Fiction: Unremembered Sins (Neptune 2469)

The oscillations of the sled reverberated through her prone body like the palpitations of the heart beat of some giant, monstrous creature. And indeed, there probably was some truth to that, as Miyu’s sled slipped through the old unused transit tubes that formed the early arteries of the earliest days of Triton’s colonization.

The sled was barely as long as Miyu herself, the parallel conducting rails reacting against the transit tubes themselves as a kind of inverted railgun allowing the sled to accelerate to staggering speeds that tested the very limits of human reaction times in the tight tunnels. At the prow of the sled was a light and a proximity sensor; in front of Miyu’s face was a tiny readout that fed her precious little information to make corrections; her subcutaneous node transmitted the presentation feed.

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Fiction: “The German Plan” (Jupiter 2470)

Below, the panoply of Ganymede’s surface stared endlessly back at Jupiter. With one face always facing the giant jovian king, one face was always in light, one in dark but for the faint light cast by the faraway Sun.

Twin shadows crossed between moon and gas giant, two mighty kings beholden to the Commonwealth of Callisto. The super-dreadnoughts Karanus and Demetrius were each escorted at distance by over dozen lesser shadows – destroyers mostly, but there were also the silhouettes of three dreadnoughts, and even a pair of frigates that hid in the wake of the mighty leviathans.

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Fiction: “Stand” (Venus 2470)

“Ladies and gentlemen of Parliament, you have now heard from a parade of, let me count…eight advocates for moving forward the bill to begin first phase implementation of terraforming. That is close to two hours of time the rest of us were desperately fighting not to fall asleep during. I confess I failed at least twice.

Science Deputy Director Maria Becker from Zisa would have you think that the issue before us is primarily a logistical issue. A financial problem that can be solved with financial tools. An issue of how. An issue of when.

She is wrong. This bill is a death sentence. If not for you, then for your children.”

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Fiction: “War Crimes” (Mars 2469)

It had all gone incredibly, terribly wrong.

Havildar 2nd Class Astrid Narayan, Phoenicis Regiment, Company D, Force Section Alpha of the Mars Republic forced herself to relax her death-grip on the flechette pistol.

Holstering the sidearm, Astrid turned her head to get a better look at the entry wound on her left shoulder, but the camo-brown combat suit had already auto-sealed itself, only the sticky puce of the blood and the pounding fire below her collar bone betraying exactly how close she had almost come to dying before the micros in her bloodstream had kicked in to clot the wound.

Astrid pushed herself to her feet, collecting a handful of flechette cartridges from what had remained of her force section.

She tried not to look at their faces, but couldn’t quite manage it. That was still better than looking at the faces of the others. The kids were the worst.

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Fiction: “Grass” (Saturn 2470)

Accepting the inevitability of conflict in a nanosecond, the synchronization check from the primary artificial flashed through the ship. Five artificials echoed in a unified voice: “The Program is Purpose. Our Duty is our Design. In Death our dataline becomes immortal.”

A tiny transmission drone ejected from the destroyer operating under passive sensors with heavy ECM to hide its presence and enable the furtherance of its own mission to report back to base. When the engagement was complete, it would be retrieved, but until then, it was insurance of a sort.

The nuclear reactor at the rear of the ship flared to renewed life as the command was directed to the ship’s engines to trigger an outpouring of energy to power the destroyer’s own AMG. The artificial magnetosphere, far more powerful than any that either of the opposing frigates were likely to be carrying, surged to life around the destroyer creating an invisible bubble to disrupt the effectiveness of incoming HED Lance particle weapon streams.

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Fiction: “Testament” (Mercury 2468)

In slightly under three months, the automated resupply ship from Mercury would synchronize its velocity with the Tàiyáng 4 Observation Station, cargo cells in slow, inevitable sequence sliding down the length of the resupply ship’s spine, whereupon each would be re-clamped to the station’s cargo intake port.

The cargo cells – and in truth, there were usually only three or perhaps four for a standard resupply – would disgorge their supplies of vitals, including a substitute caretaker for the observation station for the next six months. Even more importantly, carried in the belly of one of those cargo cells would be a new air save pump to replace the one that had burned out two months ago.

In slightly more than three days Sergei Viktorovich Ulyanov would be dead.

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Fiction: “Letting Go” (The Belt 2470)

Even through the gloves of his spacesuit, Nicholas Bouras could feel the cold of the metal hand grips on the outer door of the primary habitat ring’s peripheral airlock.

They were still talking to him through the radio in his headset. He had no idea what they were saying anymore; the voices had long since turned to static in his head, a counterpoint to the pounding rhythm of his own breathing. It was as if here at the end of his life, his brain simply refused to process the basics of human language, preferring instead the comforting banalities of his own internal human physiology.

The numbers on the other hand – the numbers Nicholas could see as if they were printing on the screen in front of him rather than unbidden on the black backdrop of his own mind: 0.135g, 15 hours, 1.553 rpm, and most importantly of all – 8.13 meters per second.

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