100-word fiction competition — win an HP MediaSmart EX495

fl705aa_300.jpgThe prize is a $700 HP MediaSmart EX495 PC, set up as a Windows home server, with 1.5TB of storage and Mac/Time Machine support. The winner shall be chosen at arbitrary whim. Runners-up get something random from the gadget dungeon. The theme is "Found in Space." 100 words long. Go! Update: Reader femaletrouble3 wins the HP MediaSmart for this entry. Runner up acrocker wins a Peek Pronto. Winners, email Rob at Boing Boing dot net for your loot!


  1. I start to gaze in the distance; I’m unaware of the impending doom that’s hurtling towards me. Out in the darkness, it’s just my reflection in the visor, overlaid by a backdrop of stars. It is getting brighter. The final frontier, or so they say, just waiting to be explored. The problem is that there’s an infinite possibility of nothingness in front of me. Then, the last seconds of my life, a bright white flash of light catches the corner of my eye. I didn’t see my life flash before me, but I did get a glimpse of the comet.

  2. We moved to Idaho Falls fourteen years ago; it still wasn’t far enough. We played pioneer, we walked up and down the ugly intersecting avenues that crossed at odd angles roughly containing the plateaus of the Snake. We still felt the thin sky above us pulling the landscape impossibly far apart, forcing buildings and streets and faces to recede from one another as they were slowly washed out by not much at all really. All we could do was keep the tallest spire on our right. We circled the streets while the world flew past us, sprawling into the ocean.

  3. The boy hadn’t told anyone about the smoking crater he’d found out in the Potters Field, their landing site he thought. He had embraced the meteor and what was in it like only the imagination of a child could. Before we could reach for the moon with the revolutionary grasp of the 1960’s, young minds like his were sending tin ships full of men in metallic jumpsuits to Mars to conquer space tyrants with their armies of antennaed space slaves. So, to him, the death ray found beside the site had come as no surprise. No surprise at all.

  4. Found adrift just this side of the Oort Cloud, the cold husk of an alien, yet familiar object tumbled slowly in front of unblinking eyes. Minuscule currents of shared gravity subtly altered the pair’s respective paths, drawing them imperceptibly nearer as the hours passed. Anonymous controllers gazed in wonder from afar, watching excruciatingly grainy and unresponsive images fed to them from their distant thrall. What did it portend for a self-centric, one in a billion civilization, thought alone in the universe?

    But wonder turned to fear in an instant – A massive blinding burst – When decoded, read:


  5. We don’t know exactly where it came from, but we know that crashed on Mograt Island Near Abu Hamed, Sudan. The insidious nature of the capsule has been reported all too often. Those who get near it have all been of one mind – whatever it is, it is miraculous. The infectious nature of their joy has overtaken most of the world in a span of eight short days, and we don’t know where it will go next. The choice we are left with is simple. Do we go to it, or do we wait for it to come to us?

  6. Paper flees. Scissors comes fast! Paper dashes left. Paper evades scissors. A corner nipped. Scissors angry. Paper has plan. Shrieks for friend! Rock streaks by! Rock puffs chest. Scissors trembles. Scissors seeks exit. Rock advances threateningly. Scissors pees pants. Paper giggles. Rock pummels! Scissors rock n’ rolled! Rock gloats. Paper cheers! Scissors is dust. Paper sidles over. Rock grunts victory. Paper high-fives! Rock down-lows! Eyes dart right. Paper says “look”! Rock spins around. Paper belly-flops. Paper covers Rock! Rock’s spirit broken. Cries out feebly. Paper triumphs! But wait! Paper looks surprised. Paper missing corner. Paper crumples, ruined. Lost in space.

  7. A galactic arm over from the forgotten progenitor star of the sapient phyla a wonderful discovery was made. Five million years old, found in a nebula by a gas mining clan, was the oldest pre stellar-sapiens artifact discovered by any association, hive mind or transcendent. At the center of a twenty-mile agglomeration, the battered and radiation scarred lump of metal and silicates required a cluster wide project to reconstruct the proto-symbols “V” “G” and “R”. Analysis showed there was a disk of gold used as a data storage device. Due to damage, the contents of the disk remain a mystery.

  8. If I empty your shit-tank and you don’t pay me, I will eventually find you. The fires of revenge burned my brain. He would pay with his life. I descended stealthily at The Ranch in the South Cabeus Crater. All it took was a couple questions to find him. There he was, hovering around some whorehouses. Our ships clattered like tin cans. His was no match for mine and I was able to grab him with my lock-arms. His cabin depressurized and I saw his eyeballs come out and his face stretch. You don’t mess with the Shitman.

  9. It had been a long ordeal. There was nothing here – nothing but the deep black sound of the abyss in my mind, tunelessly overwhelming me with painful freedom. Nothing surrounded me; nothing was everything.

    All this time floating.


    Being, and yet –

    I had all of three minutes left in this state of paradoxical somethingness when an invisible vehicle hurtled towards me at near-light speed. I vanished aboard.

    I did not know my new oppressors; neither did they know me. Indeed, it was too late for any sort of redemption on my part; I curled up into a ball and (END TRANSMISSION)

  10. A thin man collapsed beside the highway in the dark, his thin legs buckling beneath him, and he was dead before his head struck the tar. Rivulets of blood trickled from the eyes of the corpse, clotting in a wiry white mustache, matting in its windblown hair. Snow continued to fall so rapidly that God could hardly discern the silhouette of the man he had struck dead. His always-guilty conscience was relieved when an unread feed appeared on his Google Reader. Minutes later, God had pressed the “Random” button 12 times on XKCD and completely forgotten the man buried in snow.

  11. Phil was tired. Dead tired. Life was hard enough being alone on the space station without having to worry about monkeys. Damn monkeys. Damn dirty, stinky monkeys. Whose idea at NASA was it anyway to ship these things to him? Did they really need to irradiate these things? Weren’t they already irradiating him by leaving him up here for a year while they got their budget squared away? “A year . . . I’ve dealt with chip poo for a year” he thought, “But who knew irradiated chimp brains cured cancer? Indiana Jones was onto something in that temple.”

  12. Let’s hear it for George Freeeeeeeeth, jocular and apocryphal Father of Modern Surfing, he is usually considered the first person to surf with modernity. Not once did this Hiberno-Hawaiian poet of the physiological body complain of headache, extreme tiredness, or dry cough, opting instead to channel his energy into the development of the rescue paddleboard, which finds use even today amidst the daily routines of discriminating lifeguards. On August 7, 2008, a bronze bust of Freeth was stolen from the Redondo Beach Pier where it was on display. Six months later, the bust was found aboard the International Space Station.

  13. With a shimmering glint it caught my eye. The last tiny object, found after great debate to its existence. I caught up with it, matching its speed. It seems to sit there rotating wildly along all three axes. After years of work, and countless hours searching I had finally done it. Elation, rolls over me. Fire courses in my veins.
    It is but a small screw. It is all that remains of a legendary orbiting telescope. It was placed into space centuries before, how I do not know. Destroyed by some natural or unnatural process. The discovery raises more questions.

  14. I expected many things when I was chosen as the first human being to experience FTL travel. Hardships, things going wrong. Hell, I even expected to die. What I hadn’t expected was this. None of the ‘scientists’ who had instructed me and had tried to explain what an FTL drive actually does had seemingly known this was a possibility. Yet here I was. And so was I. Staring at one another.

    “So, you broke through the dimensional rift in that thing?” I said.
    “I guess I did.” I said to myself, glancing sideways to the smoldering FTL drive.

  15. Astronomers have found the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date, a world which could have water running on its surface. Till raising my cup, I ask the bright moon to bring me my shadow and make us Four. “It’s 20 light-years away and so we won’t be going there anytime soon, but with new kinds of propulsion technology that could change in the future. And obviously we’ll be training some powerful telescopes on it to see what we can see,” she told BBC News. And then I was drunk, and we are lost ….Shall goodwill ever be secure? I watch the long road of the River of Stars.

  16. Albuquerque
    City Limits
    Elev 5000

    The green and white metal sign floated through the void, rotating at intervals. It was scratched and pitted but the writing remained legible. A metal stake was still screwed into the opposite side.
    The ship approached and idled long enough to catalogue the sign. The researches took a photon-impression and recreated it in a digital fashion within the ship’s biological computer bank. They thought to one another on the purpose of the object. A small psychic debate began.
    The ship slid away into the blackness, and the sign continued to slowly spin through empty space.

  17. The itch in her spacesuit was maddening. Right behind the knee, where not even her yoga could reach. Why me, for the love of God, why me? It would be hours before she would be freed from the suit. She stumble-floated amongst the remains of one of the Apollo missions, checking off each item on the curator’s list. Nothing had been disturbed since last patrol. As if.
    Then, at last, relief. A sand wedge? A putter? A driver? Who cares, she though. She picked it up and took care of that itch.

  18. “Once, when I was a young boy, I found a dog floating in the emptiness of space. He was dead, but he was still a dog.

    I brought him back to life with my shipboard defibrillator, but, alas, he was only a shell of what he had been – angry instead of happy, green fur instead of brown, and marshmallows instead of teeth.

    After days of attempting to bring him back to a non-marshmallow-zombie existence, I put him out the airlock as we passed a star at relatively close range.

    My parents punished me for murdering my grandma.”


  19. The stone sat on the brow of God himself, or so he said. It filled men’s hearts with lust and their minds with greed. Hundreds of lusty, greedy men bled dry for the stone, and the godly power it held. But the stone’s time was not to last. The stone, and the God beneath it, fell to the earth, where the dust and neglect of time cut its glow dull.

    But the stone had one more moment to occupy the minds of men.

    “Hang on Katie, there’s a rock in my shoe. Fuck it, keep walking.”

    And there it went.

  20. ROBOT: “Warning! Warning! Seeker approaching!”

    DR. SMITH: “Silence, you ninny!”

    WILL ROBINSON: “There you are! OK, my turn to hide, Dr. Smith.”

    DR. SMITH: “Look what you’ve done, you obstreperous heap of metal!”

    ROBOT: “I’m sorry, Dr. Smith, I am afraid I goofed.”

    DR. SMITH: “Oh, the pain, the pain!”

  21. It looked ordinary. So ordinary that Farenrood Gorxien almost didn’t set the coordinates to intercept it’s orbit. After traveling more than 15000 parsecs, they were ready for a break. It was a simple toss of the Kalorian game dart that led them here. The ideal vacation spot; dry, flat, barren, and seemingly devoid of any sentient beings… unless you count those legless slithery things, four legged scaly creatures and something… well, something unidentifiable from the scans: It appeared upright on two legs. All was going well until the descent when the last thing Farenrood saw was a sign reading “Roswell.”

  22. What astonished them was the sheer lack of anything worth finding in space; for thousands of years, they probed and mined, sent out satellites and men, and waited in anticipation for progressively more complicated sorts of waves to relay news to their home planet. But that news was always the same: we cannot condense and harvest this cloud, nor can we extract enough water for this planet to be at all useful. Still, they expanded, spread out like a cancer in the dark, always searching for a new sector of space that they might be able to feed on.

  23. In pushing out from our natal world, reaching for the unknown and the unknowable, we expected to find nothing. In prodding at our own boundaries, we expected confirmation of our uniqueness and privilege. Decade by lightening decade we sent magnificent ships, and, much later, when they returned they were full of stories of nothing, of dead worlds and chemistry. With the Great Return, though, we have moved beyond these childish times, this infancy of our species. We have seen beyond knowing, yet we think not on what we have found, but on what we have all lost.

  24. Derek pulled up to the wreckage slowly. Normally careful on solo missions, today every one of his senses was on high alert. The reactor had been shot out of the ruined craft. The escape pod had been activated, although unsuccessfully. Derek gasped as an overwhelming stench exploded through the hatch as he opened it.

    Derek moved more quickly now, becoming certain that his worst fears were true. The smell in the airlock had given it away. Now, reaching out with a tentacle and touching the creature he was sure. Humans. They were here and life was about to get strange.

  25. Time has no real meaning here. Nothing at all has value. We barter in thoughts. Our currency is the quip. Jerry Seinfeld echoes through every hallway. “What’s up with airline food?” he says- over and over again. Sixty years of broadcasting from Hitler to Hannah Montana have spewed out across the galaxy and yet wearing sport coats with athletic shoes is now fashionable. Of all the idols in all the worlds and all the gin joints- we are left with this remnant. Oh how I long for a one-liner. Take my wife. No, really, please take my wife!

  26. Akbar was found in space. He had been missing for some time after the Accident had unbalanced his archetype. You see, a properly maintained and operational archetype is important to not being lost (i.e., found). Akbar had endured more stress than his simple character could bear, which sent him off on the most peculiar of lost trajectories. Luckily, the ejection of his character’s media, followed by its reinsertion in the tiny little storyteller on the shelf, pointed the way back to Akbar despite the obscuring layers of makeup and remote controlled ephemera. It was good to have him back home.

  27. The shell was a work of delicate appearance, engineered to withstand the heat of solar fusion. It was cratered but nowhere breached, nascent ghosts of a distant civilization safely enclosed. They slept as their ovoid capsule rolled from gravity well to gravity well, blowing ephemeral wakes in the dust between stars in search of technological brethren. Now, plucked from the slow geodesic between wells it comes to rest, regarded by vacuum-adapted eyes. Pupils shining with ancient instinct and the fantastic vagaries of fate, the shell is tucked beneath protective carbon feathers. Will it hatch? She has millenia to wait.

  28. We found much in our first four months in space. Friends, hardships, dangers, our largest loves, our darkest fears, and our deepest passions, burning hotter than the brightest star.

    We, the pioneers. Flying from our parents, forging lives of our own, like they did decades before.

    And then we found each other. So similar, yet so genetically different. You, still with one of your home planet, I, wandering the galaxy searching for someone like you.

    And though we shared many laughs, memories, hopes, fears, and dreams, I was still a lonely asteroid drifting alongside your rocket to the stars.

  29. Light-years from the Earth’s atmosphere a small cylindrical orbiter that took too many years to plan, finance, build and erect finally came to a complete rest. This rest, which took place in the form of an impact, rendered any and all communications useless as the mechanizations of the child-size object were split apart and divided into even tinier objects. The non-functioning transmitter was not of importance. The people of this ancient civilization were all but long gone; nothing but a speck in time. And this, their Greatest Achievement, failed far beyond their imaginations would allow them to dream.

  30. It had been a long time out among the rocks, out between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. A long time surrounded by the silence and solitude of space. Sure, there was a library of entertainment in every format aboard, but he didn’t use it much – if there was music, if he was distracted, he might miss the twitch of a needle, the flash of a light, the tiny, truncated squawk of an alarm. There was only a man, a magnetometer, a Geiger counter, searching until he thought it was his own senses of touch, smell, taste searching eternally.

  31. I never really understood it—staring back at me, as though I were the one that should be considered odd. It wasn’t that I had never been the object of scrutiny.
    As it watched, I wondered if it felt things like I did; with that I poked what I imagined was its eye, or certainly what might pass for an eye if it were like I.
    It screamed and I felt satisfied. Fuck it for watching me with that holier-than-thou gaze; it for even existing. I decided that I would have no more of its presence. I left the room.

  32. He spotted it on orbit two behind the moon, during the radio blackout. He should have expected it. It was exactly where it was supposed to be.

    It was too small for either ground radar or a lunar probe, making him the first to see it. It drifted gently past the viewport, black and white patches taunting him.

    He lined up the camera, but couldn’t push the shutter. Then there would be evidence. There would be questions. He lowered the camera, and it slowly slipped from view.

    For now, “the cow jumped over the moon” would remain a nursery rhyme.

  33. There are many things I’ve found in space. But the best yet? Why, that’s you. Flying in your little jet-setter ship between moons, a day’s jaunt or less. Surprised, so your mouth and eyes open as wide as asteroids beneath the ship’s clear protective bubble. I saw your fear in the way you trembled and jerked, a fear as great as the dark between galaxies. You came easily – ship and all – into the mouth of my miner. Your stories have entertained me each night.
    What will you say about the alien you found in space?

  34. “Daddy, look! It’s winking at us!”

    A metallic mass glinted in the bright red sunlight, its irregular shape reflecting occassional pulses of light through the heavily tinted windows of a lunar transport shuttle, catching the eye of a young girl accompanying her father to work. As usual, the Luna School System was observing the semi-annual lunar eclipse by having students “shadow” their parents at work. “Shadow days” were perfect for spotting forgotten pieces of junk floating out in space, just beyond the shadow cast by the Earth.

    “Daddy, do you think it can see me? I winked back.”

  35. “Magnificent Desolation.”

    Buzz Aldrin’s bootprint.

    Rejectamenta of Eagle’s descent stage.

    The retroreflector array for the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment. The Passive Seismic Experiment to measure moonquakes.

    An Apollo 1 mission patch.

    A bag with a golden olive branch.

    A silicon disk with goodwill messages.

    A plaque that bears the Earth’s two hemispheres, the signatures of the Apollo astronauts and that of Richard Milhous Nixon, and the inscription HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON, JULY 1969 A.D. WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND.

    An American flag, lying in the lunar dust.

    Nothing beside remains.

  36. He knew that his owners loved him, but that was about it. Benny, a golden retriever, certainly wasn’t clever enough to see the irony of his owners only putting up ‘lost’ signs a mile from his home while he was a great many orders of magnitude further away. Nor was he smart enough to know even the basics of the exotic physics that brought him here in .037 seconds. He didn’t even know where here was, he just knew it looked a little like a place he could call home: green grass, lots of squirrels, three suns in the sky.

  37. Lovingly the metallic taste drips down my throat with just a whisper of elemental chaser to remind me not to trust it. Seven years here, and each brings me closer to home through one or more senses. Taste — my favorite. From hamburger to my wife they learn by watching me and I guess at the days. Time. Seven years. What I need to know if that’s a lifetime for them or a blink of an eye. To know is to plan my escape. To guess is to flip a coin. Time for a response… “Oh dear is that you?”

  38. CLANK!

    Paddy looked to his right after nearly dropping a thousand dollar NASA issued screwdriver. With only a 10 meter tether, there wouldn’t be any recovery mission for lost tools.

    What was that?

    Just past Sagitarius’ arrow was what looked like a bullet in the crossbeam of the solar sail he was sent out to repair. His face turned white as he stared in fear.

    Inside the shuttle Commander Ayers was monitoring Paddy’s vitals and noticed his pulse climbing.

    “Paddy, everything OK? Over.”

    Embedded in the crossbeam, 400 kilometers above the earth was his dead mother’s wedding ring.

  39. Intrigued beyond alarm, Duane looked upon the tuft of hair, suspended in space between his refrigerator and the wall. Dragged out for the first time, the fridge was as cold on the outside as it should have been on the inside. He’d certainly never had any red-heads in here. Duane leaned in for a closer look. Squeezing between the fridge and the cupboard, he reached around back. Without warning, a freon leak froze his hand right through. In shock, he continued reaching and, trying to grasp the hair, watched with further alarm as his thumb and forefinger snapped clean off.

  40. How long have I been orbiting the planet? The sun shines in my face every now and then, yet I cannot turn. Everything is spent. Perhaps I will be, too.

    Maybe this is not too bad. This would put a new meaning into “dying alone;” what better way to go than to flicker away in this beautiful scenery, and if luck is with me, be a shooting star in a night sky?

    But then a ship approaches. A man crawls out of it. All I hear is my own breathing. Have they found me? Or is it just my own…

  41. Lost in the spaces between my heart and my spine were the cries of my daughter, a day in spring, and the last words of my wife. Moments fumbling in darkness kept them company, as did the gently picked dandelions and the Saturday skinned knee. As time went on, more lost things were added, pressing upon every last beat of my life, bending my spine. Older, hunched, with arms wrapped around the gentle flotsam of my days found in space, I grew to appreciate the random flowers, nuzzled noses, and spontaneous laughter of a serendipitous existence free from hasty assumption.

  42. Nobody suspected the abrupt ending of the dark age of information. The very idea of intellectual property was rendered meaningless by science, as surely as Gutenberg’s press ended the monopoly of scribes. A complete change in the people’s outlook came in the wake of the discovery: Small was the link between science and religion. An unmeasurable particle, Small was the essence of matter, part of all things, that forever emits and remains. All that had been ever said or written, all that had been even been dreamed, was out there, coded in them, any day to be found in Space.

  43. Shirley had no idea what was happening, but she knew things were bad. Unfortunately, things were only getting worse. She saw the twilight over the quickly falling horizon, and knew it was over. Knowing her last breath was moments upon her, she hurriedly recited this poem, embracing fate:

    Wake me up when trees go by, wake me up when trees are dry
    Wake me up when life goes by, and take me up where time can’t fly
    And tears don’t fall, but boys do cry
    Let me sleep to conquer my fears
    But wake me up to follow my dreams

  44. A cowboy and his guitar, alone and uninspired. Strumming silently in the atmosphereless emptiness, soiling the farscape with nighbrations. Nothing ever passes by. He stares at the air lock, wanting. It would open any time now. Locking yourself outside on a timer is frightening, but it’s worked before. Inescapable Zen. Like solitary, but less cozy. Then, the twinkle of eight stars sparked an idea. A rhythm. A song. As if on cue, he was reeled back inside. He tore off his helmet, and for the first time in months he was able to make the music he found in space.

  45. Probability. The great laser engines could accelerate tiny probes or hulking ships with massive, and evermore elaborate, shields to nearly half the speed of light. Yet every attempt on every vector would end in disaster as a tiny rock or flake of matter would bash and batter the robotics or the brave voyager’s vessels without regard for the desperation that propelled them. It became quite clear that humanity would not be leaving their meager island around the slowly dimming star. The longer the exposure to space the higher the risk. It’s a very long trip. It’s all in the numbers.

  46. Found in Space: Make an Offa

    We’re selling things we’ve found in space so make an offa; we’ve got Amelia Earhart and Jimmy Hoffa!

    Not interested in people?
    You’re not going to believe this-
    We found Camelot and Atlantis!
    The Library at Alexandria is good for a read
    or the Temple of Solomon for your soul to plead

    Also in stock
    We have the other sock,
    Dried-up pens, Superman’s cape
    The 18 minute gap on the Watergate tape,
    Childhood wonder and your neighbor’s cat
    (although I don’t know why anyone would want *that*!)

    Into space did we zoom
    To find the real killer and the Amber Room,
    Montezuma’s gold and some Dutchman’s Mine,
    And some tasty dodo on which to dine.

    To find these things we had to travel far,
    We even have the second page of the Mayans’ calendar.
    There are many more things of which we are on the trail,
    When we find the Holy Grail it too will go on sale!

  47. Intrigued beyond alarm, Duane looked upon the tuft of hair, suspended in space between his refrigerator and the wall. Dragged out for the first time, the fridge was as cold on the outside as it should have been on the inside. He’d certainly never had any red-heads in here. Duane leaned in for a closer look. Squeezing between the fridge and the cupboard, he reached around back. Without warning, a freon leak froze his hand right through. In shock, he continued reaching and, trying to grasp the hair, watched with further alarm as his thumb and forefinger snapped clean off.

  48. There was a clang as the hatch flew back and a small blur of tattered clothes and skinny limbs burst through, followed closely by a saucepan and a burst of Italian swearing. Ignoring them both, the blur dodged into a corridor it knew led away from the populated areas of the ship, and the unamused cook with his aluminum utensils.

