When the quantum supercomputing systems of the God called Nemesis registered the sighting of the heretic Candor Gray—already tried in absentia and slated for termination, and assigned the serial number of HA3-940QK322PF-P—Enga Afonbataw Konum of Nemesis was already waiting, as she’d waited during the last few dozen stupid assignments. Enga was an angel of Nemesis, a no-longer-human cyborg built for a singular purpose: to hunt down and destroy the Gods’ enemies.
- It rained yesterday, only in my precinct, far in excess of the scheduled and published amount, as a result of which some of my more delicate houseplants, which are flowering, were severely damaged.
- The choices in the mayoral election are disappointing, far from the ideological panoply promised in early stages of the campaign.
- Because of this, I am deciding whether or not I should file a formal Notice of Intent not to vote.
The Blue People of the desert continent on the Planet Miln have never been in space, as far as their ancestral memories go. Among the sand dunes and the whirling dust devils of the Southern Continent, they lead nomadic lives, content to traverse, generation after generation, the shifting pathways across the great desert. In all their remembered history, only one of them has ever traveled to the Northern Continent and beyond, never to return. The Blue People do not speak to the Northerners.
On their ninth rewrite of the third act of Detective Pikachu vs. Predator, it occurred to Thicket that they might just be the voice of their generation. In a fever, they swiped together the final epic speech where Detective Pikachu refutes Predator’s cynical attempts to turn him against his human partner, arguing that the Pokémon relationship with humanity was one not of servitude but of guardianship, for every Pokémon can see within each human the potential to rise above their flawed nature.
Nissaea-of-the-Slant wasn’t even looking for an eye implant in the mazeway lode when she came across the half-smashed ocular. It was worthless in any case, and she gritted her teeth at her bad luck. A hand was what she needed, and this was her last chance. The sputtering confounders, the only ones she’d been able to afford, would give out sooner or later, and then she wouldn’t be able to hide her illegal implant-mining from the Watch.
Two women, Best and Least, woke in a bright room. Best did so as if surfacing in a pool of water, her eyes wide and observant. Least woke with a start, and immediately slammed her back against the wall behind her, her arms splayed. Where are we? asked Best. Who the fuck are you? demanded Least. Now, now, came a voice from the doorway. There’s no need to be coarse. A tall, graceful Being entered the room, diaphanous fabric afloat around its slender body.
We have no quota, no set hours. We keep going for as long as burnt coffee recharges us, slouching in lumpy plastic chairs that scritch on the parquet floor of a ground-floor office whose single plate window is blotted by standees of the Candidate, wearing a reassuring smile and a dark pantsuit. We repeat phrases like “bringing back forward thinking” and “the bronze path to the light,” as if we know what they mean. We never look at each other, but we imagine that all our faces wear the same look: professional, focused, ecstatic.
Gorman was on foot, crossing a frozen continent. It was not Antarctica. That was light years away, and so over. Nobody went there anymore. This continent he had chosen for his latest adventure was bigger, broader, colder, deadlier, nastier. It was not fun. Every step was an occasion for regret. He was probably going to die. He was glad he came.
“In old times, popping ’sphere was much more serious.” Reinventing her bedside manner, Nerethe had found, was the hardest thing about pretending that she no longer had any mental abilities. Harder even than wielding hand-held med instruments instead of reworking the flesh with her mind. “When we were planetbound, we didn’t hibernate under any circumstances. We were spacers for over a thousand generations before we developed a survival mechanism.”
The Blue Marble is shrinking; as Orion II lifts off, ripping from the grasping tentacles of Earth’s gravity, the world gets smaller, smaller, a blot on the cosmic sheet of infinite blackness, which closes in like a camera iris in a classic film’s final shot. Picture the planet’s surface, where the wonders of the old world buckle at the top of the hour under the weight of new wars; where down below, all those little people fall to their knees, desperate voices crying, crying out to their deity-du-jour for deliverance.