hands into fists…

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Queue

Innocence may be a commodity, but it’s easily emulatable. I get it in thin aluminum cans from the drugstore downtown, the kind that energy drinks come in. They’re kept behind the counter; innocence isn’t a controlled substance, but like condoms and suppositories, it’s…

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Programmed to Receive

“I’m leaving.” Viktor said as he pulled the duffel back over his shoulder and made for the door. He’d had enough of the quarantine, and he had a hankering for Luna stew that needed some satiation. “You can’t do that, Vik! They’ve got every spaceport in the continent…

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Better

It’s my first time at the Persomod. Tann, who’s been my best friend since my family moved to Set, took me as a surprise gift for my birthday. We planned it carefully; Mom and Dad are traditionalists, static to the core. Let their only daughter get a personality graft?…

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Grand Theft Reality

“Who can blame them for what they do?” Sergeant Dobbs sipped his coffee as he leaned back in the patrol car, musing to Lieutenant Carson. Through the windshield, the morning throngs of people left their homes and crowded the streets on their way to work and life as…

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Criminal Psychology

It’s a dangerous job. They told me that in college, they told me that in my doctoral studies, they told me that when they recruited me, and they tell me that every morning of a jump. It’s a dangerous job, Jodie. But I know the risks. Everyone in this field knows the…

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Just the Thing

The rosy Martian sunrise had just dusted over the white curtains on Beth’s bedroom window when her parents heard the wild thudding of eight-year-old feet charging their door like a herd of wild horses. Marlene groaned and stuck her head under the pillow as a small…

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The House Remembers

They sealed Emily’s room three days after the accident, trapping puzzle games and animatronic bears behind the white hydraulic door. Her parents did not want to see the small proofs: things like names doodled on digipaper, the I’s topped by pixellated hearts. A week…

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Brietards

The Annual Garden Party was called such more out of tradition than anything else; there was no vegetation to be found, only green crystal ferns and porcelain roses. However, appearances and traditions had to be respected and kept up. It was commented on that the way…

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Where The Wild Horses Run

Even in the heart of the city, Rene is in the open places. His feet splash in streams, not gutters, and his ears feel the whistle of the wind and not the cry of sirens. Past the dumpsters and yakatori stands, Rene smells green grass and the air right before a storm….

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Weekend Warrior

By federal law, I am required to inform you that by stepping outside of these doors, you are releasing the federal government from liability for your safety. Although I have never lost a person on one of my guided tours of the Outside, I have seen people maimed and…

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Welcome To The Monkey House

The stranger had come full of bizarre smells and even odder forms of payment, and while Hikari wrinkled her nose at the collection of coins and seeds, it was technically money. So she tucked the coins away, placed the seeds in some soft earth so they could blossom…

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Liberty

Liberty ate her lunch alone. It wasn’t that she was shy; back at home in the national park where she grew up, she had been very outgoing. In the city, under the press of glistening buildings and cars speeding through the sky, advertisements wailing and the press of…

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Stitches

Today, my arm itches like hell. Then again, lots of me itches. Everyone has an itch somewhere, but the scarring is never permanent. I’m working my new arm left and right trying to get the feel for it down while walking to my favorite breakfast place. Everyone I pass…

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Happy Trails

The neon sign outside the dingy brown building said “Roxie’s Travel Agency” and featured a woman in a fedora holding a white machine gun. Few people but Roxie, the owner, are old enough to get the reference. She’s had a good deal in front of her that night, a couple…

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The Big Red Button

“What just happened?” Eliot’s eyes were as wide as Cid’s as both of them skimmed the code-riddled display. The letters and numbers went on for as far as the eye could see…literally. Their cruiser looked like a speck of dust next to the onyx-colored greatness that…

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