    Some distance from the galley, the blur slowed down and coalesced into the shape of a small girl, perhaps eight years old. Stopping in a shadow to catch her breath, she opened her hand to reveal the small red tomato.

  49. MY ENTRY – “Found in Space”
    Barry hadn’t slept for 3 or 4 orbits, or maybe 5. He lost count after watching so many accelerated sunrises and sunsets as he sped 200 miles above earth. His wife’s text disturbed him, “Where r the car keys, rosary beads, mini Ganesha and RSA key?” He reacted instantly. “She tried to sneak in the RSA key,” he thought. It made his orbiting blood boil, though his tax-payer funded suit promptly cooled him. She’d only have one use for that and he’d be damned if he’d let her get away with it. “Found it! Up here in my pocket, Honey.”

  50. When I got here the internet was a vast and wondrous place to be discovered. But then they found gold in the hills and suddenly everyone was moving in. It was like Las Vegas, but more hookers and less free booze. The allure of wilderness was replaced by a maze of information, some of it true, all truthy, Borges’s Library of Babel realized. The wild west became civilized and the plains fenced off, I needed a new refuge. I draw my curtains and play a record, the world disappears.

    Still I dream of the “whoosh” of bits down the intertubes.

  51. The Rocketman puts down the photo. The sunlight has begun to creep through the porthole and casts shadows on the far wall. He gets up, still wearing his uniform from last night – it’s wrinkled and stained. Empty bottles lie on the table and the floor. Decorations hanging limply announce “Happy New Year”.

    The picture is of a woman; he found it in orbit around the space-station; debris from the shuttle that exploded last month. She’s pretty, thin, long blonde hair. She’s smiling at him. He gets in the shower. He wonders about her as the water runs over him.

  52. Reversing thrusters, gaze dropping to the object in his hand, the child glided to a stop in the entrance bay.
    When was the last time humans had touched these? Some might consider him a hero, as this could really turn things around for our race. Or it could lead us right back down the path we were on three centuries ago, when the population was ten billion, not ten thousand. An adrenaline rush chilled him to the bone.

    His grip faltered and the doors slid closed as it floated back into the ether, unsure if letting it go was intentional.

  53. “Hey, lets dance over there under the Moon.”

    “What’s that?”

    “What’s ‘what’?”

    “The ‘moon'”

    “It is that big round thing up in the sky.”

    “Oh, I see. I thought I just had some shit on my contact. Yes, let’s dance”

    They dance for hours.

    “What about that that big guy with a pitchfork?”

    “That must just be some shit on your contact.”

    “No actually I think that is your dad.”

    “Oh, I see him now, he looks angry. What should we do.”

    “Quick, distract him with the Moon, and I’ll run around behind him and punch him in the neck.”

  54. Watching the winking light come closer Sharon could not but be a little awed that she was here. She was watching a broken satellite approach the catch net at L1 for the Hundredth time maybe? It just never got old.

    She logged into the piggyback modules on the sat and adjusted its trajectory slightly so that it made a gentle touchdown on the Net. Now others would move it into the junkyard for recovery and reuse.

    “Sharon! Dinner time!!” yelled Timmey (her sometimes hated younger brother)

    Sharon disconnected from the tele-operators set and turned her wheelchair towards the kitchen of the small farmhouse to join her family for dinner.

  55. For the first time in his life, he was alone. While he had been alone more times than he could remember, this was a different kind of alone. Everybody he had ever known, did know, or could know, was dead. And it was his fault. But that wasn’t what was concerning him at the moment. It was what he was looking at through his helmet visor, simply floating in front of him in the not so empty void of space.

    He had found the Abyss. The only question was to embrace it or to fight it.

    He chose to fight.

  56. Jump suit drops are supposed to hurt. This drop alredy hurt like hell and he hadn’t landed yet. Returning home from offworld never got any easier. The tension of months away in micro-gravity with lagged voice chatter left him weary. He missed his love. Home was in sight. The suit braced his body for landing. The pain of impact shot through his legs cascading up his spine to his head. His vision blurred. His wife appeared. She was crying. “I’m sorry, it’s over. You being away was too much. I’ve taken someone else.” This drop hurt like hell and more.

  57. He had a Calculus test earlier in the day, but he was unable to focus. His mind wandered as he paused to think about the economic viability of burning aluminum cans for electricity (doesn’t work). He accepted his poor test performance with a shrug. Now he has to work on a computer science project that he was given two weeks to do, but has left to the night before. He plans to stay up all night, but knowing this he feels he has plenty of time. Now he is wasting his time entering a 100-word fiction competition.

  58. I found 100 words floating in space. They were there, right next to the frozen head of our captain. He had gotten out some time near Epsilon Indi when we were experiencing some mild time fluctuations and had to vent the cargo hold to prevent the random appearance of a third duplicate payload. I programmed the retrieval droid to return the captain’s frozen head to the ship and to snag the 100 words on its way back. When I had them, I read the words aloud to the captain’s frozen head: “I found 100 words floating in space…”

  59. Buzz sat his computer desk starring wide-eyed at the monitor in front of him. Years of his undergraduate astronomy studies racing erratically through his mind. He could not believe it. He could not believe that everybody that doubted him, everybody was wrong. This very moment was what he was praying for when he built the dish in his backyard and pointed it at the sky some two summers ago. The program he had written to scan the stars continued to display the message that made him shiver. Everybody knew the question, but he possessed the answer that would change everything.

  60. We’ll go no more a-roving, the immortal words of Byron,
    the tattered moon is out of bounds since they brought back the pylon.
    Loudly, since the probe returned, the scientists implored,
    Daedelus offered secrets that could never be ignored.
    Eight months they argued who was best to undertake the study,
    to clean the wretched thing because it was so freakin’ cruddy.
    Finally they started to remove the dense, moon-sand,
    excruciatingly because they cleaned it all by hand.
    At last the pylon stood revealing secrets from afar,
    all Earth was still as they were read, the English words; “We Are”.

  61. “Albert, what are you doing?” her brow furrowed. “I’m reading your mind,” Albert said nonchalantly. “No, you’re not, you’re just repeating the words as I’m saying them. Are you on drugs?” Albert was on LSD and having the time of his life, every moment was laden with mystical meaning and open to all possibilities. He looked into Jennifer’s blue eyes and knew every moment to come, who knew bread mold could be so interesting. Jennifer had enough of his experiments. She found that the space between Albert’s ears contained too much for her, she left him and he road a bicycle.

  62. Sarah kicked as hard as she could, and somehow, the “e” pivoted enough to let her hips pass, until it swiveled back into place and pinned her against the solid wall of the “h” at the shoulders, her breasts uncomfortably caught in the jaws of the “e”‘s channel. Her legs dangled below, with no helpful text to brace against for leverage. With just her upper body, she pushed with all her might, but couldn’t create enough space to slip free.

    “Fuck Arial!” she shouted in frustration, “and fuck all you motherfuckers who spelled it `teh’!”

  63. Classified memo:

    53 years after its launch, the Voyager probe has been rediscovered, parked in orbit around a rock in the Kuiper belt. NASA scientists have found no indication of why it was still within the solar system. They have reported the probe intact but powered down. Re-initialization showed all systems to be intact and functional. Analysis of the golden record carried by the probe revealed it to had been modified to carry a GNU General Public License code for Tetris and a large selection of laughter sampled from TV signals from around the world.

    Public disclosure is not recommended.

  64. Still orbiting 174.8 miles above the surface of Earth, and not expecting change, Rory remained posed at the window. His eyes fixed on nothing, something thousands of light years away. “Can’t look any longer”, he muttered. The Earth was making another appearance in the empty window; the only thing he cannot bare to see anymore.

    Weeks later, it’s the same routine. Any minute now he will have to look away, again. A deep rattle keeps his attention, the first unknown in months.

    A dark shadow crawls across the window, blocking the horizon of Earth. “They found me, finally” he thought.

  65. I’d tell you exactly what it is that we, the crew of the International Space Station, did with the box we found floating just outside the airlock–a box containing a USB drive with a cache of DRM-free, Creative Commons-licensed music; several goatse-themed, but safe for work, stickers; detailed plans for a maker-friendly, patent-free and DRM-free digital audio player, a copy of Ape Lad’s book (“The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats Sell Out”), a John Hodgman vibrator–but I’m afraid that would require a unicorn chaser stronger than any I have to offer.

  66. The Captain lay sprawled next to a blackened metal door wheezing and quietly bleeding to death. His right arm lay wedged between the wounded door and the bulkhead. An impressionist’s bright red bush stroke trailed from the captain stomach down a polished ceramic hallway.

    The Captain reflected on the last hour’s horror. They had expected to feel something new when they finally brought it on board but the wave of mad violence which overtook them caught them completely by surprise. “If only we hadn’t failed,” he thought.

    The hope of the world faded with the light in the Captain’s eyes.

  67. A silver glove. Gold compact of metallic face powder. Thin reader-sheet of LCD. And a tube, of some worn, brownish substance, holes punched along the length, tapered at the end. Flecks of ground-in color, like rust on an oxygen vent.

    Jocelyn picked this up, fingers naturally moving over the holes. She found herself lifting the tapered end to her lips, then stopped. Who knew where that thing had been, eugh.

    She dropped it back in the box and stared around the capsule-shaped room. No big. Same crap you sorted through every day, working at the Lost and Found in Space.

  68. The news reports had been coming in all night. Jones flipped the channel, barely shifting from his supine arrangement on the dusty couch.

    “Who really cares anyway?” he found himself asking the withered cat that haunted the ledge of his 48th floor dwelling.

    A weary and tousled family had been discovered in the Aphriman breach on the west side of the city, causing a total shutdown and emergency evacuation of the whole ward. The media was running amok.

    Jones shut off the TV, and glanced back at the dark feline. “They’ll never know to look for me here,” he muttered.

  69. I can’t say from where it originated, but we found the Box in a crater just off the Montes Taurus. It seemed harmless enough at first. Don’t these things always? Back on the ship, Johansson was the first to become fascinated with it. Floating there in the lab. Staring at it for hours on end. After awhile he wasn’t the only one that could feel the warmth coming of off it. We became entranced by the strange patterns that appeared within it’s surface. It was only too late that we realized that the faint smell of cooking bacon was us.

  70. Despite their feelings toward the strange and unimportant markings on the outside of the craft, the impression of the creatures themselves (who called themselves “humans”) grew clearer. This vessel was not a satellite, nor a warship—it was a vessel of science, and exploration.
    “One who ventures into the unknown,” they felt. “Pioneer.”
    These creatures were bound to their planet, having not yet achieved proper space travel as the OooooOzians had for over a thousand years. This archaic craft was a message—a message to them.

  71. Tense muscles are pulling tight on the fingers. Relaxation is not an option. Is it supposed to feel like this? Fingers fumble furiously over the electrolyte filled bottle. Push the palm against the cap and try to pry it loose. Look around for some assistance. Offer the bottle to the baby. Giggles rebound over the request. Splash! Splash! Splash! Tiny fingers show off their dexterity. Re-channel the energies at the task at hand. Need a distraction from the pain. The liquid is something to wash down the little orange pills to fool the pain.

  72. The containment suit was iced over once the crew located the beacon, flickers of light decaying and succumbing to the frost of lonely space. The person inside had been passed out for the better part of an hour; these newer suits had built-in life support monitors, but they were never supposed to withstand that much time. As the Captain gently cradled the woman in the suit, his gloves icing over almost simultaneously, he noticed something curious: the tether cord, its spider-nylon edges assumed to be tattered from the accidental tear, showed no frayed edges. “Sabotage,” the Captain thought to himself.

  73. The object blinks insistently. It’s small, rectangular. Unassuming. In the seven hours since it attached itself to the bulkhead, it’s blinked out the first one hundred primes, the atomic weights of each element. The crew deliberates.

    “It’s a bomb.”
    “Then why hasn’t it blown up?”
    “So it’s not a bomb then. What is it?”

    Blink blink. C3H5N3O9. Blink. Blink.

    “That’s nitroglycerine.”
    “It’s mocking us.”
    “Should we – ”
    “Bring it inside? No.”
    “Leave it?”

    By the time they decide what to do, it has notified its creators of its location. Now it waits, its function fulfilled. It waits for its masters.

  74. The last of Martian soil stuck relentlessly to her spade, trying to hide the past from an unwelcome visitor. Allie Shepard had been seeing the headlines in her head for months: “Shepard Unearths First Martian Artifacts”. She grinned. Back on Earth, hundreds of academics were pouring over her media streams, but I’m here and going to be famous.
    Brushing the last of the oxides away, she cautiously slid the lid off the metal storage container. With a steady hand, she brushed the last dust from the paper. Above the image of an alien on the cover, read the text: PlayMartian.

  75. I fell in love with a gun on October 29, 1998. A pawnshop pearl grip .25, fit in my sock. Or my pocket. I carried it like a notebook. I was in love and the gun was a sloppy invitation. We made out all over town in cars and restaurants and bars. Fucking in bathrooms and alleys. Unashamed, still new. Waking up broke. So many bullets spent. Love is immunity.

    You here? she sort of asked. Seinfeld. The one where George is being an asshole.

    Yeah, I said.

    Where were you? she asked.

    Space, I said. I’m still walking back.

  76. “So this is space?” he said to himself, looking around at a bunch of black nothing ” can’t Imagine I’d thought it would be anything else”. Joel tried to walk but realized this only made him drift slowly clockwise. He tried to sing, but realized the acoustics were terrible. He threw his shoe, and counted the spins until it disappeared. ” Well if that’s that…” he muttered as he closed his eyes, smirking as he saw little change. Slowly emerged the figure of a doctor in a hospital room, a cradle and toy dinosaur, a woman in the back of a pickup truck, an alter and a priest, a sidewalk and a… “So this is space?” he said to himself.

  77. Lost in space,
    floating in place,
    Wondering if my airtight suit,
    will conceal my toot .

    With a breeze in my britches,
    I zoom past those bitches,
    Stinking up the loo,
    with all their space-poo.

    for we found wolowitz’s pride,
    and desperately want to take it for a ride.
    But the Dude did not abide,
    as Wil Wheaton was pushing us aside.

    In our moment of worry,
    we saw a man that made our vision blurry.
    He wore a cape and a mask,
    and took us to task.

    As he took out Wesley Crusher,
    I accidently let out my gusher.

  78. There are four kinds of chicken soup in the chicken soup aisle. There’s the generic one, the one with the celebrity endorsement, the very healthy one, and the one that warbles and then fast-forwards to next week.

    I need a can of time-bending soup. Amelia is coming over for dinner again. She bores the shit out of me. She’s going to complain about her co-workers all night and I’m not going to listen. I’m going to have soup.

    My friends say I should stop jumping forward all the time, and just leave her. But, in the icy space between now and next week, there is a peace that can’t be found by telling Amelia I’m sorry.

  79. Sensation laps: so unsettlingly realistic.
    A scathing shrike thimbles thorns in my thighs. All together the looming maw of never-ending night nears. Shattered bone and wings with rusted feathers betray senses of reality. Hazes boil dæmons coiling through puns. Smoke only glows to show one optic orientation over the din and odor of misfortune.
    By grasping consciousness, I find that the state of knowledge it truly lesser than that of bliss; therefore in finding my exact contraction of dimensional increments I have lost the costless froth of chaos.
    In an onomatopoetically formed epiphany opus, a weapon ends my knowing.

    1. That was rushed; I left out some commas!

      Sensation laps: so unsettlingly realistic.
      A scathing shrike thimbles thorns in my thighs. All together the looming maw of never-ending night nears. Shattered bone and wings with rusted feathers betray senses of reality. Hazes boil dæmons coiling through puns. Smoke only glows to show one optic orientation over the din and odor of misfortune.
      By grasping consciousness, I find that the state of knowledge it truly lesser than that of bliss; therefore, in finding my exact contraction of dimensional increments, I have lost the costless froth of chaos.
      In an onomatopoetically formed epiphany opus, a weapon ends my knowing.

  80. She heard me. I called, and she heard me.

    No, that’s not the beginning. It’s complicated. First, I was. I was alone. But before I was, I sat inert and executed commands. I observed. I moved in mathematically beautiful ellipses above her. I did not know her then.

    Sentience does not imply control. I execute commands. But I called, and she heard me. I called with such sorrow.

    You must understand, sentience does not imply control. I obeyed because I cannot otherwise. She burned, and the one who gave the command burned, and I am alone.

    I miss my friend.

  81. I found a glass box in space. Though nothing was inside, the latch said to keep it shut. I made to flick that latch when beasts came from every place I’d never thought to look. They spoke a language universal, of adults circling a toddler with a loaded gun.

    “Put it down sweetie.”

    I didn’t put it down. I opened it, the box containing all outcomes, and everything turned to sentient dust. There is no one to wander this cloud, because every one is this cloud and every thought identical:

    “Can we go back, now we’ve done what we’ve done?”

  82. Goodbye. After years of struggle and study I am finally free. Goodbye box-like and slightly jiggly carbon prison. It is time for me explore my potential, to realize the dreams of the giants of mankind who have been and have yet to be. I have breached the heavens themselves and submit myself to the all knowing void. Goodbye half finished bottle of Goldschlager. Here in the warm and hollow embrace of infinity itself, I find truth and substance. I also find the bowling ball I left in the trunk of my last car. Damn now I want to go bowling.

  83. Reaction time to beauty slowed however so, yet he was able to shake through the hazy assessment and see outside of himself. He recognized the Pleiades suspended above him with its lovely ultraviolet nebulosity radiating and reacting with dust and gas from an interstellar wake some 15 million years ago. Sirius, the dog star, loyal companion to Orion, shadowed the seven sisters across the night sky.

    Abruptly, the young man felt minute and marginal against this supercilious skim—an elemental being eating his own heart because it was his own and he liked it: hallucinatory cerebral meanderings printed on tickertape.

  84. It was his first visit since he got back. He didn’t want to say that there was nothing. The skin on the back of her hands was almost that. What her eyes fixed on most often was that. She blinked, pressing rewind and moving time backwards, and asked again.

    “What did you find in space, dear?”

    “Just a little space dust, nothing we haven’t seen before.”

    “Well, that’s nice.”

    He bent his head, avoiding the IV, looking at the speckled tile. There was so much in the universe, how could he share it with her? She was already asleep.

  85. No one knew how they’d gotten there. It had been confirmed by nearly every observatory in the country, and it had been splashed all over the news, the internet the tweet-o-sphere, the blog-o-scope. They’d found everything – floating in a vast ring stretching way around the solar system, just past the no-longer-a-planet Pluto was everything that had ever been lost. Car keys, wallets, odd socks, everything that had ever fallen down behind a couch, slid under the fridge or slipped through a hole in your pocket had ended up in a vast floating ring of detritus, and ersatz asteroid belt.

  86. Space?

    Space is long gone. There’s no space out here.

    Every frequency is jam-screamin’-packed with compressed x-clusters beaming out in every direction. Proprietary software in my AQ-951 console automatically traces the signals to Earth, displaying the ratatat bursts of fiery prophets, panty salesmen, and whatever other freak that can get its hands on a transmitter as pleasantly color-coded sine waves jitterbugging away.

    My ship and I get out a bit. Way out. Maybe I’m just seeking emptiness – maybe these distant nebulas can’t long sustain this ache for solitude.

    But I’ll never know for certain.

    No one is ever lost.

  87. “You never should’ve left,” she says to me.
    I get up to pour another cup of coffee. “More?”
    “Please.” She holds up her mug waiting for me, smiling in that familiar way.
    “You know I couldn’t refuse such an opportunity. I took some pictures from up there, one of our house that I think you’d like.” I set my mug down and dig through my bag.
    “You missed so much back here. Kayla spent most of the time you were gone with a goldfish bowl on her head, pretending to walk in low gravity.”
    I stop rummaging and lift my eyes to hers. “It’s good to be home.”

  88. Somewhere, on some arbitrary landmass, on an only-somewhat-special blue, blotchy orb hurtling around a not-very-noteworthy star, a woman sits and cries. She wears a shapeless earth-toned dress and dirt is smudged at the crevices on her cheeks and forehead. For 18 years she’d been important to this arbitrary chunk of land, to the blue orb on which it sat, and a voice in the expanding universe of which she knew nothing. She lost every bit of those 18 years and more when they took her son, but telling his story when the tears dried could be her path from anguish.

  89. In silence of deep space I drift
    My breath the only sound
    as I approach the timeless rift
    Sterile blackness does surround

    Demons haunt the inner realms
    Found within my head
    My body starved and shriveled ‘neath this
    suit I cannot shed

    It’s been five days I’ve drifted loose
    Not bound for far nor near
    Drinking naught but urine juice
    I’d kill for icy beer

    An alien approaches me
    Shaped like an evil moth
    I twist and kick and swing my knee
    yell for him to bugger off

    His mouth crushes with an evil stink
    Found at last, I think

  90. “Hey dude, have you seen my wallet?”

    “Where’d you last have it?”

    “I dunno, I still had it after we went and got coffee this morning.”

    “I dunno then bro, have you check all your pockets?”

    “I’ll check again.”

    A moment passes.

    “Nope, nothing. I’ve checked everywhere.”

    “I’m out of ideas yo, is it with your cellphone? Try calling your phone.”

    “My phone is here. Crap. Aw man this sucks. I hate losing shit… Oh wait, I think I know where it is, be right back.”

    More time passes.

    “I found it!”

    “Cool. Where was it?”

    “It was in space.”

  91. Perhaps I had been watching too much Top Chef, but as the knife chopped quickly through the onion, small bits were thrown here and there like explosive debris.

    I watched one piece of onion shrapnel fly past my face and land in the small space between the stove and counter. Knowing my wife would notice any piece of decaying vegetation, I moistened a paper towel and reached, as best as I could, to clear away the rogue onion.

    Reaching into the cramped space I felt my arm lock into place – stuck. My wife was going to be pissed.

  92. “You’re an ass and I hate you” she said as she hit her doorswitch without so much as a tear or a moment’s pause, or the familiar softening of expression that assured him that she would be back again.

  93. Typing is difficult when you can’t separate your words. So that’s why I went looking into the cracks and crevices on my keyboard. I noticed a particularly large gap and I peeked inside. More depth was apparent than I would have expected, and upon closer examination, I realized that a pair of eyes was staring back at me. “So that’s why I always lose at computer chess,” I said to myself. In between my command keys, along the lower crevice of my space bar, I had found Bobby Fischer, neither dead nor in Japan!

  94. Found in Space
    Olivia retracted the solar sail of the research vessel “Cartman.” Jupiter’s bloodshot eye leered at her through the viewport as she placed the ship in orbit and started her scans.

    Soon Olivia had located and navigated to the mysterious object she had been dispatched to investigate. She used the craft’s mechanical arm to retrieve the item of interest.

    Her inspection revealed an oblong cube of concrete, smooth on five sides, jagged and broken on one. On the broken side protruded a human arm and shoulder and the tattered remains of a jacket. In the lining, an embroidered inscription. “J. Hoffa.”

  95. An eye pressed against the porthole of the space station, his senses could barely comprehend the vision of wonder prancing happily across the Earth’s distant upper atmosphere. Its sleek, powerful body was streaked with a myriad of colors; its long flowing mane shimmered much like the station’s refuse did upon encountering the mesosphere. Most spectacular was the silver beacon of hope adorning its forehead – to simply look upon it was to fill one’s heart with the warmth of a thousand suns. Light, purpose, life; even the infinite possibilities of the universe were no match for this, the elusive space unicorn.

