Encrypted Servitude

Author: Majoki “You’re a peasant, a cyber peasant in the fiefdom of Facebook, of Meta. You’re a digital sharecropper for Google and Amazon and Apple, and you don’t even know it!” The hooded man stood on the polished marble steps and shouted as a small crowd gathered. ...

Scortan Hunting

Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer The corridor is just far enough off-true that it messes with your vision and balance if you’re not careful. Or if part of you relies on an exoskeleton to function. “You okay there, Zeno?” I flick a glance and grin towards Leroy. “I’m ...

Apparition at Shackleton Crater

Author: Stephen Dougherty The faint light of the Crab Nebula lingered in the eyes of Franc Dreyfus for just a second. He turned off the telescope and swivelled his chair to face the exit of the tiny observation room. He pushed himself gently through the doorway that led ...

Behavior Not Becoming

Author: David C. Nutt “Sir, the Colonel sent me to you. Z-two-niner might be showing signs of awareness.” Captain Ancil sighed. “He sent you to me because I’m the ranking AI or the AI duty officer?” The Corporal tilted his head to one side “Sir?” “Nevermind. Why in the ...

Language Barrier

Author: Meg Carey I'm reaching around in the dark, touching up and down your soft, slimy body as you heave long sighs beside me. You’ve been asleep for a few days now, and I don’t know how long this is supposed to go on for. I press my face into your crocodile skin, I let ...

Immortality

Author: Lora Kilpatrick When you wake up, they tell you not to look in the mirror. You feel cocky like always, so you float over to the bathroom when they release you. You expect to see the person you were before you died. It comes as a shock to realize you’re just a ...

The Barrier

Author: Mark Renny When Time stopped it was harsh; a blurred still but dense and difficult to navigate. When it happened to Damien it was fleeting, only for seconds really, a few minutes at most and he simply stood still and closed his eyes and waited it out. They, the men ...

On the Line and Holding

Author: Jenny Abbott For Harold Culpepper, the concept of dying had, until now, seemed like a relatively abstract event—something everyone had to do at some point, but tried not to think about and avoided discussing in polite settings. But now, as he lay bleeding by the ...

Digital Gods

Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer The microwave is telling tales on me. I had an extra chocolate pudding I took from the restaurant. The family left and it was just sitting there unopened. So I took it. I’m recycling. But the bloody microwave scanned the barcode. I heard ...

Hidden Keys

Author: Nisheé An enormous clear lake mirrored the cosmos. Water and sky danced in unison as the rhythm of the waves echoed from the sapphire mountain cliffs on the other side. A warm breeze blew through the rows of magenta palm trees that lined the white sand shore. An ...

Hangland

Author: Tobias Hope Young The falling star landed about fifteen years back. Killed everything in a ten-mile radial. Science folks say it did this by changing the center of cavity in the area. Ya see cavity is the thing that keeps us from floating away, and the center of ...

Provenance

Author: Jennifer Thomas Esteemed benefactors, honored guests: Thank you for attending today’s repatriation ceremony. We begin with our customary Planetary Acknowledgment. We gratefully recognize the communities on whose ancestral and unceded planet we gather today. We ...

Growth

Author: Igor Dyachishin Today may be the most important, and last, day of Anatoly Kravnikov’s life. When he was 25, Anatoly founded Kravnikov AI mostly using borrowed money but also some that he inherited from his mother – a stock market player with incredibly effective ...

On

Author: Aubrey Williams My job is a strange one, but it pays well, and only takes me a few hours, so I can’t complain. The company I work for— one of those powerful computer research firms, I won’t say which— has a very large office in the city. It’s the fourth-tallest ...

Quantum Annie

Author: Majoki I plotted interplanetary trajectories with a buggy whip. I routed the whole of the Infonet with a dot-dot-dash-dot. I was the perfect blend of the new and old. And loony as a toon. They called me Quantum Annie. My processing schizophrenia can be traced to ...

Rebound

Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer Don gives Ted a grin, then turns back to the dishevelled man standing in front of them. “Tell me again.” Ted snickers quietly. “I liked the bit where she rode in on a dinosaur.” The man sighs. “Short version: we’ve been messing with ...

The Faceless

Author: Mark Renney The ‘Visage Wipe’ was promoted as a grand project. The language the campaign used was both simplistic and pompous. It was claimed it would unite us and yet only those aged between fourteen and twenty-four were eligible. For anyone older, it had been ...

Going Halves

Author: Ruhsen Dogan Nar "Here it comes, get ready!" shouted Mehmet from atop a heap of dirt dumped two nights ago. Ali's high-pitched, adolescent voice echoed from the roof of a three-story building at the entrance of a shantytown adjacent to Izmir's skyscrapers: "I'm ...

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