The Lost Languages of Exiles – Laura E. Price

The shoes they gave her don’t fit. She notices in the waiting area of the IWT counseling office and holds one foot out in front of her. Wiggles her toes and feels them rubbing against the inside front seam of the shoe. It’s felt like this since she put it on, but she’s just now stopped long enough to really feel it. The shoe is canvas and rubber, a basic sneaker, and probably half a…

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An Aftertaste of Earth – Pauline Yates

The arrival of delegates from the Planetary Migration Program raised false hope in my district. Not only has the maximum age for entry to the off-world colony been lowered, we were given less than a week to prepare a concept to prove worth of passage. But with the demise of earth a certainty, hope is all I have left. This event is my last chance to secure a future for my family. With my eligibility…

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What Have You Done to be Happy Today? – Kimberly Kaufman

I guess it started with the robot talking to me at the front of Perfect Pizza. It was the check-out clerk, one of the humanoid ones, vaguely male with his square features, bald head and glass eyes. His pupils dilated when the clouds covered the sun, and he had specks of color in each iris: blue and grey, occasionally red. The ‘bot was just human enough to feel comfortable ordering a personal pizza from, yet…

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Papa Pedro’s Children – Karl Dandenell

Peter Carlson held the gurgling two-month-old infant with one hand, while the other dug through a dresser drawer. “Bwa! Bah!” gurgled the baby. “Right as usual, Cassie,” Peter said, pulling out a bright red knit cap. It was too small. Peter shook his head. “I know this fit yesterday.” He found another cap, a patterned alpaca wool hat with big earflaps. He pulled it down firmly over Cassie’s head. “Command: weather,” he said. Twelve degrees,…

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HOPper – Charlotte H. Lee

HOPper shut off the light as his mistress left the kitchen, scrubbing at her eyes while she made her way down the hallway to the bedrooms. Just as Vanessa reached the girls’ door, he dimmed the hall light from the standard eight hundred lumens to three hundred so it wouldn’t wake the children. Once again, six-year-old Sadie’s book of fairy tales had fallen to the floor. HOPper kindled the desk lamp and waited until Vanessa…

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BetaU – T. B. McKenzie

On Sunday, Janie’s com pinged with a message from her cousin who worked for Visage, one of the big city body-mod firms. You should go for this! read the underlined text, which took her to a minimalist page with the company name, BetaU in the middle and a single link at the bottom: Employment Opportunities. Only the fanciest places hired humans any more, and Janie’s curiosity sparked, if not her hope, for they’d only want…

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