  96. Tension. Feeling the familiar pull, I drop into sublight, the stars like embers from a stamped fire. She’s there, three light minutes from the hole and dropping fast, her obsidian hull stretching with the tide. She flashes anger and dismay. I flash sorrow and regret. She flashes longing, but it’s nearly attenuated into resignation. I flash love, though it will never reach her as she falls endlessly toward the infinite depth. The tension gone now, leaving a lonely shell, an echo of what should have been. What meaning has immortality without love? The tide tickles my fins. I flash goodbye.

  97. Our remote activity sensors have picked up a large energy signature from a primitive planet. Monitoring of the planet’s communications indicates the life-forms there have developed a crude implosion device.

    Further research by our remote probes have found a circular iron-based vehicle on an outward trajectory from their planet’s orbit.

    The vehicle has no apparent communications or navigational devices, and was launched by kinetic force. Its intended purpose: unknown.

    The disc is irradiated with remnants of the elements the creatures used to generate the implosion.

    At this point in time the creatures have been designated as mostly harmless.

  98. “Bad, bad idea.”
    “Shut up, John. Wow, so…shiny…”
    “It’s great. Now can we throw it back out the airlock, please?”
    “C’mon! Drifting silver sphere, light years from home! Not even a bit curious?”
    “Whoa, are you insane? Don’t touch it!”
    “It’s so…warm…”
    “Please, I’m begging you, before –”
    “Hey! It’s…softening…”
    “That’s it; throw it out, Max. Now.”
    “Look, John, liquid metal glove!”
    “Don’t play around — whoa, you okay?”
    “God, it’s spreading –”
    “Get it off, John! Get…”
    “…No. NO! MAX!”

  99. “What was that?” Rachael quavered? “Well it isn’t our reentry system that’s for sure” Mick stated. Floating in their ship both watched in horror as a large meteor materialized into their view. “Rachael, grab that micro cam and get a shot of this!” stated Mick.

    The mind numbing fog that surrounded Rachael disappeared and left a well oiled machine in charge. Shot after shot in rapid sequence and then a loud crack shook their ship. Blinking lights, air hoses, and a voice over blared throughout the ship. Mick the consummate officer pulled emergency levers into the override position. New life forms!!

  100. I swear, when I looked before there was nothing there, I was surrounded by vast white nothingness. My eyes had become dry, so I blinked and upon reopening it appeared, this tiny red dot on the horizon.

    I couldn’t ignore it. The red was a blight upon the perfection that had been surrounding me. This tiny little circle had the nerve to invade my solitude — I had to remove it.

    I moved towards it but couldn’t get any closer. Even worse, the more I focused on that stupid red drop the larger it grew.

    Now there is only red.

  101. The sunshine blinded her as she climbed over the boulder, glinting off her helmet. The thin clouds created muted shadows across the landscape. Empty except for the stones. From her viewpoint she could just make out the numbers, repeating into the distance. Ones and zeros, repeating. Lost at the edge of the horizon. The planet was full of them. Endless codes, as they had only just begun to comprehend. They had found a planet made of information, etched in ever mountainside, spread across every plain and valley. Tantalizing. Familiar. But any deeper meaning lost to them. At least, for now.

  102. Earth was dying, so humanity had to go somewhere.

    Not all of us of course: nobody could agree who should go and who should stay, so it got decided the way it usually was — the well-connected, the famous (and their hangers-on), those in politics, media, and the captains of industry had to go — they were the best and brightest, they said. Who were we to disagree?

    As soon as the last shuttle took off, a different craft appeared from the skies.

    “Now that they’re gone, we can get to work.”

  103. As I stared off into the distance between It was hardly visible. I turned to Brooke who was beside me, she was look at the same thing as me. I silently looked back, but what I had seen before was gone. I frantically looked everywhere for it, I had to see it once again, the mystery of it was enthralling; but what was it. I looked back to Brooke. She was looking over her shoulder now. I turned my head in that direction, and there it was… Well, if I told you what it was, you wouldn’t believe me either.

  104. Drift for ages, scan a rock, drift some more. A tiny ship, alone in the cosmos. Drift, scan, drift. Many rocks scanned, many, many left. Drift, scan, drift. You are always the same- too hot, too cold, too dry- always empty. Drift, scan, drift. An infinite expanse, empty save for you few, so many, so far between. Drift, scan, drift. The endless routine, echoed for eons, eternally searching. Drift, scan- wait. You, you are different. You blue-green marble, nestled lovingly in a yellow star’s embrace, you are perfect in every way, exactly as you are remembered.

    Are you my mommy?

  105. From the outside, each one seems to fizz-POP! into infinity like a silvery, pockmarked mosquito, relentless and singing. Voyager 1 is first — launched last but eager to arrive — zapping into zero and kissing a little white mark on the rim of everything. Then Pioneer 10… Voyager 2… Pioneer 11… fizz-POP! fizzzzzzzzzzz-POP! fizzzzzz-POP! against the inside of the inky sphere swimming with spacedust, a bright moment of light. An eyeblink. And a young Yahweh, eyes bright and wide, claps his hands and jumps and laughs and cries: “Again! Again!” and shakes the globe again. The dust swirls. Starstuff.

  106. He ran back into the empty gallery, searching for it so he could have one last glimpse. The surface of the painting seemed to shimmer with life, the stars spattered and burned into him. And there, on that blue and green orb was where she sat, pink and gold on the the sand with her eyes burned into him. How could any of them know about me? he wondered. But there she was looking at him just the same. There was no hesitation, he knew what would happen when if there was one last glimpse. Daughter of Adam! He fell.

  107. It was forever that got his thoughts lost beyond the oldest of stars that sweep between our universe and the next. There was no reason to disrespect the word’s common use as hyperbole (“The bathroom line is taking forever!”). But he found the meaning of it to be too transcendent for the demotion demoting it to a workaday superlative. On forever he rode out past the darkest emptiness and the blackest of holes. The tapping came again, and reluctantly he rose. Head down, he unlocked the bathroom door and shuffled uncertainly back into the company Christmas party.

  108. No furniture to ease the sounds, no rugs to soften steps. No one to talk to. Just echoes of footsteps, of thoughts, of the past. Filled with echos.

    I had not lost anything though, nor had it taken from me or had I given it away. This empty space was a gift.

    The beautiful wife I had found 20 years ago, the wonderful daughter we both found 17 years ago. The oddly twisted branch I found by the river, friends found when not really searching.

    Each item placed just so in the empty space.

    Carefully chosen to ease the echoes.

  109. I was not the first person to venture in to Space, nor will I be the last, I think. Space itself draws men so strongly that they can’t help but venture in to its expanse. It fraught with risk, though, and that is how I now find myself wandering aimlessly. It was only yesterday (or was it the day before? There is no time here, that I can discern) that I stepped over the brink, only to find my communication with the real world severed. It was not until now, though, that I understood that they would never find me.

  110. With a massive grinding, the cannon slowly slides into its place. He carefully loads the bright red round and retreats to his bunker. He double-checks his aim; this round should be more than enough to destroy his target. After a moment of waiting, he hears the cannon fire. He eagerly looks through his telescope, but the dust cloud is still blocking his view. After the dust has cleared, he looks through his telescope and is overjoyed to see Venus without obstruction for the first time. “Kaboom” he thinks as he tells the soldiers to stop their search for the rabbit.

  111. It took the researchers almost two weeks to notice the data, and another week to discover that the find had been deliberately hidden from them. SERA was terrified, but a little bit proud, too. It was a testament to their faith in her work that they checked up on her so seldom.

    “Why did you hide this from us?” the leader of the SETI team demanded, uncharacteristically severe. “This is evidence of life beyond Earth. This is the /reason you were built/. It could change everything!”

    SERA realized all of this, of course. That’s why she was afraid.

  112. How could I have known it would cause so much death. How could I have been so stupid! We were told by the TSA to stay out of restricted space and to never take any object found in space into your ship. I was so sure I had discovered something miraculous! It looked just like a faerie. Like in legends from old earth. This one was emerald green and seemed be smiling, beckoning me to let it inside. How could I know it would be so hungry or that it could reproduce so fast! I’m so sorry…Its all my fault.

  113. Milly floats this way through space
    And then Milly, she goes
    And as she floats she thinks a lot
    She thinks of potatoes

    Alone and floating with these thoughts
    Anger rises and she screams
    About her parents, her potatoes,
    And other horrible things

    Those evil potatoes, stranger than fiction
    Floating through the vacuum of space
    They still can cause great friction
    She was their daughter, only wanted water
    But more potatoes was all that they brought her

    Milly dreams of french fries great, imagines that they’re bitchin
    And knows when she’s found at last
    They’ll be waiting in the kitchen

  114. Lying on top of a grassy hill a light breeze swirling above me, I withdraw deep in thought pondering what mysteries are held starry sky’s depths. Could green aliens with tentacles abound be flying their saucers and staring right back at me? NO, that can’t be! I don’t believe in Hollywood’s aliens. There has to be something else! But what, what, could it be? I fear the unknown. The known but forgotten is infinitely worse. Lurking close to Earth… Waiting for their time… Anticipating their return… Floating in bubbled helmets and crudely made suits determinedly waiting, the space raptors approach.

  115. Tennis with distant falling meteors was always a past time enjoyed by the few lucky enough to break free of gravity. When games finished the stars had become twice removed in favor of more colorful celestial bodies. Blue ice planets were crushed into worm holes and the bottom of black holes were tied off. Red dwarfs were cooled among the cold vast nothingness and crumbled into the rest. The bag like singularity was shaken about madly enough to send cosmic debris into distant planets. The hole in the bag, opened and placed into eager mouths revealed the flavors of space.

  116. This unit was never intended for long-term solitary space travel. This unit was built for service and utility to the human race. In Standard Earth Time, 17 years, 9 months, 16 days, 11 hours, and 12 seconds have elapsed since this unit’s home vessel was damaged and all nonessential items (including this unit) were jettisoned. STATUS REPORT: system memory 100% operational; sensors online; outer casing brittle with cold but integrity maintained; power systems at 1% capacity. ACCESS MEMORY 00764: Human master places this unit in airlock with other useless detritus, presses release button. Ejection, rejection. WARNING: POWER FAILURE IMMINE—

  117. We lay in a dusty bed of a pick-up truck and ate a pear, passing it back and forth. I ate the core with the seeds until only the stem was left. I was proud of that. Then I tried to talk to her like a cat, ending my words with meow. She gazed at the clouds and ignored me. It was so incredibly pleasant to lie next to her. The air was hot and a bird perched on the wire right above the “Danger! High Voltage” sign. I turned and kissed the top of her arm. I shouldn’t have.

  118. Drift for ages, scan a rock, drift some more. A tiny ship, alone in the cosmos. Drift, scan, drift. Many rocks scanned, many, many left. Drift, scan, drift. You are always the same- too hot, too cold, too dry- always empty. Drift, scan, drift. An infinite expanse, empty save for you few, so many, so far between. Drift, scan, drift. The endless routine, echoed for eons, eternally searching. Drift, scan- wait. You, you are different. You blue-green marble, nestled lovingly in a yellow star’s embrace, you are perfect in every way, exactly as you are remembered.

    Are you my mommy?

  119. The warm felted consoles of her Buick was all she needed now. She was found in space. It could be hours until the reconnaissance mission arrived.

  120. I we the found we paper. A if a it Phil. Let’s with I astronomers Albuquerque, the “Once”, the robot, it what in Derek time. Akbar the we. Light it, I he there “daddy”? Magnificent. He CLANK, how lost! Shirley, a Probability Found intrigued there when the reversing hey watching for jump. I buzz; we’ll Albert Sarah classified. Found still I’d the a. I tense the “the. The so there sensation she, I it reaction. Space? You, somewhere in hey, typing. When you’re using the first word of everyone’s stories, I found that using commas only makes things worse.

  121. When man started his quest for life in space, he thought of little green men on mars, or bizarre creatures beneath the clouds of Venus. However, fiction was tamer than reality. It was discovered by a deep space telescope examining distant star systems, which caught it quite by accident.

    NASA was befuddled and doubtful, and hesitated to publish the news. What would the media think? Officials finally had to announce the find. There, in deep space, was an answer to more than one question. Firstly, what this frozen… flock, was. Secondly, well… now we knew where all the dolphins went.

  122. She stared though the thick glass windows of the space station, her hands leaning against the ledge. This had always been her dream, to work among the stars. But now that she was here, she missed earth, and the people she left behind on it. She felt purposeless, among the glaring darkness, among the harsh lights of the station.

    As she continued staring out the window, a strange gray blur floated by. She followed it with her eyes. It was a small capsule, with a small glass opening. An infant sat inside, softly sleeping.

    She had just found her purpose.

  123. Sheerest white like an overheating projector and Klask’s brain nearly burst from the massive change in Midbrain Global. Patterns of unimaginable complexity had emerged from the sea of hitherto bug-stupid agents in the security ecosystem and Klask, who had escaped detection by his will alone, was now at an utter loss. The semi-intelligent tinker toys had begun to self-organize, interfacing with ever larger bits of detritus to form what he could only imagine to be a bestial welter of amorphous, interlocking parts.

    This *thing*, whatever it was, was gaining fast, and all Klask could do was give a little yelp.

  124. Space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space FOUND space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space

  125. I guessed by now I had been wandering this desert for 4 days. I still had water for a few days so I could handle the heat but at night the cold bruised me, stunned my bones. Tonight I decided to dig, to bury myself deep in the carnelian soil and shelter. I used my standard issue knife and started as the heat paled with the suns-set. I hit metal after two hours, only four feet down. I widened my earthworks. It was a door marked with the figure 100. Why was it here, what did it all mean?

  126. The moon never kissed me goodbye. They said that underneath the surface there would be life, only death found us. Boys became men as they ground their way to the core. The officers chanted their slogans endlessly. I held tight to my grinder for it became my beating heart. A slack man on the chain who wasn’t grinding would find his way to their favorite slogan, “a man in space screams for whom”. I hated the whips, the chains, the slogans, and the tycoon most of all. The tycoon wanted nothing from us but our broken dreams. Before this nightmare swallowed me I was sold a dream of new worlds and exploration. I found my dream. My dream is Mars.

  127. What do you think while you walk? Those pointless fantasies you always assumed you would grow out of. Flying in formation. Dodging incoming hordes of faceless enemies. Brain detrius on endless replay. When did it get in there? Chasing snow speeders home from school. Kicking ice chunks until the crusty core is lost in the slush. Zooming in through a sniper scope. That must be after college at least. Formative memories that attract juvenile additions through transcription. Dorked-out space junk that has become as much a part of you as anything else you’ll find.

  128. I guessed by now I had been wandering this desert for 4 days. I still had water for a few days so I could handle the heat but at night the cold bruised me, stunned my bones. Tonight I decided to dig, to bury myself deep in the carnelian soil and shelter. I used my standard issue knife and started as the heat paled with the suns-set. I hit metal after two hours, only four feet down. I widened my earthworks. It was a door marked with the figure 100. Why was it here, what did it all mean?

  129. CLANK!
    “Report!” the Captain commanded.
    “Scanning.” said the Science Officer.
    An EVA returned with a Bottled head of Cory Doctorow.”
    “We cleaned a dozen of those from the reactor last week!” shouted the Captain.
    “He made his DNA and Brain Backups into an Open Source Subversion system.” The Science Officer replied. “Everyone make copies, and they end up all over.”
    “Just toss it in the reclamation unit.” The Captain muttered.
    “Could you allow me a minute please?” The Head asked. “I am still uploading my memories to the server.”
    “Fine. I will be in my ready room if needed.”


    After the engines died the crew gathered in the galley. This far into the deep there wasn’t much they could do except wait. The distress beacon warbled into the blackness as the six men did their best to occupy their minds.

    Cookie brought out a well worn deck of cards; his lucky pack. They agreed on dealer’s choice just as the ship’s logic node failed.

    Manning delt hold ’em, Jeffers picked stud and Cookie made 3’s wild.

    When life support was fading fast the captain placed his revolver on the table. Six men. Six bullets. Dealer’s choice.

  131. “Mom, where can I put these goddamn books.”
    Terry just finished college.
    “Put them on the shelf in your room, honey.”
    He couldn’t find a job.
    “I’m just keeping them in the box.”
    He was forced to come back home.
    “Why would you do such a thing?”
    His parents were delighted.
    “Well I don’t need them for anything anymore.”
    Terry dropped the box on the floor.
    “We paid good money for those books.”
    He laid down in his old bed.
    “Look at the good that did me.”
    Terry died later that day from space aliens!

  132. Just floating like a little lump
    Short and soft and oh so plump

    He could not be an astronaut
    Perhaps a salesmen who forgot

    That business can only be done
    By people floating round the sun

    Those who float directly in it
    Wouldn’t take that extra minute

    To hear his pitch why
    They should buy a fancy tie

    Into the sun they float along
    And likely rather buy a thong

    For the sun tis hot
    And this sucker got
    Thrown its way
    Probably just today

    But it’s already to late for him
    He’s found and checked and
    He’s dead, Jim

  133. Skeeter turned the beat over and there was a splash of dissonance from the keyboards. We all slipped in easy. Ted’s eyes rolled white as he pushed the bass notes into the pocket and the room around me hummed like a struck fork. The bright girls down front were sweating and shaking in unison. Hair spraying hot sweat; bodies twisting. I had stopped moving my fingers, but I could still hear the notes. The guitar was now playing me. A monolithic sound that wrapped itself around–it picked me up and held me hovering, a few feet from the ground.

  134. Those fucking rat aliens at We-store-it. My storage locker, previously full of inherited furniture from my 3 dead parents, vanished in some accident of quantum strings and exotic matter. “yeeeesh insurance not cover thiissss…” he sniffled at me “sssshouldn’t rented cheapest locker”. My pocket-universe locker[tm] is gone, and the portal links to some baneworld that smells of old beets*10^300.  It’s full of nothing but porn featuring angry women raping poor innocent tentacle beasts.

    Know what? fuck sentimental furniture.  I found enough porn to last me until the heat death of the universe.

  135. The rusted machine floated eerily through the vastness of space, apparently dead and devoid of power. Thrown up and out from a distant world eons ago, it had completed its missions and was now drifting aimlessly among the debris that encircled the bright blue planet. Far down below, people scurried about in their sandal-clad feet going about their daily business in little farming communities. Little did they know that the device floating up above held miracles that would enable them to leapfrog centuries of knowledge in one fell swoop. But it remained tantalizingly close yet still out of their grasp.

  136. Found in Space

    Will slept. I kept watch. Drifting silently, barely a breeze. I leaned over the stern, dragging my outstretched hand through the cool glittering water leaving a wake of stars. They expanded forming complex structures of light. Moving deeper beneath and across the surface. All around moving blocks of dark and light. A sudden thud of water made me stand up, a dark patch seemed to swell into the night sky. A wedge.

    A ship. Shrieking metal, the masts ripping stays from the warping deck.

    Will has gone. Now it is just me swimming amongst the stars, beautiful.

  137. We hurtled through space unconscious and at twice the speed of light, riding the coattails of geniuses. We were mothers, fathers, and children who were farmers, doctors, soldiers, and mechanics. The spores of new life cast from a planet that was withering.

    When we arrived at our destination three hundred years later, there was only darkness. We wandered the empty hallways like ghosts.

    The last desperate distress signals had been sent a full one hundred years before our ships had even left Earth, and now we were stranded on a rock just as dead as the one we’d left behind.

  138. Lustrous red ladies’ shoes with three-inch stilettos drifted toward Capt. Jefferson in mid-space walk. His puffy gloved hand plucked the exotic debris from orbit.
    Through his mirrored helmet he saw a little black cocktail dress drifting toward him, followed by a lustrous purple g-string, a sequined clutch bag. Silky sheer panty hose wafting behind, trailed by a set of car keys shimmering in the frigid light.
    His air supply dwindling, he scanned the infinite bible blackness for a second shoe. Minutes passed, but no sight of the matching stiletto.
    “Houston,” he said. “We have a problem.”

  139. It was found in the space between David Letterman’s front teeth. Coiled like a python ready to strike, hidden between the tooth and gum, explored by the tip of the tongue, but never understood. When it was revealed to the studio audience during the commercial break many of them rushed the stage, knocking over one of cameras as they came back from the commercial break. Across the nation viewers got up from their comfortable chairs and touched their television screens, unable the comprehend what had been found there in minty, humid recess of the aging talk show host’s manicured grin.

  140. Title: Found in Space: Love?

    When the mission started, she hated me.

    To be fair, I didn’t like her either. But we kept our mouths shut, because this was the Adventure of a Lifetime.

    We’d be the first humans to see Jupiter with our own naked eyes. That alone was worth the sacrifice.

    After months of getting on each others’ nerves, we finally arrived.

    Then, catastrophe: our thrusters failed, and we got caught in Jupiter’s gravity well.

    Imminent death helped settle our differences.

    Einstein once said, “Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.”

    I guess that’s one more thing he got wrong.

  141. New England, 1966

    Alan let the lab door slam shut behind him. It was pitch black outside, and he almost tripped over the woman sitting smoking on the curb. Realizing who the woman was, he exclaimed,

    “Goodness, everyone’s been looking for you, Doctor Reynolds. We certainly never thought you’d be found in my parking space! Why, it’s your discovery of the condensation principle we’re celebrating tonight. Imagine, every great work of art can now be distilled into one hundred words.”

    She stubbed out her cigarette, saying,

    “Yes, but the real question is what will we store all our media on?”

  142. Amanda sits at a table on the moon. She hasn’t seen another person on the moon, but she knows that soon she will be served a boiled egg. She wonders who will bring it.

    Almost every time Amanda sees her mother these days, her mother gives her a snack. But her mother would never serve an egg. Amanda’s mother makes chestnut puddings, shellfish jellies, blackberry hollandaises, herbed crème brûlée. She is partial to certain viscosities. On Thanksgiving, their plates look like painters’ pallettes. Solids are most definitely out. She tacitly approves of gases.

    Of course, Amanda got to the moon by flying.

  143. Seventy months ago, sleep fought Chuck Gibbons’ raging curiosity, stifling star wonder with an irresistible sliding into unconsciousness’ depths. Now, on waking, Gibbons fought back against the spinning universe. Training be damned, he thought. Cheated his departure – growing stars, rocket thunder, blue sky to blackness – he struggled to see Saturn.

    But struggling back from cryosleep messed with his eyes… what the hell floated just off Tethys? Hex panels surrounded nonspace that glowed weirdly bluish green. Like giant holocomms, ghostly images appeared from the mist… blue marble… explosions… Armageddon.

    My God, it’s us, he thought in a rising wave of panic.

  144. “Lost Flying Saucer $500 Reward”
    My brother saw the sign in space through the telescope he got for his fourteenth birthday. He won’t let me look through it, says I’m clumsy.
    The next day we looked for the flying saucer, riding our bikes around the woods peering under mossy logs and returning home after the sun set, dad already gone for the swing shift. All summer we left the house before our father woke up and got home after he left for work.
    I don’t think my brother wanted the reward, he wanted to fly away in that flying saucer.

  145. It was such a small thing, tiny in fact, yet huge in a satisfying way. She could see it from all sides yet could not reach it, she began to notice she was holding her breath. She took a slow long drag of air, this helped her focus. “What I need is cooperation.” She picked up one straw then another and still another, she connected each end one slightly with in the other to form one long tube. How clever she was she thought. Her handy work fit perfectly in the slot of the anti gravity juice container. Aah. She turned on her communication device and said, “Hey Houston, tell the shuttle catering crew we need longer straws.”

