The Eighth Fathom – Chris Panatier

First Fathom, The Plunge In a past beyond the reach of time’s measure, we fell from the Galaxy Beam and into the waters of a primordial world. From the shattered wreckage of our Great Hull, we salvaged the ascension core and dove into the salted darkness. And within the abyssal contours of this alien planet, we made our home, awaiting the wobble of the zenith star that would presage the Beam’s return. Ook crept down …

Sonata II: Shailani – L. Chan

Allegro: Shailani This is part 2 of L. Chan’s novella, Sonata. Part 1 ran in January 2020. What has gone before: Sona has travelled north, up the lawless swathes of the Periphery of the Empire Sound. He’s enlisted the help of Shailani, a former soldier with the Imperial Army, on her own journey to the north. After an ambush by jealous bandits from a gang Sona used to serve, Shailani learned that Sona was carrying …

Grow, Divide, Sacrifice, Thrive – Jo Miles

The circular driveway at the Randolph family house was already full when Chris arrived, packed tight with cars all the way out to the curb, so Chris parked on the street. It seemed fitting that there was no space left for them, and anyway, their scraped-up little Honda didn’t belong next to the family’s Lexuses and Teslas. Evening bathed the neighborhood in softening shadows, drawing the eye to the lit windows of the Randolph home, …

Heart of Stone – Chris Cornetto

Light filtered through the debris, igniting a spark in his crystalline heart. Bending all his will to the effort, the little golem opened his eyes. Pink, hazy dawn — or perhaps twilight? — filtered through a cloud of dust motes. It was barely light at all, yet it set his body thrumming, energy tingling through silicon veins. The light soaked into his heart and filled it with life. He tried to move his arms, his …

Pyrrha – Antony Paschos

 I open my eyes and see a rifle pointing at me. Well, not at me exactly. At me and Sister. Or just at Sister, I’m not sure, because the barrel is dancing in circles and zigzags. Sister’s heavy breathing rumbles, hur, hur, hur, lulling me. Her snoring shakes her chest, which, in turn, shakes my head, as it’s tucked under her tit. I elbow her hard. “Sis,” I whisper. She grunts, tightens her arms …

Sonata I: Sona – L. Chan

Andante: Sona Siege drums struck the town just before daybreak – whaleskin stretched over hollowed out tree trunks, varnished and polished until the drum bodies were darker than a moonless night. War Music was the province of the Empire military, and was not often employed by the Periphery patrols. Early morning mist clung to the ground, warping and distorting as the waves of force sped from the siege drums, propagating through the Sound and smashing …