by Jude Reid
We found the dead God on the hillside.
We found the dead God on the hillside.
From the Hopkins punch-point to orbital insertion around Herbert's World should have been a relatively short journey, but something is amiss.
Tomorrow they would send a message faster than the speed of light--or not. If they succeeded, they would make history. If they failed, it wouldn't be because of George Conrad's equipment. He left when everyone else did but returned to test each circuit in the prototype of the QE terminal. He got more done when working late.
When the intercom on his desk buzzed, Marc's head snapped up, instantly awake. He'd been dozing in his chair. His finger stabbed the button that told the boss he was on his way. He stood up and straightened his rumpled gray suit before glancing at his watch. One seventeen AM. It figures. The boss tried to cut him as much slack as he could, but humans just couldn't keep the same pace as the Vrith, who came from the sunny side of a tidally locked planet and didn't sleep at all.
Every morning I harvested the most luscious blooms from the gardens for display in the showroom. Today the quince blazed with bright orange blossom, so I cut a few twigs. As I carried them inside, I sniffed the flowers to check the engineered pheromones. A wave of longing overtook me: a sudden urge to do something mischievous and subversive.
As we waited for customers, I stared out of the showroom window into the garden full of celebrities sprouting from the soil. This early in spring, most of the plants hadn't yet reached resemblance: the flower-buds were tiny blank faces, gradually developing features. Only the cyclamen--Harriet's self-portrait--was in full bloom.
I watch with hope as Ms. Figgle-DeBitt samples a slice of caramelized banana upside-down cake. She takes a nibble and seems pleased. She sweeps cybernetic fingers through the shock of gray hair that sits on the human half of her face, a gesture I've learned is contemplative. She takes a larger bite, chews, and grimaces. She spits it out into a trash can.
I met Molly in a real dive outside Zeta 5, called Braker. The kinda joint that sold untaxed synthetics. Clientele smoked but Braker never bothered to filter their atmosphere. When you could breathe, it smelled like grease and heated metal. It was on a moon, always in shadow. Red bioluminescent bulbs years past their expiration, provided the ambient lighting. I was just there to refuel my Boxer. In retrospect, she probably followed me there.
Matt Dovey is a professional writer of short science fiction & fantasy. He is very tall, very British, and probably drinking a cup of tea right now. His surname rhymes with “Dopey”, but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. More →
There weren't no good way to say Colin, mate, this is shit, you don't deserve it, but we bloody love you and we'll get through it, alright? Cos no matter how you said it his head was too full of angry buzzing to hear it.
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Mark's next door neighbour and business partner Pat kept telling him that power flowed through his veins. He took a breath and closed his eyes, trying to will the power back out again and into the ash wand in his outstretched hand. He pointed it at Pat's door. A narrow beam of blue light squeezed out of the end and hit the lock. Nothing happened. Sighing, he folded the wand and put it in his pocket. He took out his key and let himself into her house.
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The temple altar in the central lava pit cracks open, and a column rises through it from underground: there's a Kyberdevil perched on top, an ugly-ass nine-foot goat-legged little bitch with most of its torso carved away to attach a rocket launcher.