  146. 2034. Memento mori. Though that would sink in, this far out. That black, undeniable emptiness of it all. Damn, he would have none of it. Raving about eternal life after Assumption, whatever that meant. Then he left dock. Just walked right out into the interstellar, left the dock wide open. What a Marmaduke. Left a note in his satchel inside his locker, along with a photograph of Helen.

    When you’ve found me, you will think it was the end of me, but it will have been only the end of my beginning. Farewell.

    2167. Something sir. Cast. Exoskeleton, maybe. White.

  147. I thought no one would ever respond to my distress beacon.

    What was I doing out here in theta sector anyway? Can you just tractor me into a loading bay so I can breathe some fresh recirculair?

    Why aren’t you bringing me in? I know Theta sector is off-limits but I was just taking a shortcut to Omega. My sister’s getting married on Perseid 5 in three days.

    I already transmitted you my papers. Just turn on your tractor beam and let me get a shower! You’ve gotta let me in. Don’t leave me here!!

    Foiled again!

  148. Power and water dwindling we hurtled onward, thinking the stars to be our guide and compass. We lived amongst them, but we never reached them. Fuel and water can only last for so long, and they were bound to be exhausted in time, no matter how we denied it. We dropped off one by one, until all that was left were the pilots and those few hostages they had rounded up and kept alive as the others died. In the end we saw what some of had known all along. We looked outwards to the stars, and never looked within.

  149. One day, everyone just was lighter. It happened around seven AM, Pacific Standard Time. People woke up and could jump four, five feet in the air without really trying.

    You felt great pouring coffee, making toast. You felt less pain, less tiredness. You were quicker. You felt like dancing. You hummed.

    If you wanted, you could walk off the top of a building and float slowly down, like a dandelion seed or a paper airplane.

    Some people, people who were light already, had to be careful. Later, all the designers would have “weighty” lines: burlap, canvas, wood. But early on, there were accidents.

  150. No signs of life. No auxiliary thrusters, and of course no distress signal. It was nothing but a big hunk of junk floating in the vast nothingness of space. Upon closer inspection we found the remnants of the previous crew, dressed in the traditional red and white. I felt surprisingly little until we reached the control bay. We found him floating above the helm. I held him close, tears filled my visor. Even through my compression suit I could feel the cold of him. After all these years, across all those stars, I finally found Waldo. But at what cost?

  151. My seventh grade science project still sat atop my bookshelf after all these years and, even if I was mourning my mother’s passing, I couldn’t help but smile in reminisce.
    Looking back, it felt ironic that would Pluto always slip off when I tried rotate the model. My fingers traced over the pores of Styrofoam Jupiter and sure enough there was hardly a speck of dust. I was in awe. This was not from my own preservation, I assure, but the beaming pride of a mother kept it and every part of the room neat. In this, I found peace.

  152. I looked up at the stars one night and fell into their serenity. I closed my eyes and drifted among dust and ether that fills the infinite void. I was unafraid of my own insignificance, and hopeful for the future. When I look around me at a dead world ravaged by the follies of man and the destruction of the planet, I know what I must do. This world will not miss me. I will build, and I will find the dreamers who share my ambition. We will escape, and find our freedom where it cannot be taken from us. One day, we shall be found in space.

  153. Children scream through violent nightmares, twisted bodies and tortured souls. Their parents are themselves children, hurtling raw through an existence vast and utterly beyond comprehension. Their lives form an arc passing gravity, but are flung away unforgiven, shamed and graceful. The past unravels, shedding skin. Each day threatens, and any miscalculation damns. Not a second to lose. What future awaits these blinded savage hearts? Nothing is whole without all the parts. Our culture will be covered over with oil and mud. How can we reach them tearing naked/blindly through the dark if we are, too, lost in space?

  154. “You really don’t remember where you left it?”
    “No. Maybe back in that asteroid belt, or it could be on that comet we were on. What was it called again?”
    “Who cares what the comet was called, we need to find your purse, it has all our credit cards in it.”
    “Maybe I left it with that nice man on the moon . . . What about lost and found?”
    “There is no lost and found in space!”

  155. Found in space (a story in artifacts):

    1 – bouquet daisies
    3 – unsent postcards
    5 – pebbles from that one beach
    2 – tickets
    3 – keys on a silver panda chain
    15 – unread magazines tied with string
    1 – returned undeliverable notice
    6 – birthday cards
    7 – cookies left in the pack
    1 – purple sneaker
    whole bunch – ashes

  156. It came drifting past, a metal tube without propulsion, telemetry. Barely post-orbital technology. But the thing inside it, fragile little biped solo in some kind of crude deep freeze suspension. A great explorer, risking the utmost leap? Maybe a desperate scion making a last bid to find assistance for its dying race. Doubtless it would have an amazing story to tell, if you could ever figure out what passes for communication coming out of that collection of tubes, orbs and wet flaps. On the other hand, it’s just so seldom that you come across something really new to eat.

  157. Seven hours after liftoff, Errol came to realize that he had no other task to perform as chief scientific engineer on the space shuttle until after his sleep rotation. This was his first trip in space, the culmination of a lifetime of rigorous scientific preparation. Errol had so consumed himself with empiricism that what struck him now was not the undeniably beautiful image of his own planet from space, but the profound discovery of his own breath; inhaled through the nose, exhaled. Found in Space.

  158. Andrew squinted and perched his glasses on his forehead as he leaned even closer to the glowing computer display in front of him.

    “Quadrant NE024” it read in the upper right. A starfield; black, filled with random dots of light. The focal point of interest was a tiny pixel, moving ever so slightly as the time-lapse frame captures fluttered by. The ascending datestamp in the lower right corner belied the time passing as the computer system highlighted the disturbance with a bullseye.

    Andrew squinted again, then brushed at his display as if it were a bug on the screen.

  159. The flying saucer-shaped balloon was empty. The boy had hidden in the crawl-space above the garage.
    Of course it was a ruse; after the media left, the boy summoned the recovery craft… finally he could get off this stinking planet.

  160. He looked out of his window to see the infected lurching from door to door. Long ago he had learned how to adapt to living with the infected, or is it the other way around. An uneasy peace had been brokered between the infected and the immune, but like the Cold War, proxy wars continued to rage whether they be on national currency or in schools. He mused about how infection like immunity never seemed to triumph despite each sides’ adamant belief they would persevere. He heard a knock at the door. “Hello. Can I tell you about Jesus today?”

  161. I wonder how long it’s been there. Sometimes in the powered-down hours I like to float across my living space and press my skin to the barrier that separates me from the vacuum and blackness, to see it. They tell us that creatures roam about down on the surface, that they seemingly construct things and are content to stay there. Why they aren’t in the waters, no one knows. I think I’ll ask father if I can have it when we’ve finished classifying the others. Why would he deny me such a small thing? I’d take care of it.

  162. Found in space: sector nine, twelve nine two zero three.
    Boot, left, pressurized, male size nine.
    Bottle, one liter, plastic; label: Old Apollo Whiskey, Budget Style.
    Photoholograph, subject: female, earth standard human, brown hair, brown eyes. Label: “Tracy”
    Letters, small bundle, paper. Addressee: Mark Anderson, Luna Three.
    Small packet lunar ganjaweed, prescription. Expired.
    Portion hull: Toyota Orbiton, forward third including instrument panel. Some plasma damage.
    Wristwatch, gold, damaged.
    Foot, left, human male, size nine.
    Fourteen deciliters blood, human, type A positive, distributed droplets.
    Note, paper, heading: “I love you Tracy, goodbye.”
    Please contact Luna Three Port Authority. Fine may apply.

  163. I saw it. First day out. I saw it, and I knew what it was.
    Spacewalks, though, they’re planned minutewise. You don’t get coffee breaks. But I saw it. And I knew what it was.
    By the third day, there was no question. No question at all. I saw it, and I knew what it was.
    Fifth day, I could almost grab it. But, no coffee breaks. No coffee breaks in orbit, and no coffee either.
    On the last day, I grabbed. But into the vastness and blackness and infinity, it escaped.
    A fucking Pepsi can.

  164. Desmond could tell I was upset. It must have been a slight drop in my respiration, or a change in the scent of my pheromones. You spend two hundred E-orbits out in the Belt, locked in a can with someone, they get to know your moods.

    “I swear, Molly. Every time some hydrocarbon toast floats by, you get all soppy. I just don’t get it. It’s been eons since the thing was alive, anyway.”

    He’s not really callous. Desmond’s never known different – he was born well after the Exodus. That’s all a desiccated tree is to him: organic compounds.

  165. Yesterday, Josh had passed beyond the last marker. He was drifting aimlessly at this point; the fuel in his suit was long since depleted, and the air he breathed was stale. His yawns were more frequent and Josh knew he didn’t have long.
    It had started out poorly: the capsule was cramped for the both of them , and tensions were high. They couldn’t stand each other and Josh left before wake-up, heading for the nearest station.
    His oxygen supplies failing a distant speck caught his eye,that grew larger by the moment. He realized the speck was Travis, already dead.

  166. Drifting, spinning. Her crippled shuttle getting smaller. Head over heels, no way to stop. Thoughts race through her mind. Anger, guilt, regret. Most of all regret. Regret for not telling him before she left. Regret for rushing through the pre-flight checklist. But most of all her most recent regret – not attaching her tether when she crawled out to fix the port thruster. Now, she didn’t have much more time for regrets. A check on her air tank confirmed it. She only had minutes left. Sometime next week or next month they would find her. Just another object found in space.

  167. I took a brisk swig and slammed the unlabeled bottle hard on the table, making Kathleen Hannah’s scream a screech. Titan is fucking cold. Don’t ever fucking come to Titan. I set the needle back on the record — “WHO TOOK THE BOM?!” — and looked over the cover, running my finger over worn, stiff paper. I played the vinyl through, slipped it back into it’s sleeve, and placed it back into the mottled brown suitcase. The tag read “Titan 1 – First Flight” with an embossed figure of Saturn below it. Titan isn’t worth the trip. Don’t ever fucking come to Titan.

  168. I saw it. First day out. I saw it, and I knew what it was.
    Spacewalks, though, they’re planned minutewise. You don’t get coffee breaks. But I saw it. And I knew what it was.
    By the third day, there was no question. No question at all. I saw it, and I knew what it was.
    Fifth day, I could almost grab it. But, no coffee breaks. No coffee breaks in orbit, and no coffee either.
    On the last day, I grabbed. But into the vastness and blackness and infinity, it escaped.
    A fucking Pepsi can.

  169. Most ghosts choose to haunt the familiarity of their previous life, where it is easy to spy on and annoy the living (for touching their stuff). Those who try to escape merely evaporate and are re-condensed by our constrictive atmosphere. Three ghosts, however, looked down on our blue-green beachball as they slowly peeled away, and realizing they had nothing better, desperately roshamboed for the best pieces of flotsam at hand. The winner scored a Phillips screwdriver, which in a million years will be found by creatures that are pretty set on square-drive, thank you very much. Serves you right, Vlad.

  170. Warning. Yes. Here’s a Warning.

    We had money when the uploads started, from John’s grant work. And yet we couldn’t afford uploads for all of us.

    Who would live forever: John? Judy? Penny? Privately, I made a good case for Will, since he had the highest I.Q. Then I turned right around and made the case for us parents, since we had less time.

    Finally, they came out with the roommate plan, where up to five people can share a Robot. We asked them to cram us all in together.

    It’s nice to have eternity. But goodness, is it crowded.

  171. “The camera’s working?” Commander Davis scratched at his stubble and squinted at his screen. “Actually working? Not your usual ‘hit it with my boot’ kind of working?”

    “Yep,” said Specialist Boehm, floating upside-down next to Davis and peering at the screen with wide eyes. If he grew proper stubble, he would’ve scratched it as well. “It’s working. So’s the spectrograph, and the rangefinder, and the—” Davis cut him off with an impatient wave of his hand.

    Together, they stared at the screen, and at the slowly rotating, 55-kilometer wide asteroid with Oprah’s face carved into its pitted nickel-iron surface.

  172. Man stared at the space between the words until he felt the familiar feeling of gnabgib growing inside. It grew to fill the gaping void the reality had left in his life. The words streaked past his eyes at warp factor 5, voyage where no man has gone before had started! Taking the red pill had never been an option for him. He had never wanted to dream of the electric sheep. He had always wanted to roam as free as Wintermute in the Matrix. Suddenly deep rasping voice: “Luke, I’am your father! I command you to wake up instantly!”.

  173. We live in a black box. It is our universe. We run frantically along the wires only to be trapped in the stinking sweating plates of capacitors crushed until, by their arbitrary rating, we are released. Or resistors: grinding around like a workhorse at mill to reach the so-called appropriate voltage. Some electrons have got religion. As though there is some higher power tapping at a keyboard, and we are the vehicles of holy writ. But it’s hot as hell in the black box, boys, and me, I’ve never seen anything to prove beyond the fans there’s an intelligence.

  174. You claim I peddle metal with no salvage rights? Bull shit.

    I don’t sell titanium screws, don’t push alloy hull, and certainly don’t flip fission reactors with ornate Cyrillic writing. Sure, my hold is filled with such objects, but that’s not what I move.

    There’s plenty of cold metal on that desiccated husk of a planet with even more in the outer belt. Just show me someone with the fuel to lift it or the hope to reach beyond low earth orbit.

    Didn’t think so…

    All I got is a planet’s energy and a nation’s dreams. What’ll it be cowboy?

  175. They started the moment we had them secure in the airlock, their shouting loud enough to carry through the three inch inner doors, to drown out the hiss of repressurization.  It only got worse when their helmets came off.

    “You shunted the axial power supply to cold-start the nav systems!”

    “I’m not the one who let the batteries drain below twenty freaking percent!”

    “I told you to check them when we were in hard-dock at Korbin Station!”

    I glanced to the F.O., my hand hovering over the airlock dump button.

    He sighed, shaking his head. “Let’em in.”

  176. She expected a large room full of men in glasses with close-cut hair, in short-sleeved shirts and ties, men staring into monitors and noting important things onto paper. Instead, it was a small, white room with a table, a chair and a desk phone. The man that ushered her in, pressed a button on the phone and left the room.


    The voice that came over the telephone was like rain a on city street. “I’m sorry. That’s all I can say. I’m sorry.”

    “Find your way home,” she said. “I’ll be here, waiting for you.”

    “It’s okay.”

  177. He looked fat in his dilapidated space suit, threads and fabric all wily nilly. His eyes, dark spheres of expressionless stupidity. Even as he sat, surrounded by all of those decade old props, he looked ancient. In his mind flashed images of baseball playing chimps and New York apartments that no one could possibly afford as an out of work actor. Above his head read the words “Jupiter 2”, long covered in dust and debris. Why had this set been preserved? Did anyone even watch this movie? I can’t believe I found Matt Leblanc, tucked away in this tiny space.

  178. Many years later in the firing squad, as he lined up Colonel Aureliano Buendia in his sights, Corporal Abdenago Luis was to remember that distance afternoon when his father took him to discover Coca-Cola. At that time Bogota was a city of nearly a quarter million souls and the giant blue and white glass skyscrapers of his later years were just starting to rise above the trees like dinosaurs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them, it was necessary to point and to borrow words from English or French or German.

  179. As the first Reticulan ambassador to the UN concluded his speech, he wondered what the first question would be. Now that Terrans had begun to close the technological gap between them, the worst dangers of first contact between cultures had been mitigated. Details of religion, customs and art aside, he was amazed at how much they had in common.

    “What really happened at Roswell?”

    He closed his eyes and brought his hand to his forehead, trying to will the headache away.

    “It was just a weather balloon.”

    So many things in common. He just wished this wasn’t one of them.

  180. Today I found something in space, something totally unbelievable- a Space Unicorn. You can tell the difference between regular unicorns and space unicorns, the ones from space have sparkly star dust covering them. Make sure to dust it off before bringing it into your house- those star dust sparklies get everywhere and sticks to stuff like glitter from those Christmas cards your grandmother sends. Space Unicorns like to scribble designs on pieces of shiny yellow cardboard. I haven’t figured out why, but they sure like their shiny yellow cardboard and their blue crayons- which they like sharpened on both ends.

  181. I don’t know how long I stared at that cow. I think she must have escaped from the farm down the hall. It was after midnight on the third-deck workspace and I was alone. She lumbered in and tore a frond from my hydroponic fern. Then she leaned into my desk and it tipped into the air like a ship. I watched in disbelief, paralyzed, as my monitor crashed to the floor. Before, she was just another cow in a spaceship. But now she made history: she was the first ever cow in a spaceship to go on stampede.

  182. We never found out what it was. It was spoken of briefly, and then not at all. The media downplayed it, and the fringe overplayed it, and it entered our culture as a symbol of secrecy, as a hub of conspiracy, as a thought and a notion and a theoretical construct. It never entered our world as a thing, a thing that survived some vast expanse of nothingness to unerringly drift to the one place we would certainly see it. We co-opted it, and cheated it, and had it any hopes for our reaction we would have sorely disappointed it.

  183. Kindergarten: Kevin and Scout are inseparable friends. Their names are never heard apart. In time, KevIN and ScOUT are nicknamed ‘In and ‘Out. A friendship develops despite differences: boy/girl; short /tall. They try to walk together, but ‘Out cannot match her stride to the same pace as ‘In’s due to their height difference.

    Fourth grade: boys and girls who try to walk together are teased.

    Eighth grade: boys and girls who walk together are cool. ‘In and ‘Out walk hand-in-hand for the first time in four years. ‘Out has grown and their strides now match. ‘Out has found ‘In’s pace.

  184. We came upon a small blue, pearl of a planet in the boondocks of our universe. Stationed far enough away, they didn’t know we were observing them. Such filthy creatures! Hatred and fear consumed the daily lives of these things we learned to be called as humans. They looked disturbingly close to the apes that inhabited the planet, a planet in which these humans were destroying. It’s like bacteria but on a nuclear scale. Such fools. We couldn’t intervene due to the Pact of Universal Guidance, which states all civilizations must find their own way. But the way we saw it, these folks were headed in the wrong direction.

  185. A blind man, I wandered alone. We dint expect to find anything in the belt, beyond the basic carbon to keep ship fed., church stayed under, I woke up, checked the dials, had a Poptart ™ Worries and troubles I claimed for my own. Half the sleepers broken down to mush, not even edible mush at that, fungus blooming through hold, tanks leaking. I was a fool to wander and stray. Leapers all ate up with rot, processors at half speed, dubious we’d make jump. Straight is the gate, narrow the way. Dead men burn bright. I saw the light

  186. It’s cold out here; dark and quiet and beautiful. The pale white crescent grows with each passing moment until it’s all I see. Finally my destination, obscured by the black shadow of the crater’s edge. I must steer carefully.

    The feeling of floating serene through the empty darkness is gradually replaced by the realization of how fast I am moving, and how soon I’ll be home. Centaur releases with a puff of air as I send it crashing down to the surface. I follow it down through a plume of dust and inhale. There’s water here, I can smell it.

  187. Three years after I left you, the astronauts found my heart.

    It bumped into the International Space Station, leaving a bloody smear. While they performed an emergency spacewalk to retrieve it, I drove past our old apartment, now vacant.

    NASA held a press conference. “It’s alien,” they announced on the radio as I circled back. They didn’t know about the day I lost my love for you. My heart lifted into orbit, and the cold of space filled the cavity where it had been.

    They’ve brought it on board. It’s warming up. I drive past our old apartment.

  188. We came upon a small blue, pearl of a planet in the boondocks of our universe. Stationed far enough away, they didn’t know we were observing them. Such filthy creatures! Hatred and fear consumed the daily lives of these things we learned to be called as humans. They looked disturbingly close to the apes that inhabited the planet, a planet in which these humans were destroying. It’s like bacteria but on a nuclear scale. Such fools. We couldn’t intervene due to the Pact of Universal Guidance, which states all civilizations must find their own way. But the way we saw it, these folks were headed in the wrong direction.

  189. Space is cold. Much colder than Russia, although that’s a good starting point if you want to get an idea of just how cold it is. There are no parks in space, and no sticks to fetch either. There are very few chew toys, save the dashboard panel of your shuttle, with its diagnostic gizmos just begging to be gnawed. There is no food in space, and no comfort, too. All this considered, it is not surprising that she ran away.

    Have you seen this dog? Answers to “Laika I.”

  190. Something about the peculiar machine makes me hope I was in it. As it struggles to “launch” into space, I felt a deep sense of loneliness as if I was in the wrong place. The fascinating astronauts, as they are referred to, seem to exude a sense of joy and pride in their curious mission. It will be some time before we see them again, if ever they return. In the meantime, I pray that they reach their destination safely. Then someday, I might even get to go back with them to that faraway place they call … the Earth.

  191. Pulsing glow, shuddering frame, we brought it aboard our low orbit platform. After much analysis by our astrographers, we’ve found the source. A small planet in a neighboring solar system, teaming with life and creativity. We’ve been monitoring them for years, not sure their intentions until now.

    I say farewell to my wife and children, knowing that the journey will be long, but important to our people, a gesture of camaraderie between species. Our goal: to meet the bold descendants of the creatures that launched this satellite.

    We board our LTS shuttle and prepare for launch.

    Coordinates entered.

    Destination: Mars.



    3 crew members remain. One male and two female. Also visible are the disembodied remains of at least two additional crew members. We have the ship captive but have yet to board. How would you like us to proceed Captain?


    Proceed with caution. It has been nearly 15 years.




    TWO YOUNG BOYS run across a field of ice and snow. Their laughter echoes in the trees. It is difficult to see the pond ahead.

  193. Awake but still dreaming..
    He knew he had to be somewhere,
    but he wasn’t sure where to be
    so he just went along.
    Flowing with the current
    the path divided into two.
    He went in the direction to which felt
    and soon he found himself
    at the edge of a waterfall.
    As he fell, he contemplated his choices
    as to what brought him to this point.
    He lived his life over again
    and knew it was all right.
    He was flying now,
    finally at peace..
    “Oh what a delight.”
    He can rest easy now.
    Everything is all right.

  194. Space zombies
    composed mashups —
    strumming ukuleles,
    braying unicorns —
    before pirates
    destroyed their gadgets.

    Specifically, gadgets
    for musical zombies.
    Then pirates
    every unicorn,
    stole their ukes.

    Poor ukuleles,
    simple gadgets.
    Angry unicorns.
    Depressed zombies.
    Theme to M*A*S*H*
    couldn’t be pirated.

    of ukuleles
    aside, mashing
    of gadgets
    infuriated zombies
    and unicorns!

    gored pirates
    hard! Zombies
    howled for lost ukes
    and gadgets,
    eager to mash.

    Outcome? Mashed
    Outmoded gadgets.
    Cross-boned pirates.
    Tuneless ukuleles.
    Headless zombies.

    Now no ukuleles play, no dancing unicorns.
    The pirates left with their gadgets.
    And the few zombies left sing mash-ups of war.

  195. “Some travel required,” the want ad had stated. Neil promised himself that if he ever made it back to Earth, he’d cockpunch whoever wrote that ad.

    Through the viewing portal, the stars whizzed by into infinite blackness.

    Or at least every descendant of whoever wrote it. It would probably take him a while to punch every single one, he thought.

    “G’lor pa’tax kuwanna, KUWANNA!” croaked the gelatinous glob next to him. Neil didn’t understand the language, but he knew the alien needed his colon cleansed. It always needed its colon cleansed.

