Donald Q. Haute, Gentleman Inquisitator, and the Peril of the Pythogator – David A. Hewitt

Inquisitator’s Log: July 11, 20—; 11:53 pm The Donald Q. Haute residence, Springstump Township The electromail came in the night, heralded by a ping from my desktop computing-box. My Inquisitator’s training snapped me instantly from deepest REM to full wakefulness, and I leapt, puma-fashion, from the bed. To: DQHInquisit8@squiggle.web From: Ballyhoo495371475@orgcom.net Subject: Porthos lost! Please help! A foreboding fell upon me. This Porthos: a priceless diamondjade idol of ancient Mesopocambria? A white-bearded guru-monk who’d discovered …

Revitalized – Jason P. Burnham

As she trudged down the alley, out of sight of the grey uniforms, Cenessa saw a small puddle. But how? Could it be a mirage? It was certainly hot enough. The dust she had stirred from the parched, cracked earth settled as she stood there, trying to figure out if she was hallucinating the water. Behind her, the way was clear. In front of her, the puddle abutted the stone barrier at the dead end. …

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 …

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, …

Choice – Tomas Marcantonio

The giant apartment complex was unfinished, like almost everything else in Pyongyang. It loomed over the city, a grey, oval-shaped mass rising like a fungal growth on the bank of the Taedong River, swarming with half-lived lives. The western side was wall-less, held together with sagging electrical wires and iron bones stripped of their skin. Multitudes of drones hovered outside windows, transporting deliveries or simply spying, like mechanical wasps searching for a nectar that no …

Notes from the Laocoön Program – Phoenix Alexander

The orbital module fails to detach and we ignite in the full-mouth kiss of the planet’s atmosphere, spinning with a velocity that pushes us to the black brink of unconsciousness. G-force grinds us into seats molded for our forms. There is the view through the porthole in my periphery – of jittering flame and cartwheeling stars and the glowing edges of unfamiliar continents – and the interior of the capsule in front of me. My …