A newly promoted woman who works for a nebulous, powerful intergalactic organization is sent on her first assignment to assess the operations of a formerly illegal mining operation but finds the organization’s military protector has been sent to “protect” her.

I was raised in the PiMSR system, so you could say PiMSR was the only mother or father I knew, though after all this time, it still felt like I barely knew them at all. The PiMSR system was a nebulous, somewhat inconspicuously powerful organization that provided Political, Military and Scientific Research services to private organizations, governments and entire planets.

But we did so much more.

As I was about to learn.

I had just arrived at Talon Way Station after 8.25 hours in a cramped shuttle, stuck between a man who drooled in his sleep and a woman who…


For pedestrians, it’s a real game of Frogger out there.

Photo by Jesus Kiteque on Unsplash

A little more than a year ago, right before Covid-19 blasted into New York and lock down began, I had temporarily moved back to upstate/western New York and got stuck here. I previously quit my long-term, fulltime job in a bid to make independent consulting work. I thought upstate New York would be a good place to hide out and work remotely during quarantine, ‘cuz it’s remote. I’d been working remotely for years and thought I would be continue to do so, but, as happened to so many of us, jobs became harder and harder to come by.

So with…


It takes as long as it takes.

Photo by Maksym Zakharyak on Unsplash

Hans and Salvador stood at the end of the dying king’s bed. It was a very large bed in a very large room with very high ceilings, so high it was as if there were no ceiling at all, just great dark, empty, endless space. Salvador stood with his head back, squinting up into the blackness.

“He was a great, big man,” Hans said softly.

“He’s not dead yet,” Salvador whispered back.

“No, I mean he’s fat. Obese.”

“Well that’s rude.”

“I’m rude? There’s a famine going on out there and they’re going to use his death to minimize the…


Toughen up, buttercup. It’s not.

I know every author likes to think the novel they’ve just written is the most amazing thing anyone has ever written and there is nothing else that anyone else has to — or should — do than read their amazing, life-changing piece of work.

It’s not true. On all counts. I know my novel is not the most amazing thing anyone has ever written, and I don’t want anyone to suffer through reading it. Unless they want to. It’s a conceit for anyone to think their piece of work is life-changing. And that no one else has anything better to do than read it. By tomorrow.

People have a lot of things to do — reading a novel doesn’t even crack my top 10 anymore. Not since I was a kid. I used to love nonfiction but now…


They waited for the inevitable visitations, the vengeful apparitions, the poltergeists that were violent memories settling in.

We had been at sea for three days. As Roca came into view and grew larger and more distinct the men on deck fell quiet. We were under sail now gliding, the sea taking us in, a mother to her children. Below deck even the rowers were silent; what they couldn’t see they felt. Philip and Ciaran rested on the gangway and Edward manned the pilot’s chair. …


the night we left Scalia, when I first met Castor and Pollux, our ship was attacked.

The night we left Scalia, when I first met Castor and Pollux, our ship (Rowen’s ship), was attacked.

“Down!” he screamed, “everyone down!”

Castor, Pollux and I huddled down as the ship veered. Lighted missiles flew over our heads like fireballs hurled from the cosmos. The missiles dropped over us; their heat seared our skin as they angled past the deck and were extinguished by the sea. The entire deck vibrated and even after Rowen had outrun them the echoes of the Carians still chased us and their missiles haunted the sky.

I hardly slept the first few weeks after…


Incident Report: Stone Prison Termination

Stone Island rests at the edge of the Rocan Sea. Ancient geologists think it is the last remnant of a giant land bridge that might have connected Roca to the mainland. Its fortunes since have been determined by the tides; the eternal rise and fall of the sea swallows most of it or exposes much of it. Giant rainbow fish and sharp-toothed bronze sharks hunt along its reef where smaller fish feed on algae, shrimp and a variety of crustaceans.

Today it is an established navigational marker. A small lighthouse guides merchants unfamiliar with the Rocan sea away from the…


at the tail end of dusk when light had yielded nearly to dark and all was made murky, the sky nearly the sea and the sea nearly the sky…

at the tail end of dusk when light had yielded nearly to dark and all was made murky, the sky nearly the sea and the sea nearly the sky, I rowed my boat silently through the calm water, coming very close to the northern Rocan shore. Carved into the sky was a thin crescent moon, its sharp points stretching round, round, almost touching and its light growing ever brighter as the…


The Northern Aqueduct Bridge stretched more than a thousand feet across a near-desolate valley through which had once surged a great mountain river. Over centuries the great river had evaporated into what was now little more than a trickling stream.

Northern Aqueduct itself was one of four ancient aqueducts that pumped water into the city. Southern aqueduct was already dry years before I was born; Eastern and Western were dangerously low. Northern had always been the most dependable because its source was a pure crystalline great lake once thousands of miles long sheltered by tall snowy mountains.

From soil to…

nancy

Short stories. Scifi. Experimenting with worldbuilding.

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