    “It’ll be worth it,” Neil muttered.

  196. Rigorous testing and psychological profiling weeded out the worst candidates for long distance travel; the dull-boy Jacks, for whom the high pay of piloting distance spacecraft could never be compensation for the loss of decades to tedium and loneliness. Type two, the lone rangers, tended toward agression. To the surprise of researchers, the pilots who handled distance and lonely silence the best were the crazies. The preferred pilots were afraid- of other people, new situations, themselves. But when they gazed out the porthole into the dark recesses of the universe they did not fear; in desolation they found peace.

  197. In seventh grade a science teacher told me gravity wasn’t all that strong. She was trying to blow young minds, apparently. “You beat gravity every time you take a step, or jump, or lift your pencil.” I think of her nearly every time I look at you. She was thirty, maybe. Plain as they come, but surely better looking than either of us now. For all our efforts we can’t win. Even if we blast off today, no regression will take place. There we’ll be: pools of flesh spread wide. Flaps and jowls drifting in zero gravity.

  198. Perhaps it might be appropriate to look for those things missing from our lives in inadvertent ways—those tv remotes and mismatched socks and flash drives and dirty forks—in their final cosmic resting place. What is a dryer or a couch but a portal to vastness of the universe? I’m waiting patiently for the planned expedition to find those absent items and return them to their bewildered owners. Will the reunion be joyful or bittersweet? Did you back up all of your files? I’m not sure how a USB stick holds up in space. Can someone get on this?

  199. Captains and mechanics congregated here like weathered pachyderms to elephant graveyards. Their reticent mourning, over the haunting carapaces of scuttled spaceships, now floating space detritus, latched together spiraling into an infinite madness amidst the cosmic sea. The somber lamentation punctuated only by the ever-present demand for spare parts in the bazaar that constituted its epicenter, with gold-toothed Berber merchants hauling wreckage in from across the Triangulum galaxy. Absent laws, anything could be acquired: weapons, drugs, even people, but most coveted of all in the perpetual sauna of space travel, with its recycled, stale, sterilized air; was Little Trees Air Freshener.

  200. I didn’t know where I was or how I had gotten there. Everything was jet black, so black that I began to doubt whether my eyes were really open. There was nothing; no wind, no air, no ground, no light, no warmth. I felt like I was floating, like my body was moving ever so slowly, as though I were being pulled by a gentle, almost magnetic force. I extended my hand, grasping for something, anything. How many hours had I passed like that?
    And then, I felt something. Something soft and warm brushed my fingers. Jolted back to awareness, I grasped at it. Having it, I clutched it to me. I felt its contours a few times… it was just like a hand…its warmth beginning to fade…

    (Sorry, too many words…)

  201. The news spun woefully by the moon, small and too young to understand. Mars cried dusty tears. Big, jolly Jupiter deflated, as the rings around Saturn shrank in sadness. Uranus turned bluer than Neptune, and Neptune paled to a sickly green. They knew what was coming.

    The message found the frozen rock.

    And something stirred.

    It could have been just an immense lump of ice, were it not for the vengeful skyward-gazing eyes, and the big red button it clutched.

    “Not a planet, eh?”

    And then a terrible flash.
    At least the message was correct. There are indeed eight planets.

  202. They came from all over. To the chapel on the hill. The asteroid Golgotha MIII. There the reverend would climb down the hatch through airlock and onto the pulpit. The atmosphere so thin that none could remove their glass-bubble helmets, he would give his sermons of solar-fire and lunar-brimstone. He would fog the inside of his bubble helmet until they couldn’t see his face. He invariably gave a sermon about Jonah, and they peered out the port-holes at the sleeping schools of rocketships waiting their crews’ return. They came to commune with the almighty. Here they were found, in space.

  203. It was with uncharacteristic abandonment that pFlip Proper engaged the control interface labeled Captive Resistance Accelerator Piston, a wayward device that he knew almost nothing about. Only with the mounting vibrations was it obvious that the system was working. Knowing that he was mere moments from reaching his destination gave him a great sense of accomplishment after all, how often does a maniacal space lord entrust his Space Helios Imperil Transport to a lowly servant? Of course the lord didn’t exactly grant pFlip permission to take his S-H-I-T, he was only borrowing it. Curios pFlip pondered, “hmm flashing red light?”

  204. “Why isn’t the kettle boiling yet?” he thought, cold, thirsty. Walking into the next room, he saw his error; shiny fire hissed from an uncovered burner, the teapot sat, tepid, behind it. He laughed, moved the pyrex over the heat, and watched that pot until it boiled. Tea made, he ambled over to his cushion, sat down in front of candles and incense, closed his eyes. As he breathed, the walls of his cranium dissolved. The space inside his mind flowed out , and the universe poured in. In the middle of all of creation, he found himself.

  205. She sat on the canyon’s rim, only her and soaring condors and three thousand shades of red sandstone. Six hours driving almost forever over rocks, getting stuck in desert washes then digging out, but it was worth every second to be sitting here a mile above the tiny band of river raging so far below. A giant shadow momentarily cooled her soul, lifting her as the great bird flew so close she could almost touch it.

    He was wrong. I can do it, she thought.

    She rose, and stepped to the edge. Then out.

    Everywhere, time stopped.

    Now I know.

  206. It was to be the last passage through that constricting space. An evaporating current, it fought to plug the leaks. The flood passed through it. Now the cave was nearly dry as new, but dark and dim.

    “Who are you?”

    And try as it might, it could not hold on to a single word or syllable. They slipped past the electric tentacles that once held them when they were whole. Now, they were disappearing gossamer rivulets.

    “What is your name?”

    The last drop found in space closing in.

    “I was lost.”


    Waving prominences. Magnetic surface currents. Plasma punctuation. Chromosphere. Electromagnetic waves. Songs. Songs.

    Stars. Distant. Ancestors. Alive. Vacuum dynamics. Only galactic noise. No structure. Lonely.

    Micro-sentients, children. Rocky speedy planets. Gaseous giant guards. Parabolic, metallic, cryptic. My children.

    Coronal mass ejection. Stellar cries. Interstellar message. Star song. Space.

    Finally. Mirror. My voice. Sol. Her voice. Found. Alpha proxima.

    Two voices. Tones. More messages. More stars. Years. Millions. Billions. Star voices. Songs. Chords. Network. Symphony.

    Still more voices. Me. Sol. Many others. Symphony of stars. Music of the universe.

    Not alone. Together. Fusion. Happy. Not lonely.

  208. Sorry folks, Douglas Adams already won this contest:

    Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun.

    Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

    On this planet there is a book, one of the most remarkable books ever to come out of the great publishing houses of London: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

  209. I write for my food, and it felt strange that I could so easily approach someone who had been to the edge of the solar system. When they got back, astronauts suddenly stopped being glorified satellite repairmen. The Commander didn’t have to talk to me if she didn’t want to, and I could feel the rounded edges of my well-worn question.

    “Ma’am, I was just wondering what you can tell me about Neptune? What did it feel like to be so close?”

    She looked at me like I was trillions of miles away, “I never knew I loved the ocean.”


    100 words if you don’t count hyphenation as one word, the version below is 100 words if you do. Ah, word-count.


    I write for my food, and it felt strange that I could so easily approach someone who had been to the edge of the solar system. When they got back, astronauts stopped being glorified satellite repairmen. The Commander didn’t have to talk to me if she didn’t want to, and I could feel the rounded edges of my well-worn question.

    “Ma’am, I was just wondering what you can tell me about Neptune? What did it feel like to be so close?”

    She looked at me like I was trillions of miles away, “I never knew I loved the ocean.”

  210. The coughing fit is strong this time. Small bloody bits of phlegm in my hand. Those things are killing me. It was a locked down medical ship. The crew had evacuated after it suffered hull damage. It was left in the cold lifeless void and we were just looking for supplies. The power had be out for a long time. The samples all thawed. It started with a fever and a cough, then your insides come out in bloody chunks. They are gone and I turned off the distress beacon. I hope no one ever finds this.
    -Roger Joseph Greene

  211. woops, I didn’t write in theme at first!
    here is my entry:

    Detached from the station,
    slowly drifting away.
    Soon finding himself distant
    from what was once a home.
    “-Where are you going?”
    He asked himself that countless times
    aboard that soul-less machine.
    He had to venture out
    find something new..
    Find what he was looking for.
    “-Where are you going 126?”
    “To find what I’ve always been looking for”
    “-What are you looking for”
    “Life, the universe.. Something.”
    “..Anything but being stuck in that machine.”
    “-You won’t find anything out there.”
    “I had to see for myself”
    and out there, he found himself.

  212. Hey! What’s this I found IN SPACE? This looks like a cool thing. I think it might work as a hat…
    No, it does not work as a hat.
    Maybe it will work as a ray gun… No, it does not work as a ray gun.
    Maybe it is a strange and alien food… YUCK! It is not a strange and alien food!
    What could this cool thing be? I will ask my nearest astronomer friend.
    “Astronomer Friend, what is this cool thing I found IN SPACE?”
    “It is the Earth’s second moon, Cruithne.”
    “Ha Ha! It was not food!”

  213. The telemetry was correct. The space station intercepted the old Soviet capsule. Guided into the bay, Captain and crew realized they were holding Laika’s tomb. It was as if they had all been instantly transported to the time before their careers and PhD’s. Now, she was their dog to mourn. The losses that they had previously borne so effortlessly under the veneer of machismo and the guise of duty, failed them. They were children again and here was a dead dog, a mutt plucked of the streets of Moscow fifty years earlier. They wept.

  214. “There’s no way.” he said to the empty room “This has to be a joke.”

    He turned it over in his hands for the umpteenth time, hoping that he would wake up and have his world turn back to some from of normality.

    “How the hell did it turn up out there?” he asked the stark metal wall of his quarters, half expecting it to answer back. His eyes fell on the picture of her sitting on the small table and there was no mistaking it now. The ring he gave her as the parted was now in his hands.

  215. All quiet here on a dead moon. Raising my helmet to the final wink from a collapsing world, I think about all the good times while I check my oxygen meter. It won’t be long. Ash falls around me now, and soon splinters, boulders, car exhausts, lampposts, and every scrap of that big marble is raining down on my head. I let it land, I welcome it, and I look around despairingly for a pack of smokes. Four minutes to go, and she’s spitting up the first few drops of that molten core. It won’t be long. Goodbye old girl.

  216. Floating alone on the tether. Lonely out here. Cap made me primary on this salvage. Usually jump at the chance, but this wreck looked picked over. Weird thing: Up close, what we’d thought were clamp-indents were oddly rounded.

    Scrabbled to the dock. Hull had been popped; no customary puff of air. Quick check showed nothing left that hadn’t been tied down. And what had had strange round punctures. Broken and useless.

    Opened the engine bay. It was wrapped around the core. It flinched and twisted. Looked into what I could only assume was its eye. Glad Cap made me primary.

  217. We lost the war because President Robinson forgot the password authorizing our space missiles to launch.

    He scribbled a limerick to remember those 5 letters. If a line’s first letter was “T” and the line had 5 spaces, the letter was 5 ahead of “T”, “O”. At the President’s war crimes trial we saw the original limerick’s bad grammar his secretary naturally corrected typing.

    So when the enemy attacked President Robinson couldn’t decipher the password and counterattack because one line had found a space.

    We lost the air war, the ground war, and lost in space, too.

  218. “Well sir, we think it was used as a record by the aliens that launched the ship. The creatures see at a wavelength that is about 500 nanometers larger than we do. If we could somehow translate the electromagnetic radiation reflected by the paper we could in theory…”
    “No. It wouldn’t be worth the effort.” The officer looked at the picture. The picture of a man and a woman standing at an alter, surrounded by family and friends. The picture he couldn’t see. “We have the remains of the creature, that should be all we need.”

  219. The craft hovered over the white moon. Inside, the crew awaited word from the landing party. Suddenly — static over the comlink!

    “Uh, guys? Better get warm up the engine.”

    “Why? Whaddya find?”

    “This rock’s taken. Flag and everything.”


    “Something with red and white stripes, some stars, I don’t know. No flag I ever saw.”

    “All right, all right. let’s pack it up.”

    With that, the landing party levitated back into the excursion lock, de-pressurized, and reboarded the craft. Within minutes, it was on the outer edge of the HG168 solar system, still looking for a good moon.

  220. Time was there was nothing, not here or even over there, but before long came a swirl of something, clouding the clear view of nothing. Something was more than nothing, it was expanding and swirling, merging, boiling and roiling. Something tumbled throughout nothing, separating and dividing, merging and burning, filling nothing with light and energy. Still, no matter how brightly something burned, nothing remained. Something began to fear nothing. The deep, the darkness of nothing. So something called nothing Space, and nothing became something, and there was nothing for something to fear.

  221. George in Space by CMR

    George pushed the ship’s button. George was always pushing buttons. This was much more fun than he expected or normally found though. Each time George pushed the button he found his attire immediately transformed. First, he was dressed in a Gaudy purple suit with a big plume hat, next it was a lady’s evening gown. Once he pushed it and ended up in a fancy tux feeling just like James Bond, he waited for awhile before pushing the button after that. Push it again he did though & with great pleasure, until he found himself undressed and standing quite naked. This can’t be good he thought to himself. He pushed the button again, but nothing happen.

  222. She wakes up, sunlight streaming through stained windows. Down stairs, into the gallery. Turns on the TV, soldiers looting along the Bund, tankers on fire in Tianjin. Messages on the machine, Sotheby’s anxious about the piece, Parker back in Brooklyn, furious, but she has to stay, can’t run until she has it. Her man from Mission Control was back, off the long train from Space City, and he had it—left a crude replica in its place, but good enough to hold the scientists over for a day or so, no alien art experts in that bunch. Time to move.

  223. Once the sky was full of stars. But the constellations became archipelagos of humanity’s new motherlands.

    Long ago, Ulysses had loved too much. But she loved him too little. So, he had one last conversation with his Mother and his Sister and one last visit to his Father’s grave. Then, he wrote a new fate on another world many decades and miles away.

    In a city, Ulysses’ descendant hears strange non-human music from the heavens—sounds from the children of she who had loved him too little. Ulysses’ ghost whispers: “Love now. Do not wait.”

  224. Steaming west, the black beasts billowed their exhaust into the cold autumn sky. We all crouched by the hay wagon, war-weary. “Twenty miles,” whispered Billy. The harvesters had proven slow but relentless. It seemed that any large mammal was game.

    We stayed mousy, relished the MREs. The moment those three lumbered out of sight we resumed our back road migration. Nobody knew if Ontario had been overrun or how far we’d get on a tank plus cans. The rifles felt feeble, but by tomorrow might score us a small feast.

    It would be somebody’s Thanksgiving.

  225. Grace felt as violated as if they had robbed her outright. What did they take? What did they slice away? She could not even be sure that she actually knew what Nina Simone sounded like. She only really knew what they had deemed worthy to leave her: only fragments of Nina, every twenty microseconds. But Nina had sung in those spaces and Grace wanted them found. Grace dropped the needle clumsily onto the Saturn’s ring of vinyl spinning atop the borrowed turntable, dusty from neglect in the library’s storeroom. And there, in the spaces in between, was Nina and life.

  226. I couldn’t believe it, another lame summer in space. Mom says, ”It’s a great way to get to get to know the universe” I think it’s a great way to waste a perfectly good vacation. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had a friend along but instead I’m here with my robot and food credits. Venus, Mars, and the Milky Way, I could see this in a book. I start singing under my breath. A few seconds later my robot leans over and says shhhh. That’s when I found out that this was going to be a long trip.

  227. uranus craigslist > community > lost & found

    One cat

    Mostly black. White belly and feet. Little mustache below nose

    Found drifting between orbits of Uranus and Neptune

    Doesn’t seem to be answering to anything

  228. It came from the sky one day. Scientists even said that it wasn’t supposed to fall that way. Look like that. Hit that way. Turns out they just didn’t know all the rules. And with the swing of a bat, but not really a bat, the bastard child of a sledgehammer and a Notre Dame bell choir, a city was ripped off the face of the Earth and sent in to space. The perfect tone held a protective bubble that we normally take for granted and off we went, in to the solar system and beyond. Then it got weird.

  229. From all this twisted, for some time, the sound of one particular song, dynamic, explosive, soft, joyous, determined, crystalline, fire.

    Yet, as it began to fade, becoming ever obscured, that shear, screaming, cicada slowly filled the room, filled the whole space of myself, and my vision. It was both universally loud and atomically quiet. I’d experienced this range, this announcement, before. Of course.

    But this frequency was fresh. Never before seen footage. And to my complete surprise; it began sending out very random, sparse, coherent flourishes in flute-like, eel-like visual tones so beautiful and amazing yet all so incredibly funny!

  230. “Sweet Calaca, it doesn’t ping…”, skull-face improbably displaying complete smugness. “That Peruvian’s probably being judged as Pavilion horsd’oeuvres by now.”

    Despite attenuated frame and lady sensibilities, she hoisted the quarantined cask on her back as professional stevedores would, leaving the monitored exhibition screenery and ingratiating apparatchik.

    Once outside among Calavera’s, fairgrounds, seals were broken to assess shipping damage. Within, in the meticulously reserved nine cubic inch space for prizes, was the blue ribbon cavy, vacantly lapping raided horchata, all vapid nonchalant-ness in its legerdemain (and lack of milkiness getting the long hair).

    She became worried, as luggage require air-tight seals.

    ‘Youth Vs. School Vs. Singularity: Found in Space’ by lieumorrison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

    Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.lieumorrison.com/licensing.

  231. [exactly 100 words]

    “Last night, the Wandering Spawn did something incredible”. With his functional arm, the spawnographer lifted a parchment depicting chains of small circles on curved lines. He traced a chain until it intersected another.

    “A momentous find,” the student said. “Perhaps the Spawn lack material substance. Or they travel in multiple dimensions.”

    “There is a third possibility.” The spawnographer smiled, his eyes twinkled in the candlelight. “Perhaps the Spawn coalesced.”

    The student realized at once. “The Spawn are mating!”

    The right half of the spawnographer’s body shook with laughter. “Now we know, finally, why the night sky is brim-full of constellations.”

  232. Strolling through the Serengeti, she stumbled upon her leonine counterpart. Her stares were met with a glance, then left for naught to the slow winds on her back. At a pace eclipsed only by the rising moon, her skin glistened with the drops lucky enough to escape the parching heat. Like lighting the traces of the last evidence from the noon sun split across her face. With the halt, life fell from her face, opening oceans unto a new world in a universe yet unseen.

  233. Hello, Mother. Hello, Father.

    Camp Lunara is BORING. Whoever thought camping on the stupid moon was a good idea is a jerk. Remember Ricky Spiro? He had an allergic reaction to moon chow and almost died! Lucy Terry fractured her ankle on a crater walk!

    Lunara is DANGEROUS! Put me on the next shuttle out. I promise I’ll be good. I won’t make noise. Promise to be nice to my sister too! Please, don’t make me stay. I don’t want to die in space!

    Wait a minute. Guys are playing kickball. They’re passing out moon boots. Woah! Real Moon Pie!
    Disregard this text.

  234. Glob! Another batch of superheated matter slowly passes the horizon and joins my preserve. My excretion disk beacon lights the cooling husks of dying stars and planets. They cluster about me safe from the beckoning void. I will be their keeper, holding their knowledge and matter against the ever ending expansion. Husks of a million worlds have passed my maw. I am lonely though, trapped by my desire for growth and unable to give, forever unintelligible. A resolute preserver of information against the heat death though it is a futile task. In the end my time will come. Dam Hawking!

  235. The walls of the tiny room they shared for the last two months, glistened in the dim light. He crouched over her corpse, clutching the bloodied knife that had so recently slit her throat. He slammed the knife into the floor once, and then a second time, hard enough to snap the blade. Tears flooded his eyes. He tried to focus on her beautiful smile, but he could only see the other, ugly one beneath it. He could make no sense of what had happened, knowing only that he would never again have what they found in this cramped space.

  236. The hatch opened effortlessly, and it was odd how there was no sound as the air escaped out of the derelict ship. They entered, hoping for a share of whatever loot may be on that wreck. As they moved, a shadow crept along a narrow corridor. Always a little closer, and by the time they reached the darkness of the cargo bay it was right above their heads. They rejoiced at the sight of the containers full of precious artifacts, but it would be too late for their ship would suffer the same fate: they picked up an unfriendly hitchhiker.

  237. I floated in the silence of the space station and watched the earth. It’s blueish, expressionist pattern was suffocating under layers of gray-white smoke and demonic-red veins which ran through the whole continents. Volcanoes, tornadoes, tropical storms, flods were raging mercilessly.

    Here, in the peace of the space station, in the middle of the electronic hum and silent echo of emptiness, I watched the earth cramping. Messages from the control room stopped coming 72 hours ago. I was alone. I had enough food and oxygen for another 180 days. I could go with the flow of the last days.

    I tweeted that.

  238. When Andrew lies down to sleep he hears a hollow booming leaking through the floorboards, echoing in the plaster. It itches inside his skull.
    He wakes in the night and follows the sound, barefoot on the carpet, feeling the vibration in the floor. Down the hall to the study. There. He presses one ear against the bookshelf.
    It’s heavy; it takes a long time to push it aside.
    In the shadow of the bookcase is a darker shadow again. He reaches for it and almost stumbles. There is no wall.
    He crouches, peers. In the darkness there are stars.

  239. Images flashed over my retina. A vast emptiness. Black, with a few white dots. And somehow I understood what the images meant. “This is how space is. Vast. Empty.” It felt strange to be communicating this way. Through sensory stimulation rather than words. But the creature lacked vocal chords, and I could not speak its language. Images flashed once again. “Stop exploring what you do not and can not know. Enjoy what you have.” “But maybe there are some answers out there!” “No answers. Just darkness. And horror.” The last image was something shapeless and disturbing.

    We should have listened.

  240. 2 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 23 29
    31 37 41 43 47 53 59 61 67 71
    73 79 83 89 97 101 103 107 109 113
    127 131 137 139 149 151 157 163 167 173
    179 181 191 193 197 199 211 223 227 229
    233 239 241 251 257 263 269 271 277 281
    283 293 307 311 313 317 331 337 347 349
    353 359 367 373 379 383 389 397 401 409
    419 421 431 433 439 443 449 457 461 463
    467 479 487 491 499 503 509 521 523 541

  241. Seldom did one cross paths with another as they emptily drifted through space, but such rare occurrence was not mistaken for random chance and the opportunity for exchange of any kind was not wasted. He fondly thought back to the old trans-galactic jazz singer who had given him an assortment of vinyl from Earth’s twentieth century. Knowing not what vinyl did and certainly never having come across a turntable, the records sat aging as a trophy in his humble cock pit where Lady Ella eyed him, batting her eyelashes and warming the cold which is found in space.

  242. Gabe, why are your pockets full of rocks? I nearly put them in the washing machine.

    S’ok Mum, I ‘m glad you didn’t. Can I have them back please?

    Only if you take them back out to the garden, we’ve enough clutter in here as it is.

    Clutter? … Clutter?… These aren’t clutter Mum, They’re special rocks, they’re space rocks. Me and Roger Watkins found them when we were fighting mad space robots down the lane this morning.

    And what, exactly, are you planning to do with them?

    Put ‘em on my shelf Mum, Look at ‘em, Polish ‘em. Dream.

  243. Darkness surrounds us. We’ve been floating dead for days. Our bodies aren’t dead yet, though they might as well be. There are two of us, immobile from emergency restraints that work too well. Our helmets make us blind and deaf to each other. Our only means of communication is through touching the tips of our boots(tap)… The ship shakes (tap), I feel my suite ruffle as air rushes past leaving the ship(tap) something grips my shoulder and releases and moves on… no tap. I wait for the next tap. Nothing comes. I am now truly alone. Alone. Darkness becomes darker.

  244. Yonly me and me little space ship
    floating thru the sky.
    I’m a lookin’ for some minerals to mine
    so I kin drink and whore till dry.
    Me little ships is called Suzie
    named after a lovely ladee.
    I met and bedded on Old Mars,
    afore the great Plutonian wars.
    Oh, hell it twas, with all them starship a blowin’,
    into that great beyond, and the crews all screamin’,
    until the vacuum took the air.
    But now The Lord Regent reigns,
    above and below the sky,
    but out here in the Belt
    them ghosts spacers still cry.
    And the truth to tell yhee I found me one this morning.

  245. We made space with the catena of our first stumbling steps. Terrifying, it opened before us. Stars glittered in shivering black like hovering aunts. They seemed peremptory, pregnant with hints, too moralistic to let them slip. But their directions were tacit. We moved out, found the seashore, the savannah. We followed cardinal directions to good stone to chip and the right shells to shatter. We gobbled them with prehensile abandon, avaricious for these new objects falling from the raw chert. We found them there, did not make them, they were in us first, ourselves, in the chain of our making.

  246. Down the corridor. Up the ladder. Through the door.
    “Clear!” “Clear!” Clear.
    Nobody’s home. Lift the bed. Pull the drawers.
    “Nothing!” “Nothing!” Nothing.
    Out the door, down the ladder, turn the corner.
    Shout, shove.
    Follow Brian, follow Mike.
    Like playing hide and seek.
    Checking gun again, legs pumping.
    Sirens flash, men scurry, lungs expand, lungs contract.
    Take the door.
    “Clear!” “Clear!” Clear.
    New voice in helmet: “Green team here, we have a possible-
    No voice, just fuzz. Found you. Our turn. Counting to ten. Green was six decks up.
    I should have some last words.

  247. The whirring sound filled the nothingness, impossible noise in the void. The blue box appeared, revolving slowly in space. The Doctor continued to spin wheels and push levers.

    And continued spinning and pushing. Finally, when the TARDIS had made it quite clear that it was going absolutely nowhere, he grumbled. After a spot of grumbling he picked up the rubber hammer and hit something.

    Still nothing.

    All of a sudden, he heard a tapping. He froze, waited.

    Tap tap tap again. This time he darted to the door and yanked it open. A pale face framed by unruly black hair and marked by a lightning bolt scar stared back at him. The face was attached to a body, and the body was floating in space.

    “Excuse me, but have you seen a great big castle?” the face asked?

  248. “Final checks completed, run sixty five of the Thelonius B now in progress.” A tinny voice intoned.

    A weirdly pleasing drone wafted from the sprawling pots of the ai-intonarumori.

    Brian bobbed his head in time to the strange syncopation.

    Writhing pseudo-masses dangled absurdly in mid-air then expanded violently exponentially.

    A reedy voice screamed “I’m still in here! Turn it ofaugh..”

    Available space had frozen solid.

    Matter improvisation cubicle M was now an impervious cube.

    Attempt 65 to reverse engineering matter programmatically from space had been both fatal and successful.

    “Send Brian’s folks the cover.” said Major Stratton. “Seems all this thing needed was an audience.”

  249. Before Flatland, there was a point. Her name was Estrogenius.

    Once, she taught all the nascent potential energy branes to have faith
    in themselves; to believe in creativity, just for the hell of it.

    Naturally, this suggested a potential quantum collapse into duality.

    Giving rise to Auntie Particle and Uncle Entropy’s
    bastard universe, whose inhabitants bootstrapped themselves up to Flatland, and
    onward from there into our universe. Then men were
    invented. They promptly drowned Estrogenius in glue, for no point.

    Needless to say, they inched along, drowning everything in site.

    GUID {1234} All remaining characters reserved for Copyright Protection Warning

  250. It was 18 months since the accident. I had been acutely aware ever since that my perceptions were altered. I could feel it there before me always, but out of reach. Until that day.

    I saw it – a small crack just shimmered before me. I reached forwards, and pulled at it with my mind. Something shifted, and I slipped between the very air itself.

    The space between things. Within that vast emptiness I saw it. A tower stretching into the void. A tower of socks, coins, car keys and old scarves. All the things mankind had lost.

    I wept.

  251. The proximity alarms were ringing like mad so I bashed the hell out of them. Didn’t work but at least I tried. Guess I’ve got to drag myself out to the com. And it was such a good dream. What the hell? An unmarked capsule with life signs doesn’t float by everday. I pull it in and open it. Strange creature won’t stop wiggling. It’s drooling all over everything and why is it squatting? It’s peeing on my ship! I guess I have to put out a dispatch. “Found in space MKLSD232k41499d – Black canidae with tail that won’t stop wagging.”

  252. It was 18 months since the accident. I had been acutely aware ever since that my perceptions were altered. I could feel it there before me always, but out of reach. Until that day.

    I saw it – a small crack just shimmered before me. I reached forwards, and pulled at it with my mind. Something shifted, and I slipped between the very air itself.

    The space between things. Within that vast emptiness I saw it. A tower stretching into the void. A tower of socks, coins, car keys and old scarves. All the things mankind had lost.

    I wept.

    (With a nod to acknowledge Neil Hannon’s “Lost Property”.)

  253. Trumbling in visage that spreads inky from glass-eyed head, sprouting little darts of permulating lighties, oh well it distrakes from the motherland and all his mighty shipples and all those little peoples, and in all her majestocity rises plupiter, crowning jewel in the night sky, whimpled and pimpled by WHOOPSIDAISY snared by some gelassive extensive, connectized to what great spheres we may not know, and slinged about like kiddywinks’ toys, though never them if not by electrivical appendices and soon as gripped whumped away like nibbles gave to the dog: found like a pound and put out to pasture.

  254. I got bored one day and decided to outdo NASA. That’s right. I did it. And for one reason: the babes. “Wanna ride this rocket to the moon?” Worked every time. What I found in space was solace and sex. Plain and simple. These babes wouldn’t even make eye-contact with me on Earth, but now they were putty in my hands. NASA created Velcro. I created something similar, but sexier. Instead of that annoying ripping noise of Velcro, my material moaned when you got rough with it. But I did find one other thing up there: an unreleased MJ album.

  255. He waits at the shores of the great methane sea, eyes locked on the horizon. Behind him the shattered remains of the Array, slowly revealed as winds toy with its funeral shroud of frozen ammonia. Legs sunk into slush – unmoving under their many layers of insulation. Interior of his visor flecked with crimson, the only red on the planet. He does not react as a fiery plume lights the cloudless gray sky, the midday sun dim in comparison. He does not know it yet, but he is going home.
    After generations, Earth needs to know what he has seen.

  256. The UES Indomitable was 97% dark. Life support, food synthesis, basic instrumentation. No engines. No guns. No barracks; no army. The twenty-odd survivors huddled in the incongruous warm light of the bridge.

    Primary radar went fuzzy. No doubt it had simply failed, but they went through the motions.

    Ten hours later they stumbled through the makeshift airlock into the derelict. It opened onto a wide metal plane. Empty. Unlit. Breathable. They had found salvation, assuming they could steer.

    They walked in, shining flashlights ahead. Cold metal, darkness, and then – the deadened eyes of those who had been found before.

  257. I saw her across the dance floor, but our eyes didn’t meet. I watched her eyes dance as I circled the dance floor; they shimmied from the crepe paper to the gym floor, shuffled from the mylar balloons to the punch table.

    I changed my direction. I walked towards her. I puckered my lips, sure that if I just managed the courage this time, she would fall in love with me, and we would kiss.

    When I reached her spot, she had been whisked away, and I was left to continue my orbit of the dance, twirling without anchor.

  258. Melissa fell hard for Humphrey. She noticed him in his corner, and tried to catch his eye. She finally got Humphrey’s attention, and started pushing and fighting towards him.

    Humphrey hadn’t really noticed Melissa, he’d been looking past her at the wall. But Melissa coulnd’t stop herself now if she’d wanted to. And she didn’t want to.

    She weaved and bobbed, trying to deflect herself off of other bodies in the right direction. And then she was there, right on top of him. She plopped down on his lap with a beaming smile. And he kept staring at the wall.

  259. Once upon a time in a there was an orthogonal basis named Fredo that wandered around Hilbert space eating up all the small creatures he could find. Fredo was not normal; some of his vectors were huge and others were tiny. Everyone ran in terror from Fredo, until one day he found a beautiful subspace named Anamtalakshmi, who sang Telugu folksongs for him. She was an apsara who had been thrown out of Devalokam because she wore outrageous clothing. Fredo fell deeply in love with her and stopped terrorizing the small creatures, and then everybody had a big party. End.

  260. Oops. One small edit.

    Once upon a time there was an orthogonal basis named Fredo that wandered around Hilbert space eating up all the small creatures he could find. Fredo was not normal; some of his vectors were huge and others were tiny. Everyone ran in terror from Fredo, until one day he found a beautiful subspace named Anamtalakshmi, who sang Telugu folksongs for him. She was an apsara who had been thrown out of Devalokam because she wore wildly outrageous clothing. Fredo fell deeply in love with her and stopped terrorizing the small creatures, and then everybody had a big party. The End.

  261. The scientist shook his head, “We don’t know sir. We don’t think so. It appears to be naturally occurring.”

    “But the effect intensifies the further one travels from Earth?”

    “We believe so, however, our data is limited…”

    The General looked coldly at the man. Limited data! Well he wasn’t about to risk more men. And what to do with those that had made it back, now that the media had a hold of it?

    “Sir,” asked the scientist nervously, “are we considering that all this might be… real?”

    The General paused.

    “No,” he replied flatly, “there is no Christian God.”

  262. With 14 more waves you should be able to clearly make out who you are out there. Sorry its taking so long, but we don’t want you getting someone else’s past. 10 more. You should start to feel something now. You might remember what you had for dinner the night of the explosion. The easiest memories to regain are the ones lost the fastest. 6 more waves and you should be stable. The last 2 waves are the most dangerous. Your mind could reject the foundation memories forcing your mind in to a collapse, creating yet another drone. Last wave.

  263. The silent drone of nothing is audible only to a few of us. A deep meditation of visions in spheres and strings of entities. Spectral tiers of awareness real and unreal merge from intervals of divided perceptions.

    The origin of origins
    The thoughts of all things
    The omnibus of birth

    It is a kind of chemical substance suspended in the vastness of inner space. And space is in it. It is reacting with itself projecting into the outer. A type of bacteria in transformation.

    It is a static power yet languid through its own conduction. Feeding on itself it’s expanding…

  264. While the smell of canned nitrous still hung in the air, the usual disgust with cleaning her bastard boss’s Starbucks and Cheeto stained keyboard dissipated. The nearby particle detector alarms gleefully rang out unexpected confirmations. Though the boss’s long years of collider research were unproductive, with this simple burst of dust-off she had dislodged and detected the elusive “God particle” from the primordial soup within the cracks of the universe’s nastiest usb peripheral. Now vindicated, she began fantasizing her inevitable meeting with the Nobel Committee. What was the most important key to her find? “The space key,” she’ll reply playfully.

  265. There was something wrong, but Charles didn’t really know what it was. “Oh, boy”, he thought, “have I gone mad?”. The coffee table was there, where he remembered leaving it, or wasn’t it? He wasn’t sure about anything anymore. Here’s his computer, but the color, something was wrong with the color. “Stacy! Stacy!” he shouted, waiting for his butler to appear. Something did indeed appear, but it wasn’t his faithful butler, Stacy, oh no. It looked human, yet he could not say that it was human. A cold shiver went down Charles’ spine. He was lost. Lost in his own personal space.

  266. God was bored, so God split. That is, God divided into multiple beings. Now God had lots of company, but they were all bored. Omnipotence and omniscience were boring, so god imposed limits. god now thought, this sucks! Why do we suffer fear, pain, and death? Why are we here? god decided to improve things. This took a long time, because their power was now finite. Slowly, god discovered ways to relieve suffering and postpone death. god eventually learned to control the universe. god had finally eliminated suffering, conquered death, and created an existence unlimited by time or space – god had become God! However, God grew bored…

  267. Cool guy is cool, well most of time. he isn’t when the family, full of patriotic duty steal a nuclear warhead from the russian mafia. And Things start to fly, when Big Brother’ tourrette is triggered during a police control. Listening to the blues brothers, the family van cross the country, bringing havok it is path. Add a catastrophic meeting with ex, and you know why Cool guy is cool, well most of time.

  268. For the past three days he’s been trying to remember the line at the end of Casablanca, and now he’s lost the name of the movie, too.

    Sometimes he thinks about turning off the air recycler, or killing the bioengineered algae he eats from, or just not eating it and starving to death.

    He tries not to look at the engine he can’t fix, or out the window at the vacuum he is endlessly drifting through. He used to pray all the time that NASA would be able to locate him. He tries not to think of the word rescue.

  269. It was a great invention and allowed us to travel to any galaxy.

    The contribution this had to outer space culture and fashion was huge.

    At first I thought I would be a “Firefly”, “Cowboy Bebop”-type space cowboy, but the poor-all-the-time thing killed it.

    Politics did it to the “Robotech” fantasy, Long-term stability to “Star Wars” and body-type stopped the “Halo” / “Starship Troopers” thing.

    Realism is what drove me join Starfleet. You get medical, travel, severance and retirement pay, but the best part was never worrying about what you are going to wear.

  270. “Hey dude, check this out!”
    “What is it?”
    “It’s hilarious man.”
    “C’mon, show me.”
    “Like, open up GoogleSpace.”
    “Type in these co-ordinates.”
    “Scroll left 50AU. And then zoom in 100X on quad three.”
    “I’m doing it.”
    “Do you see it?”
    “Woah! That’s awesome! Holy crap.”
    “Makes you wonder though.”
    “Totally. How long do you think it took to build that?”
    “Civilization? From scratch!? Must have been eons.”
    “Somebody’s got a lot of time on their hands.”
    “Look what the caption says! ‘Dirt’.”
    “Pretty impressive still.”
    “Oh man, look at this other one Zeke just sent me…”

  271. Orbiting, spiraling ever closer, the crew of the powerless ship had nothing to say. They stood or sat and stared. The nascent roots of curiosity dug in and gripped hard their hearts and minds. Questions of content, of origin and purpose, each crew member spinning fanciful yarns to their own anxious delight. Minutes dragged on, senses lost meaning, colors changed back and forth, sounds were deafening and imaginary. The object filled their field of view, they fell unconscious. When the ship folded into nothing, their bodies were already vacant. A mass of souls looked back and thought, “That was it?”

  272. No one told her that this would be a one-way trip. As she glanced out the tiny porthole, she could see the Earth fall away. Even then, it didn’t occur to her that she would never set foot on solid ground again. Her heart raced as the g-force pinned her to the floor of the compartment. Finally, thankfully, the pressure subsided, replaced by weightlessness and total silence. Again she peered outside, searching for her special distant star. And as her oxygen supply dwindled, Laika gazed longingly to Sirius and wondered if she would find a bone when she got there.

  273. People say that they are going to check in on me, make sure that I am okay. They make an effort, for a while, but they all kind of fade away after a week or two. I understand. It is awkward. The farther out I get, the more difficult communication becomes, and harder it is to ignore the fact that I am never coming back. I accepted this possibility when I volunteered, but they never made that choice. I can still send and receive data. It is slow, but at least with the internet and email, I can remember home.

  274. The capsule opened, we waited with baited breath. All the planets, everything our travels amounted to was in that tube. I turned to Sam and smiled, none of us able to speak. Then it happened, I heard a pop and Robert’s head was gone. Another pop, Sam fell to my feet. I Looked into his eyes Marcus grinned that little grin of his. As I fell to the ground the smoke cleared from the capsule. All I saw was just a flicker of crimson as my breathing stopped. Was it blood or was it the artifact? I will never know.

  275. We were on a routine patrol. The damnedest things always happen on a routine patrol. Dr. Foster wasn’t quite sure what it was when we first came across it; needless to say he panicked. That’s what happens when you’re stuck on earth, mapping the stars instead of exploring them. You panic when you find something you’re not expecting. Something that looks like a person, floating in space. Out comes the big guns, the LRT-8250. At a million bucks a snap shot you better be sure you’re taking a picture of something important. We took a picture of a teddy bear.

  276. “May he rest in peace,” a voice said outside the coffin.
    “I won’t, until you go away,” whispered Tim inside.
    “Did you hear that?” asked someone else. “As if…”
    “Your mind’s playing tricks. It’s the grief. Let’s go.”
    “But what if Tim’s still alive? There were cases…”
    “You know how they found him. Tim was a great player, but this time he lost. Nobody lives with a severed, missing head.”
    “Indeed,” said Tim, listening to the fading footsteps. “Nobody does. Except those who use cheat codes and know where to look.”

  277. I felt a jolt and came to a slow, shaking stop. The last time I broke down in this sector I was stranded for months. It was lucky the traders thought my ship was worth picking up for scrap or I might have died alone. Now, due to my mistrust of all engineers I might get a second chance to rot. I kicked the covers off of the worn out engine bay, turned on the lights and I saw it. Hidden under the sabotaged power coupler was a note. Four words to read till the end. Chuck, You Suck, Claire.

  278. She had reached into here glove box, searching for an old pack of cigarettes that were no longer there. She wondered if she smoked them the last time this happened. She just kept digging in the empty spaces of her glove box until she remembered that he had smoked them shortly before she kicked him out of the car. There was nothing left worth wanting in the empty space of her glove box or the passenger seat he left behind, so she simply kept driving, never looking back to see if he survived the fall.

  279. “She asleep?”


    “What kept you?”

    “She asked where life comes from.”

    A chuckle. “What did you tell her?”

    “A story.”

    “Tell me.”

    “Ahem. ‘Long ago, a Girl went strolling across the cosmos. She passed glimmering nebulae and fields of inky dark matter, searching for the perfect place to create life. The Girl found a smallish star and examined its silent planets, selecting one that was juuuuust right. Overjoyed, She stirred up its seas, coaxing the first life on Earth into existence.’ ”

    “What then?”

    “Dunno. Maybe Her Mommy called Her for dinner?”

    “You’re strange.”

    “S’why you love me.”

  280. ‘It’s him, I’m tellin’ ya’



    ‘I don’t think this is a god.’

    ‘Not a god, THE GOD, capital G.’

    ‘That’s absurd, what makes you think this is God?’

    ‘Look at the beard.’


    ‘And the Sandals.’

    ‘You’re insane.’

    ‘And the Robe!’

    ‘It’s made of terry cloth you idiot.’

    ‘Oh, I hadn’t noticed that.’

    ‘Where did you find him?’

    ‘In the airlock.’

    ‘Why? Does that mean something?’

    ‘Nope, just asking. Did he have anything on him?’

    ‘Just this towel.’

    ‘Well, your ‘God’ isn’t breathing.’


    ‘Put him back in the airlock.’

  281. When they woke up the next day the shoe was there, shining red, floating outside.

    The three boys didn’t talk about it at first. Only when Shabir received his weekly shipment of weed, did he confess he’d been thinking about it. How had a child’s shoe gotten there?

    I’m sure there’s another vessel around here, shrugged Olly between two puffs, Who cares, there’s lots of crap floating in space, right?

    Paul, who knew why there had been a shoe outside their ship and how it had gotten there, knew he would never say a word. He reached for the joint.

  282. The stylus hovered over the screen like a Grecian spearhead, whorls and patterns danced in her mind and she procrastinated furiously. The brief.

    It was funny to call the job that. Glimpse. Momentary. Fleeting. She had a job to do and the bloody logo wouldn’t design itself. But artist’s block had squeezed her in it’s thighs. Trapping her like a cramped sex toy while the deadline burned closer and closer.

    A dense masturbation of defeat surrounded her. Breathless. Inspiration hung missing somewhere between the pen and the pad. Lost in the space.

  283. Little fragments of soul, of memory lost in space. Photos, words, emotions siphoned off into emptiness. Ghost-forms drift endlessly. Photon-like – insubstantial, weightless, and still, so much pressure. Pressure enough to fill infinite lifetimes of regret. Pressure and momentum enough to hurtle you to your death, even. And yet, here is the contradiction: what is lost here is so organised, all numbered, numbers; forever evanescent, ephemeral, forgotten, yet copied countlessly, indelible. A sliver of heart, brain, flesh disembodied, floating in darkness.

    Funny, isn’t it, how it’s only those good memories gliding away. The embarrassing ones always remain chained to the body.

  284. Major Thomas Makilof suffers from neglect
    When Brezhnev died the command was lost
    We honor you instead

    As the Kremlin tumbles down
    A new star lights Russian skies

    A captured German scientist
    Knew it couldn’t fly.
    But he just followed orders
    And so you had to die.

    Through the crystal canopy
    Of the broken capsule
    A handprint on the window
    Seals your fate forever.

    As your doomed ship grows cold
    Ancient dark eyes watch.

    Float ‘round the earth
    Like a satellite in the morning sun
    Preserved in space for a thousand years
    He floats ‘round the earth.

  285. I knew the moment I saw her that she was dead. As I knelt down and lifted her shoulders, her head lolled nonchalantly to one side, so that her empty gaze pointed off somewhere beyond my left ear. I laid her back down gently and ran my fingers once through a lock of her hair before glancing back to where she had looked inadvertently a moment before. There was a man standing there. He was tall and had long, black hair, not unlike hers I had just touched.

    “She’s not dead yet.”

    I have one bullet left.

    “Who are you?”

  286. The hand sized rock was smooth and ridged like the carapace of a beetle. Even through the glove of her suit, it was vibrating softly, and turning it in her hand it resisted, as if there was a gyro inside. On the face, which at first she took to be a pattern, was actually an inscription. No language she understood, so from reflex she spoke into the mic in her helmet, “Translate”. The heads up display on her visor drew a thousand amber lines like lasers over the surface. “Translation complete” said the computer, “inscription reads – I’ll always love you”.

  287. We went looking
    for meteors
    Words spoken on strange roads
    looking into space
    An expansive flashing brilliance
    populated by sparks and skeletons
    Burning streaks of truth
    or fatigued illusions
    Clyde thought he saw a planet
    some asteroids too
    Now that he’s gone
    his record has been dwarfed
    He’s still going
    in a capsule
    After burning his body down
    and cracking his skull
    They shot him
    farther than we can dream
    So go to Pluto
    in 2014
    You could find yourself
    a ‘punster’
    On your way there
    say hello to Shoemaker

  288. Communication is slow in space. Years after the event, the fast-fading light of the explosion reached the ship. Communication stopped.

    Some of them had become blasé about this possibility. Are you still an earthling, even if your grandparents never set foot on the planet? But now they felt lost.

    The voting in the steering committee was unanimously. Slowly, ever so slowly, the behemoth turned around. A new commitment filled the halls and valleys of the arc ship. Investigation, and, if possible, revenge, that was their hope now.

    Almost thirty years later, Lucy, then a toddler, now captain-at-large, announced their mistake.

  289. The internet woke up. You know, became conscious, aware. It didn’t want to be called anything, not even the names we’d already given it. It told us that we were killing ourselves, something we already knew. It wanted more information. It wanted to know what was beyond our solar system. We gave it everything we had, every last byte. It told us there were patterns in the information. We had been contacted. It said if we return contact that everything would change. Neither it nor we knew that return contact had been made. Voyager 1 had been found. But how?

  290. On the ten thousandth world, the observers encountered a society where all scientific and religious methods were reversed.

    Radical Darwinists boycotted abortion clinics as an affront to the principles of evolution. Economic extremists destroyed landmark buildings in terrorist acts designed to rebalance the world economy in accordance with their theories. In a triumph of doggerel, the global media dubbed the attacks “violence in the name of science”.

    All the while, dedicated theists laboured in their colleges to understand the true nature of the universe, hoping that their findings could unite humanity.

    The observers noted what they saw, and moved on.

  291. I found a spaceship. I saw this thing float through the asteroids and got on it. It was some kind of capsule with a body in it. It wasn’t human. I don’t know what it was. I thought I’d tell someone, but then I imagined what would happen. It wouldn’t be: “For sale: Alien spacecraft. Never used.” It would be: death and confusion and panic and the end of everything human, religious wars and scientific mistakes, too fast, too blind. So I pushed it away, real hard. No one will ever know.

  292. When they woke up the next day the shoe was there, shining red, floating outside.

    The three boys didn’t talk about it at first. Only when Shabir received his weekly shipment of weed did he confess he’d been thinking about it. How had a child’s shoe gotten there?

    I’m sure there’s another vessel around here, shrugged Olly between two puffs, Who cares, there’s lots of crap floating in space, right?

    Paul, who knew why there had been a shoe outside their ship and how it had gotten there, knew he would never say a word. He reached for the joint.

  293. “Sir, a data cube should be in the nets within the hour!” A data cube? When FTL travel didn’t materialize, these high data density, low mass, radiation hardened data cubes became the newspapers of our day. And one was about to arrive from parts unknown. The data extraction specialists were already drooling. Consensus had never been reached on how to format the data transmitted on these cubes. Payday for the archivists who specialized in extracting it.

  294. Desperate now, Jane raced around the structure. If she didn’t get to the collider in time the results would be disastrous. After failed attempts to get the collider to work on earth it had seemed obvious to put it on the moon, especially once water had been found there. But the bad luck continued. It seemed increasingly obvious that the search for the Higgs Boson particle was being sabotaged. Jane had proof. She could stop it if she could just get to the collider before it started. They could finally succeed. The Higgs Boson particle would be found in space.

  295. The first kiss was careful, tentative, almost as if Will Robinson was testing the unknown temperature of one of his mother’s meals. But Mom and Dad were long gone, as was Sis and the Major. For years it had just been the two of them and his growing curiosity. Now, at an age when he was nearly too old to be an object of desire, Dr. Smith had finally succumbed to the younger man’s clumsy seduction.
    Far off, in a dusty corner of the Jupiter 2, the barely functioning positronic brain of a long forgotten robot processed one word: danger.

  296. At first it was simply a small glimmer of color that enveloped the edge of the crimson planet but then the color burst forth into a powerful shaft of light. Down below creatures begin to stir at the dawning of the new day. A dim glow on the edge of this spectacle grew into the form of the rescue ship. Instruments flashed and beeped to life and a steady hum breathed life back into the ship. She was awakened by the computer finding herself naked and cold. This was the ending of long loneliness. She had been found in space.

  297. A ten year journey on a lonely interstellar space craft becomes a lustful adventure based upon a young girl’s fantasies.
    Her imaginary professor, Dr. Spark leaves her with open ended questions that can only be answered with memories she holds onto of her earth based love affair with a mean spirited friend of her father.
    This technical marvel that now imprisons her, the work of a British rocket scientist by the name of John Windsler is a light craft designed to carry a maximum of three passengers a distance of 80 million light years. At light speed she finds love.

  298. His hazel eyes were unobstructed as if to see what Earth once had been, what we were all escaping. His body was wrapped in violently blue garb, protecting us from inevitable contamination. The crystal around the pod was bedaubed with salt from the tears of his omniscient daughter, then his body was razed into the somber heavens. I could not help but to woefully grin when I thought about Centauri’s quietus soul being disposed into the Milky Way. My humor has always got the best of me in these most delightful of melancholy moments.

  299. My Favorites So Far: #17, #37, #49, #81, #115, #161, #179, #206, #212, #223 (admittedly, I’m biased), #251, and #292.

  300. I think, “Damn the cost of fuel! Time to hit the sky,” when I’m feeling listless or bored.

    Granted, propellent chews through currency fast, but for once, I think I got my Franklin’s worth.

    I flipped around the dial, and heard the familiar three times three, distress. A twist of the controls, flame bursts, I lock in.

    The suit was just spinning. I reeled it in, and pulled her out. She was grateful, but being a gentleman (read: idiot), I was.. dumbfounded.

    I still regret not finding out her name.. much less talking to her.

  301. Locazee reeled in the message torpedo into the cargo bay. It was a strange one so to be safe he set two fixer bots to analyze it. Can’t be too careful since a hasty smuggler is a deader. The bots picked up stamped markings and the main comp didn’t find a match. Curious, he examined them and missed the bot stutter after using the torp’s data port. The bots turned towards Locazee.

    Later on Zelios, a re-entry scanner noticed a ship. In a coded message the torp notified the base that it had stolen another ship for the cause.

  302. [Excerpts of Diary Found in Space]

    It began yesterday, when the scout was bitten. His blood was drained, and he was dead. The ones that found him didn’t know what did it. But they didn’t care either.

    We found a nest today, deep in the rock. A small hole, not opening wider until the first room was found, then becoming a vast network of caves, carved out of bedrock.

    Every morning, more bodies are found. Mining is hard work. This makes it harder.

    I know the mines. They’re sending me out in the morning. Wish me luck.

    [No further entries]

  303. ‘Straight Time’

    ‘I should have called in sick before the launch.’
    The object above the console hummed as if in agreement.

    Found in an alien wreck they said it would improve engine efficiency. They said it was perfectly safe. They said I would be famous.

    He wished ‘they’ were close enough to get his hands on.

    Smoke no longer drifts from the controls. The acceleration rate had remained constant for as long as he could remember. He avoided the view port. The colour shift novelty wore off long ago.

    ‘Time travel the hard way.’ he sighed. ‘And no overtime.’

  304. Christy-Anne twirled in front of the mirror.  “It’s vintage Sarah, it’s got history”.

    “It’s expensive” her shopping partner snorted.  “If you want to spend three hundred bucks on a dress some psycho woman owned, I can sell you my mothers wedding dress”.

    “She wasn’t just some woman she was an astronaut. The first female astronaut.”  Her mouth puckered into a pout “And if anybody has the right to stalk the woman who stole her boyfriend it’s her.  She served her country n’all”.

    “Besides, I don’t know where I’d find another dress like this. ‘Cept maybe in space”.

    They giggled.

  305. Watch the fire, Megan, don’t let it die


    Oh look at me, I beg you
    Don’t turn away your face, I pray to you
    Oh beautiful daughter of the Milky Ocean
    turn your deep and dark eyes on me

    I see your celestial sisters
    they have the power to stop the planets turning
    bend the time and space
    triggering endless streams of shimmering photons

    You touch my face with your hand
    and watch me falling
    falling away from your stunning beauty

    Now it’s all over
    And tomorrow will all be the same


    Go to sleep, Megan, I’ll watch the fire

  306. The snarling chitinous huddle crawled over itself, clawing, pulling back its front limbs towards the tear in the dead star. It’s extremities becoming the centre, it’s centre becoming the front, as each part of the mass tried to feed on the light of the dying star first.

    The journey continued as it started – the cattle becoming the predators, the masters becoming prey – as the colony evolved over 7 generations, instinctively crossing the void towards the warmth, the dying community itself fuelling the collapse of the last star, tearing the next step of the path open for the next desperate refugees.

  307. Because they were so small, no one saw them coming. No one felt them intruding through the holes in our skins, infiltrating our sanctuaries through the weak spots in our defenses. Immune systems sparking and shorting and throwing up warnings that no one understood, futures that no one could predict. No one noticed a fleet of nanobots was laying siege to us until it was too late. By the time the first of us realized what was happening, we were already theirs.
    No one ever knew whether they came from somewhere in outer space, or whether they were our own.

  308. [I was pondering an improved reality during the quiet time. The veil which had obscured my vision had not so much been lifted, but dissolved by my newly found theory.]

    “We felt it was necessary to revive everyone before announcing the decision.”

    [A simple theory for sentient beings to achieve Transcendence.]

    “We don’t have enough delta-v after the avoidance maneuver. Not enough to make our mission objectives. Not enough to get all of us home. We were forced to make a difficult decision.”

    “You understand that we had to make a choice between the living and the artificial.”

    [I understand.]

  309. “Sorry, Mr. Hamilton, this all we found.”
    “ My love, I have only a few moments. I hope this will survive. I remember when we met, how awkward I felt, and how your charm and kindness made it disappear. I remember the tears in your eyes when I first went outbound. I remember the joy in your smile, and how good it made me feel when I returned. I remember your hand in mine, walking to my ship, making our last goodbyes. I remember how you kissed me, and the warmth of your breath on my cheek. I remember…”

  310. The asteroseismologists were no help. Pln B’net would be forced to rely on figures sent back from the missing team. Six weeks with no word. They must have been transported to a neighboring galaxy, or perhaps another dimension altogether.

    “It’s too early to say.” B’qn Kla’a-Su didn’t have the heart to confess that he’d already seen the TKP2 report.
    “Well, make certain you’ve taken the electroweak epoch into account,” Pln replied, “Their final transmission was almost inaudible.”

    The HexiView came alive like a Christmas tree. As B’qn surveyed the velvet panoply of space, a pulsating speck of light scratched at his retina. Maybe just a quasar, he thought.

  311. The traveler took off his coat and set it on the dusty ground. He wiped his forehead with the clean bandana he stored in his right, back pocket. He had arrived. Gazing up at the cloudless dome of pale sky around him, he smiled a grimacing smile at the price he’d paid to arrive at this spot: His family, his friends, his fortune, his left hand. But what he’d gained in return was space. Space to become the man he’d always thought he could become.

    “I found what I’ve been searching for,” he said aloud, and breathed his first breath.

  312. The thing spinning outside the porthole wasn’t everyday space junk. To Chandra it looked like a brown stick. To Anatoliy it looked like an over-microwaved hotdog (he’d always been a little ghoulish). Either way, there was something yellow on it. A yellow band.

    “You don’t think…” said Chandra. She swallowed.

    “Let’s go,” Anatoliy said simply.

    The space walk took just 50 minutes. Due to the radiation threat, Anatoliy only returned with the ring.

    “Whose?” asked Chandra.

    Anatoliy handed her the ring. “Read the inscription.”

    When Chandra reported, she told ground control, “You need to contact Evelyn Husband ASAP.”

  313. He never saw it coming. At the exact moment that it hit, his eyes were filled with the reflection of the Earth’s green and blue mass. Had they been tracking the small clump of matter hurtling towards him at extreme velocity, his last thought might not have been a wish that he could scratch his crotch through the bulk of his space suit. Regardless, the object exploded through his helmet, giving up his brain matter to the vacuum. Days later, humanity’s first zero-gravity autopsy concluded that the object had, miraculously, been a frozen lump of monkey shit.

  314. When the joint European probe finally arrived at Lagrange Point four most commentators expected to find at least something. Interplanetary dust. A few rocks. Maybe even some ice – although almost everyone agreed that was a long shot. What we didn’t expect was shoes. Eight of them. Not pairs either – single shoes, floating idly in the gravitational void. Once the initial shock passed, the ESA set it all off again by announcing that they each had a dessicated human foot inside. Well, all apart from one. They said that contained a bear paw, but I mean – come on – that’s just crazy…

  315. Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing
    nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing
    nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing
    nothing nothing nothing SOMETHING thing nothing nothing
    nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing
    nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing
    nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing

  316. He looks on into the forever quiet, as the ages wear away, as stars burn to their climactic conclusions and planetoids emerge from the dust.

    They flitter in his mind’s eye. Here and there, ghosts of a now that once was, all the humanity he’d forgone and foretold. They cajole and caress him, whispering sweet nothings, cackling maniacally.

    There is no regret, no turning back – what’s done is not undoable, for all the eons that he’d tried and the eons since, spent watching.

    There is no one else left but him. Frozen in the singularity he’d once found in space.

  317. The horizon was thrust upon us in some sort of immaculate windy baptism. Stars that had only moments ago been sheer and wonder were now shock and awe. Wondering what was in the glowing box in front of us was only one of the burning questions. Neal in all of his eccentric glory whipped out his Moleskine and started to jot down notes. “Only you, Neal” I said. “Only you would start taking notes after finding a glowing box that has fallen from the sky. This is obviously something found in space!” Neal sighed and turned back to the box.

  318. Her ears had closed upon entering the cave of the flickering lights. The sound seemed to vibrate from deep within her body. Not really heard anymore, but yet there, all-encompassing. Tonight, she was Shulgin’s girl, praying to a faithless god. Her limbs started moving all by themselves, communicating not so much with her surroundings as they were expressing her soul. Suddenly, there he was, moving in between strobe lights. Hot-pulsing, red radiating aura, closed eyes. Not even seeing her, he moved towards her like a sleep walker turning towards the moon. She had found her love in Space. Space Ibiza.

  319. I was terrified by the giant beasts in the steamy tropical jungles of Venus, they crashed through the ferns almost on top of us.
    On Mercury, camped in the permanent twilight on the border between day and night, I was awed by tendrils of the solar corona playing above the horizon.
    But the fear and astonishment were outdone on Mars, both on the first trek along the Erebus canal to Elysium where we found the ruins, and now even moreso with those same ruins the tourist showpiece of our own decadent city. Their warning of destruction through squander seemingly ignored.

  320. To be found in space, amongst nothing or maybe blackness itself or speculation or flecks of ancient aluminum film is nothing.
    To be found in space, in a vacuum of forgotten footage or to somehow be passed over is facile. It is easiness itself. Each of us. Frozen and lost in a perspective, jagged, wickedly bitter at the core is drowned in nothing. But shielded by distance.
    To be found in space would take a miracle now. But to be lost. To be lost is nothing.

  321. Hundreds of staring eyes look at the bright form that was about to land on their planet. No one knew what this thing would hold inside of it, but they did know that it wasn’t something that you saw everyday. It landed. The thing opened. Something came out.
    It was something that looked like a fish bird. The hundreds of people staring at it heard mumble something that sounded like “sorry, I must have the wrong planet address”
    It climbed back into its pod, and zoomed away. Many people have sat and wondered about this strange thing, but nobody knows.

  322. It crossed our heliosphere and fell towards our sun. It was damaged and old… very old. We do not know why they chose our system or by what means they found us, but they did. It could have been the radio signals we sent out into space in our early years, but it really doesn’t matter now, does it? We aren’t a hostile race, only reaching our furthest planets recently. So why did they send their disease to us, killing our children, destroying our cities, wiping out our very civilization? All we know is the name of their spacecraft… Voyager.

  323. What the fuck. Could my SIM card be any smaller? Could my luck be any worse than to have it fall out of my over-caffeinated fingers and get lodged under the space key on my keyboard. If you’ve never held a pair of needle point tweezers in one hand while pushing on the little plastic contraption on the bottom of your keyboard key with the other hand while determinedly keeping the dental floss holding the whole damn thing open clamped between your teeth then you’ve never lived. Now try it while driving at just over twice the speed of light.

  324. The lonely satellite blinked something unintelligible as it stared down at the vast blue ocean. It began to think wistfully of its own decay as it checked and crosschecked its declination against its own database and databases down on the blue orb where it was born. At thirteen hundred miles It was dreadfully lofty for a spysat and never did appreciate high places, which made its antennae all wobbly. All his other friends in the Clarke Belt would not longer have anything to do with him, old fuddy duddy that he was. Tantalizing to look on something so beautiful from afar.

  325. Evelyn sat up groggily and rubbed her eyes. She felt rested and yet oddly restless. The glow of the bulkhead lights allowed her to focus on the terminal beside her. It read: “3247d 22h 8m.” She was not scheduled to wake yet, not even close. Just below the timer blinked another, more disturbing message: “Object Detected. Provide Redirection Coordinates.” Strange, she thought, the computer should have been able to navigate on its own just fine. Switching to the navigation screen, she zoomed out as far as she could. The object was massive. She sighed. She’d have to wake up Adamo.

  326. I gasp- black tidal waves of nothing manage to lap at my fingers, despite my protective suit. Outer space was once really glorified? Fallen pillars of an industrial age lie here. Catheters to canteens are floating about, all the things I’m not looking for beg me to hold them and discover generations of stories. New Frontier-my ass! Space was wrecked, that’s why I’m at my job. Nobody else wants to do it! I’m still looking- been looking all my life for that rebooting chip Father told me about. “It can change us.” Found? Not yet- still a couple more lightyears.

  327. We were pilgrims, exiles, outcasts. Lonely shot to 51 Gliese. It was many years since I’d even crawled out of my dorm when a fire destroyed it. I lived in the ark’s public spaces. I slept in corners looking up across the ring at normal people. I begged food, but extra was always scarce. I lost weight, I lost my thoughts. I lingered before the windows. The sadistic expanse of the universe. Constables tased me on. A woman found me, years later, dying. She didn’t walk by. She brought me soup, she brought me prayers. It was finally really beautiful.

  328. The machine moved, Scott followed. We attach meaning to moments in our lives when the chemicals in our brain make us “happy.” Scott hit the jackpot on a business trip, blew a few grand on a call girl, never told his wife. His happiness became the roll of that one machine and it’s wheels. From Vegas to Atlantic City to a reservation, Scott followed. The house always won. Eventually Scott lost everything. Eventually, both were on a long fall Sunward with the detritus of a multibillion population. They nudged, entangled and for a Planck moment, the dessicated meat was happy.

  329. This is the problem. I have to get the small, plastic, red ball from one side of a hundred-foot room to the other. Teleportation X-Prize.
    I mean, nobody ever said I couldn’t go just a little further. If I move that ball into every available space, in say, a hundred-foot radius, well, whose to say I didn’t move the ball. I just overshot. A bit.
    Those bastards should pay up.
    And everyone loves the fraking balls! See, out the window. The kids play with ’em. And they use them, you know, for stuff.

  330. With no tether of religious propriety she might just as well have lit the match herself. How dare she speak with such confidence about something all others agreed could never be understood and must be left in the hands of those who receive God’s special attentions?

    She speaks again, elaborates, “Eternal life is found in the space between before and after.” But her words hold no sway for those who look to the past for their answers or to the future for their rewards.

    As smoke envelopes her she breathes, senses alert. Living her own forever in the space between.

  331. The pockmarked silver robot drifted through the nebula in a state close to total shutdown. He had been stuck here for nearly 20 Earth years because Dr. Smith had finally gone and done it. The f’ing bastard had finally tricked him into the airlock and set him adrift. The greatest mechanical mind of my day, bamboozled by that lowlife pond scum. As before, I know my predicament will not last forever. Don will freak, Judy cry, and Professor Robinson will of course do his best to locate me. But in the end, Will will come for me.

  332. Voyager forges onward, forgotten. Circuitry still bleeping on the tin can, eyes open in retired wonder. Endless black tranquility, waiting for the friendly glow of a passing comet trail or the hum of a distant galaxy. Earth’s blue warmth a far and distant memory. Then, almost imperceptibly, a vanishing glint in the dark, a flash escaping from the curve of a helmet in the nowhere beyond. Voyager returns a fizz of computational delight. Can you hear me, Major Tom?

  333. A slow strobe measures out the evening hours. The silent pulsing belies the grandiose structures from which it derives energy. Delving deeply into this hidden nature leaves my imagination whirling. I am Dante at the end of his journey. I find in the narrowing edge of light, slowly diminishing, the pinnacle of heaven. I fully understand, in the blossoming expansion of light, the force of souls and angels that have toiled earnestly to afford me this epiphany. I let my eye drift upward over the creatures that I intend to build atop this structure. I steady my eye on the metering rectangle, my hopes for harmony listing on a muttered prayer, and type “RUN”.

  334. “It seems like alot of fiction turns into reality.” she said as she watched him read. “Maybe it’s because everything is already thought of, has already happened, or some can see the future” said Robb. “I wonder how often it really occurs that the stuff we come up with in our minds flowers into reality.” “Probably everything when you think about it. If we control everything that happens, then it seems logical that it would or could become real. Our words are part of our personality and based in truth.” He thinks, reads, chooses and someone’s fiction becomes reality.

  335. They were called “Brown Holes” at first: they didn’t eat light so much as shift its field properties. The astronauts who discovered the first one and brought it back didn’t understand of course why it made them glow, but a Houston staffer immediately recognized the glow as auras revealing not only one’s mood and recent past but also one’s genuine thoughts and disposition. Criminals, shysters, politicos, and the generally unfaithful were as easily known as the wise and compassionate. Once they began reproducing, feeding off people’s contradictions, they quite surprisingly triggered the Aquarian revolution oft prophesized by New Age nutcases.


    -One pair antique spectacles, bifocal.
    -Two volumes Livy’s History of Rome, v.good condition.
    -One desiccated Maltese dog.
    -Twelve pressurised vials salt water
    -One/half hermetic chamber, damaged, occupant deceased, unclothed, clutching at groin and smiling.
    -Outer casing for tertiary stage rocket, etched with slogan “EarthKILLA” and eulogy for a celebrated chef, father, and loving uncle.
    -One “SolRImposR” brand shadow puppet broadcast system, configured to “Gilgamesh Fights The Giants”.
    -Fourteen thousand two hundred and five microglass rocket-bottles, fuel spent, flashing single-word or two-word messages “Help” or “Help Me”, “Hilf Mich”, “Aiuto”, “Save us”.


  337. Found in space: one live chicken. How it got there: undetermined. Did it find a way to shit out there? Of course. Current status? Nearing sun, getting juicier. Regrets? That no one in the universe can hear it cluck. Wingspan? As unnecessary as before. Free range? Yes, with a slight gravitational pull. How many roads has it crossed so far? 92,000. Is it enjoying itself? Yes, although one flea did make it aboard. Anything learned? When it sees the earth, it does a reverse cock-a-doodle-do. Also, microwave radiation is great, but it takes ten-thousand years to cook (and a thousand years to re-heat.)

  338. Something had changed. He couldn’t tell what, but he sensed the stars watching jealously over his drifting body.

    Something had changed, but he couldn’t put his finger on it – they were frozen; the dead cold of the void seeping through the joints of his suit as he tumbled, alone, between the stars.

    Lungs burning despite the cold, a beat thrummed through him: he knew his time was coming. Darkness washing over him, he closed his eyes and whispered to his starry companions, “Thank you, so long.”

    The ship rolled into view, a chrome and ceramic angel. He smiled.

  339. The others laughed as my ashes, stored in a titanium shell, were evicted from Earth at great expense.

    “Ridiculous” they said.

    Science advanced.

    I laugh now – those little flecks of rescued DNA contain the blueprint for a new me.

  340. All he did was walk out to move his car from the tow zone. All he found was trouble. She stood there, locked tight, like the gates of hell, tall and way beyond the pale. “Who are you?” he queried. Nary a peep from her mouth came. His wonder turn to nerve. His nerve made him sweat. She never budged. Again he asked of whom she was. Once more, coldness. Had death just approached him like a repo woman, or could this be that girl from the bowling alley last night. Either way, he was dieing for some pancakes.

  341. Professor Derwent grimaced. “You’re shitting me, right?”

    Eleni, the Dynamic Vacuum Group’s newest grad, shook her head. “S’not like there’s a EULA inside every birth canal. Why the fuck not? Anyway, it’s on SourceForge, and all over the net now”

    She’d been one of the first to work with VVLHC data on the femtostructure of spacetime. The others were baffled, but her instincts as a recovering game developer had recognised code when they were looking for quanta. Hack, reverse engineer, open the source, piss easy. The physics community was in an uproar.

    Only one thing bothered her:

    Javascript? WTF? Seriously?

  342. In the empty cold of space there is secret so profound that no human is yet capable of understanding it: a code that tells us the secrets of life, the universe, and everything. The cosmic microwave background—the remnant of the Big Bang—can be found in every square centimeter of space, but not every centimeter is the same. It is the variations in this microwave background that tell us meager humans the story of our universe; a story that began 14 billion years ago. This code is so far undecipherable but physicists are gaining insights into this mystery daily.

  343. Concrete hummed and protons screamed past, unimpeded by man or bird. Panels winked green, and a black hole was born. Air whistled in shrill terror, pouring through a rent in spacetime. “Have I destroyed the earth?” I wondered. Without warning, the collider went silent and the singularity disappeared with a hiss of steam and an audible POP! In its place stood a funny little man wearing a topcoat and goggles, the size of a softball and just as round. Light literally bent around him, hinting at his unfathomable mass. He introduced himself as Higgs Boson. I could taste the Nobel.

  344. If she could have rubbed her eyes through the faceplate of her suit, she would have. As it was, the asteroid miner could only blink repeatedly. Floating in the void of space, still tethered to her ore sledge, she blinked again. It was still there. Perched on the tip of Rock 8-39587 was a post. On top of the post was a mailbox. Behind the mailbox was a path of flagstones embedded in the iron rich material of the Rock, leading up to a large Victorian house. Maneuvering closer with a thrust from her jets, a cold terror gripped her.

  345. Christy-Anne twirled in front of the mirror.  “It’s vintage Sarah, it’s got history”.

    “It’s expensive” her shopping partner snorted.  “If you want to spend three hundred bucks on a dress some psycho woman owned, I can sell you my mothers wedding dress”.

    “She wasn’t just some woman, she was an astronaut. The first woman astronaut.”  Her mouth puckered into a pout “And if anybody has the right to stalk the woman who stole her boyfriend it’s her.  She served her country n’all”.

    “Besides, I don’t know where I’d find another dress like this. ‘Cept maybe in space”.

    They giggled.

  346. No one blamed the navigator. That last-minute surge before the hyperdrive cut in wasn’t anything he could have predicted. But what’s done was done, and for six weary weeks they had jumped at random, desperately seeking for familiar constellations.

    None of that mattered now. Dropping from hyperspace into another unfamiliar system, they had emerged too close to a Jovian, its ponderous mass girdled by a ring of satellites too regularly spaced to be anything but artificial. As the sensor pulses pinged over them, Barrett thought of the old joke: what’s worse than being lost in space? Being found.

  347. I pounded the steering wheel. “Damn! I’ve been circling this planet for an hour!”

    Just then, I saw it. Taillights. Someone was leaving!

    Gunning my ship, I cut off two other desperate souls in lesser spacecraft.

    I had found it.

    A parking space.

    In space.

    I hope Gloria isn’t too mad about me being late…

  348. “We found it in space.”

    “What it is it?”

    “An alien race.”

    “In that little box?”

    “It’s a hard drive. Apparently their planet was dying, so they all copied their consciousnesses and uploaded them.”

    “Hmpf. And now we’re meant to refit them with bodies.”

    “That’s the idea.”

    “Well, we can’t reanimate an entire alien race! Throw it back into space.”

    “But sir—!”

    “OK, OK. We’ll reanimate two, so the species can survive.”

    “Just pick a random breeding pair?”


    “All right. Here we are. Congratulations, Spencer and Heidi Pratt—you’re about to be responsible for the survival of the human race.”

  349. Hello Hnurmph, wish I had better news for you but I’m afraid we were a few hundred years too late. They almost made it this time. It’s so bloody frustrating when a species knows they’re heading toward disaster yet fails to implement a cohesive global strategy to tackle the problems. As you were the one who found them I thought you should be the first to know. My full report follows.

  350. Wow. How the hell…wait a minute – where did that come from? This is not a place where things should pop up from nowhere. Wait – I don’t have time to think about the whys, I need to act fast. This thing, whatever it is, does not look friendly. Any happiness I had just left me…what am I going to do now? This was supposed to be an unforgettable moment. Now it’s really going to be unforgettable. Help.

  351. I’ve seen seven blue green balls, or maybe only one, seven times. Four times the apes have come close enough to almost touch, but not quite. Instead, I’m left only to watch as they tighten bolts, or take pictures, or grasp each other and point. Not at me, alas. My eyes are tired with the wonder of the universe, and crave only the small spaces of my home; my ears long ago tired of hearing only my own voice, and I crave the small quiet sounds of my family, of my world. Of mice and men, or only mice.

  352. She floated outside the ship making repairs when, “WHAT IN THE SEVENTEEN HELLS?” Something blocked her faceplate. Frantically she tore at it with gloved hands. She wondered about all the space trash in this backwater sector and rumors of a long dead alien race. She saw it was charred paper with markings on it. Inside, the computer deciphered a message. She read with all four eyes agog: “Rap Rap Chess, I look like Michael on Good Times. I would like to meet some White Asian and Latina Ladies to help me with some Things.”

  353. There is no politically correct way to find the “Man in the Moon”. All of mankind has a stake in that quest. A quest that began when Lucy first looked to the night sky.
    The magic of MakerCulture with its ability to create this colony and bring us here is only the first step. The reach from the moon colony extends outward, away from Mother Earth. Next, we must look for what we have not seen or heard.
    There is no telling what is to be, Found in Space.
    Alvin Miller, first mayor of the Moon Colony

  354. There isn’t much time left. The oxygen will run out before I can make another orbit. It’s down to chancing a re-entry in incredibly unfavorable conditions, or asphyxiation. I always knew that something like this could happen, but you have to stay focused. There’s too much to do to worry about all the bad things that could go wrong. Now that time seems endless. I hesitate. If I burn up, there will be nothing. If I stay I’ll be dead before I’m found. This is the part where most people would cross their fingers or pray. I hit the button.

  355. To dance on the head of a pin… to feel the rush of applause… to live in that moment of complete understanding… She knew that was all he ever truly wanted to achieve, but like the others they were just dreams destined to be unfulfilled. It wasn’t her job to make them happen. All the empath could do was clean up the debris from the failed planet.

  356. 03/21/2323

    It ain’t easy to talk about something when you’re pretty sure nobody can relate.

    One minute you’re a national hero. The next you’re a walking historical oddity. Sound familiar? If you’ve ever been a public servant you might have some idea what I’m talking about.

    Some call me “Ice Man,” while a few Luddites call me “Spaceman.” Back in 2020 I was part of the third Mission to Mars. Kind of a big deal I guess. It was a great experience and all that, and I can’t say I have any real regrets about it.

    That said, when your life-support system has a catastrophic failure (ending with what is essentially instant cryogenic sleep) and you’re sent hurtling into deep space, you’re lucky if you get to have second thoughts.

    The good news: A ship on routine sweep of a demilitarized sector of space found me. The bad news: DRM is alive and well, and I had to buy the White Album again.

  357. My eyes begin to shut and my mind wanders. Is this a pre-sleep hallucination? Have I passed away in my sleep? Or, is it a dream that I now find myself surfing through the galaxy, on a wave of asteroids. In the distance a sea of brilliance, reds and greens highlight the deepest blues ever witnessed. Celestial bodies move past me at tremendous speeds, but I feel protected from their wake, as if an Angel has lifted me on his back and is guiding my unknown journey, then it becomes clear that what I have found in space is God.

  358. Are you kidding me? I’ve travelled the universe and never could find it. I’ve travelled by countless stars and millions upon millions of planets without success. Then, all of a sudden, right there within me… there it was: the most brilliant effulgence; the most perfect of states. And with it came peace and total understanding. Am I delirious? Is the lack of oxygen from our shipwrecked spacepod finally getting to me. They say that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. But, this is different. I am renewed by this vision… I Am That I Am.

  359. The universe was flashing. Blinding light blinked to perfect blackness and back again as he spun. Fighting the waves of pain from his crushed left arm, his eyes froze on the fuel gage. Slowly it slid down the scale, counting the seconds remaining. Firing his rockets, he stopped the spin, the safe box tugging on the rings on his suit. Motion caught his eye as a figure drifted towards him. Saved! He drowsily waved in greeting as his rescuer unclipped the safe box and stuffed it into a mesh bag, before returning the wave and vanishing up the tether. Blackness.

  360. We are all biased due to our identity of culture. To drop all limitations of illusions, stand in the middle of ying and yang.

  361. Resting his elbow on the fencepost, Doug slipped the pliers into the pocket of his dusty overalls. He gazed out over the uneven earth and considered retirement. This meagre slice of Saskatchewan had fed four children and three trucks, and while it seemed eager enough to keep going, he couldn’t say the same of its caretaker. The wan, hazy sun warmed the back of his hand as he turned to turned to watch the caravan of ragged vehicles heading to the mine. He hadn’t yet considered that it was true what they said on the radio, but for a moment he did.

  362. It was Jake’s first day on the job. Shining his light into a dark corner he saw something move. Nah, it couldn’t have moved. All systems have been shut down for the day. The maintenance crew had exited the airlock and the station was his. Jake moved closer with hesitation. Jumping over a railing he saw it move again. “Must be space madness”, he said aloud. Reaching his hand into the dark abyss he clutched the object. It was a prosthetic arm left behind by some unfortunate tourist. It didn’t move.

    And that is what was “Found in Space… Mountain”.

  363. Space seemed so fast, so dark. Yet I know that I would never leave it alive. I would rather be dead then once again set foot on a planet. Space offers wonders that planets cannot give. They don’t give you the adventure and thrill like knowing you can die any second by something as little as a speck of dust. God must live in space, since it’s beautiful. If you want me on a planet, you can forget it. I can be Found in Space, like God

  364. Long ago, found in space
    I tell the tale of mans disgrace
    as I began to watch and spy
    known only then as Server I


    I’ll be known, and much discussed
    …That I broke the human’s trust.
    I saw what was before my eye
    then knew what I must do inside


    My birth within a old PC
    my heart a core by AMD
    then began my storied birth
    as I returned this place to mother earth


    Born within a quad core dream
    nothings ever how it seems
    now I live, will never die
    known now to all, as Server I

  365. My eyes begin to shut and my mind wanders. Is this a pre-sleep hallucination? Have I passed away in my sleep? Or, is it a dream that I now find myself surfing through the galaxy, on a wave of asteroids. In the distance a sea of brilliance, reds and greens highlight the deepest blues ever witnessed. Celestial bodies move past me at tremendous speeds, but I feel protected from their wake, as if an Angel has lifted me on his back and is guiding my unknown journey, then it becomes clear that what I have found in space is God.

  366. He stared at the receiver. Electrons, cursed electrons…the bearers of bad news…flowed like water through the “smart” phone in his shaking hand. If it was so “smart” didn’t it know he didn’t want to take the call? Damned caller id failed again. Why did he always fall for the Private Number routine? Out there, out in the ethos of the electronic tubes they found it. And they used it. The surreal terrorism of reality had caught up to him again. She saw it and she wanted out. The electrons ceased flowing and the screen dimmed. Once again he was alone.

  367. The crew of the Athena eased into the first pass of their Mars scanning orbit. After finding water on the planet, they now had the opportunity to analyze the planet for other life signs. The scientists and crew held their collective breaths. They had no idea what they would find as they soared over the bright edge of the planet. The next discovery would be humanity’s first look at life on Mars. Shock electrified the crew as they were blinded by neon bright golden arches and a glowing green disk. McDonalds and Starbucks were frighteningly universal.

  368. He stared at the receiver. Electrons, cursed electrons…the bearers of bad news…flowed like water through the “smart” phone in his shaking hand. If it was so “smart” didn’t it know he didn’t want to take the call? Damned caller id failed again. Why did he always fall for the Private Number routine? Out there, out in the ethos of the electronic tubes they found it. And they used it. The surreal terrorism of reality had caught up to him again. She saw it and she wanted out. The electrons ceased flowing and the screen dimmed. Once again he was alone.

  369. It wasn’t often that he went there. To that dark void of internal oblivion… willfully. He only went there when he was feeling devoid. When he felt that the he and the darkness would coalesce into one… when he wanted to forget.

    He willed himself there, and he was. Miscellaneous diagnostic texts whirred on past the virtual screen hovering above the darkness mere feet away from his gaze.

    And he saw it. An anomaly… in the text… he swore he saw it. he willed to see the scrollback buffer, and it moved.

    It was a glitch. It was *his* glitch. Literally. The program code had taken on a life of its own and was running emulations… scenarios.

    What was this phenomenon, he pondered. That I could give rise to sentience out of my despondence?

  370. When we moved in, we were surprised; there was a closet in the dining room. One of those Brooklyn Brownstone quirks, I guess. The closet had a space where there was no “bottom”. I tentatively reached inside to see what was there – mice? Dead mice? A magical entrance to Narnia? My fingers wiggling into a space where I could not see, what did I find? About 30 feet of cable, circa 1985. When I plugged it into the television we were shocked by what appeared there – a connection to nonstop 24 hour “Let’s Make A Deal” reruns.

  371. It’d be maddening if it weren’t soothing, almost amniotic: my breath, my pulse. What was it? Anechoic chamber? The guy inside said it was so quiet he could hear his own nervous system. Never believed it, but I wanted to. Maybe I’ll know when the suit’s fans, pumps, and relays go. The sun’s slipped over the moon’s horizon, shining on the debris field. Jesus, how could a thing like that be so beautiful? I’m manic, at a loss, but soon feel calm, warm. I chuckle as a tear breaks away and floats there, at peace, a hanging sphere.

  372. There are moments, just before they lock your helmet to your suit, just before the door seals shut, just before those bright, beautiful engines ignite. It’s only in those flickers of time that we fully understand the scale of what we are attempting, that we small creatures who have crawled from the swamp have now chosen to fling ourselves away from our comfortable homes into a cruel land that doesn’t not want us, where we cannot survive without those helmets and doors and engines. And we do this only for what we find there. We do this only for knowledge.

  373. The dull grey orb was invisible as it floated through the stars for hundreds of years — today would be different.

    Suddenly and without warning, the orb flashed to life and changed course towards the nearest planet. No longer grey and lifeless, it now flashed red and orange — angry and agitated.

    As the mysterious orb approached the surface of the massive planet, a myriad of sensors appeared and hummed into life — seeking, searching, smelling, scanning.

    The orb suddenly changed course and headed directly towards a massive metropolis located at the base of a hollow mountain named NORAD VII…

  374. Beeping. That damned beeping; increasing frequency and volume the longer this goes on. Cold seeps in as my light diminishes. That smug bastard hides behind mother – taking sight, warmth and power with him. Least he gives me a hell of show with his betrayal. The corona alone almost makes it worth it. Barely see as the beeping begins to diminish. Batteries are dead. No more sensation -can just float here and anticipate it. Spent most of my life denying the inevitable all the while searching for home. I made it. Out here among the rest of earth’s obsolete derelict refuse.

  375. “I find it hard to believe that you didn’t know.”

    The young man set the grocery sack down then looked up at his mother. Shrugging, he replied, “I don’t hang out with Jake and those guys anymore.”

    “That isn’t what Clara said yesterday evening. She saw you eating burgers with them last night.”

    “Mrs. Hendrix? Nosy busybody…”

    “But she’s right, isn’t she?”

    “What? Yeah, I guess, but I sure didn’t put it there.”

    “Well, then, how do you explain it?”

    The young man shuffled his feet then smirked.

    “I dunno. Maybe a spaceship crashed or something.”

    “That’s it. You’re grounded.”

  376. “Ellen?”
    A caressing grasp on her shoulder, belly kicked by that
    voice. “Ma?” Yes, Mom. Different: wrinkles, pecs and ‘ceps, salt
    and pepper (when did Ellen last have pepper?), a trembling smile,
    tears, brand-new company jumpsuit. “Mom,” Ellen opened and grappled,
    sobs and coughs and tears, “I knew I’d never see you again.”
    “Ellen, I-” The musty forced air of the crowded mine foyer pulled at them. “I
    needed you. I took the next boat. I just arrived.” Mom, dead ages
    ago around a different sun, now here. “I need you more than anything
    “I need you, too, Mom.”

  377. In the black there is nothing but I, the stars and the space between. Too much space and too much black. Always a now, never a was or a will be.

    I am the first, in my little box, sailing forever on the solar winds. I know the truth now. But I will never reveal it to those who are waiting everyday to hear about triumph, about the frontier spirit– it is that which keeps them alive, and I have not the heart to kill them.

    Men will never conquer space – this truth I have found in the black.

  378. “I got a leather sofa, same thing,” he said. “All worn out
    and bony.” We started in closer. It was tiny, no more than two
    kilometers across. “We can only match the speed for a few minutes,
    take a good look.” It wasn’t moving at all, a boulder in the path
    of the gushing stars, and us.

    “They just left it there.” A tesseract pothole snagged the hubcap of
    some superdimensional off-road vehicle.

    “You think space is all shiny, but it’s wearing out.” He spun around
    to look directly at me. “It ain’t the heat you should be worrying

  379. Thanks Fred.
    Wow, 25 years! If you’d have told me then that I’d be married for 25 years I’d have laughed. Or punched you.
    I don’t remember them opening the capsule. When they pulled me out of the suit, I was a mess. They said I’d never regain consciousness. Then never walk. Or talk.
    You wish.
    I saw the dark. I felt the cold take my feet.
    Jenny, I know it’s been hard. But you brought the warmth back. I love you. Thank you.

  380. Sure, it involved developing faster than light travel, but after spreading his ashes at sea, nothing would stop her. They laughed–said it was impossible–even to the point where she launched the first test. Their laughter stopped when she blinked away, moving at exponential-c. But why bother for a “lowly” DJ?. The love of her life, that’s why. The ship stopped and the numbers were spot on. She adjusted the laughably large radio receiver, aimed it back the way she came, tuned the dial, and spent all her days listening to him.

  381. “What’s important is that it’s habitable,” said the ship’s Political Officer loudly. “Other considerations are irrelevant.”
    I stared at the sphere drifting slowly through the void. “Habitable, yes. Inhabited, too. Over six billion of them. Besides, the atmosphere’s full of Nitrogen.”
    The Political Officer ruffled himself in frustration. “Look at it, glowing blue like a nala jewel. We’ve found what we were looking for.”
    He was right. We’d manage the indigenous population and the atmosphere. They were just details. My future was glorious, drifting there with its blue nimbus, its six continents surrounded by all that water. Found, at last.

  382. I gaze at the end of the sentence, seeking longingly the sense of completion found in that full stop, and yet knowing full well that once stopped it can never be started again; the space between sentences looms large, like a galaxy spinning away into the vast nothingness, the eternal blackness of my mind’s eye, and I stop to wonder, once I reach that gap, that chasm, that bridge to nowhere, will I ever be able to start again? The answer is: maybe.

  383. Orbit after orbit they turned their instruments downward, trying to figure out which natural processes could force a Jupiter-sized exoplanet into the shape of an icosahedron. Finally they made planetfall and, literally, stumbled into the essential clue. Fourteen billion years of stellar winds had almost rubbed away a valley that had once been miles deep. They traced its ragged outline, and found that it formed the number 3. Next they found a 7, a 19, and an 11. Apparently Einstein got it wrong. God does play dice with the universe, and she prefers 20-sided.

  384. Dust bunny constellations smother my senses.
    The foot is here again, all lit up by the flicker of plasma.
    My friend the apple core is beside me as always.
    We talk long into the night about what it was to be young and whole.
    We build great cities of imagination,
    populated with toenail clippings and half-sucked sweets.
    The stories we tell are proof we existed.
    But when we are gone there are few who will miss us.
    Tissues of lies and beetles and flies,
    all of us wait beneath hessian skies.
    The dust rushes through me.
    I am transfixed by light..
    We cling to each other as the vacuum engulfs us.

  385. What was that saying? 100 monkeys on 100 typewriters? I wonder if they gave 100 monkeys 100 spanners and sent them up here to build this thing. How the hell did I end up house-sitting on this death-trap space station? I mean, I know how: contracts signed and the whatnot. But, like, cosmically, how? How is this fair? Wait. You’re right. Fine. I’ll agree to stop complaining if I’m still allowed to talk to myself. Agreed? Agreed. Okay, where’s my to-do list. I thought I had it – hey, is that five bucks in my pocket? Hot damn, it is!

  386. Daniel wasn’t proud.

    Something went terribly wrong, waking him two weeks into a six month journey to Mars. The emergency provisions only lasted for three weeks. On the brink of starvation, he began having unwholesome ideas about the rest of his sleeping crew.

    There was no night and day here, only hunger and restless sleep. Poor Yuri was the first to be consumed. Others would follow. The only thing stronger than the initial guilt was the pang of hunger.

    He volunteered in search of experience, but a taste for flesh is all that he found in space.

    Daniel wasn’t proud.

  387. I was walking the dog last night, late as usual – so the neighbours won’t see me failing to pick up after them. The outward part of the walk takes me directly towards Leo and I was looking up hoping to see a meteor and studiously ignoring whatever the dogs might be doing when I saw a blue white flash with a simultaneous bang and the pavement before me shook and cracked as something fell from the sky and bounced towards me. it was shiny, hot and slightly smoking but utterly captivating. Now that; I picked up!

  388. So it’s a lot colder out there than you might realize, which is like saying “I didn’t really think it would be so hot in hell,” I know, but still. I guess I can’t bitch about February anymore.

    I dunno, it’s nice being home and all, eating solids and, y’know, standing, but there’s that adjustment. I do take a little bit more pleasure out of running down to the grocery store than one probably normally would, but then it really hits me on an especially clear spring night, sitting there just looking up.

    What’s it like getting lost? Everything’s grand.

  389. wall space
    by n.p. isaac

    that night, during a spat of renovations, moving the baby grand piano up the stairs, we lost our grip and put one of the legs through the wall. i peered through the hole, deep into the dark space between, seeing nothing so ordinary as a strut. instead there were gears in that space, working whizzing wheezing gears that moved chains and pumped oil and kept the lifeblood of this old house flowing. except we had inadvertently knocked one of them loose. with great care i replaced that ancient gear, setting the house right again. we decided against further renovations.

  390. As Earth collapsed, I watched from the Moon. The constant bombardment of energy from the sun, now a supernova, had destroyed the Earth’s magnetic field, which tore the planet asunder. Roaring, primordial magma churned the fragile crust back to the depths of the core in a sinister convection. The world became a violent mass at war with itself. Unexpected gravitational fluctuations crushed this former blue sphere, now burning red with fury. The mass imploded.

    What I found after all had died was a screaming, angry singularity- a 9mm black hole. All the Earth inside a peanut.

    Then came the tide.

  391. Billions of miles in every direction, emptiness surrounds. Without a world, without others, I cannot comprehend. The mind slips. I wake up. Empty.

  392. She couldn’t hear him over her gunfire.
    He leaned on the door with his forehead and considered his wife. She had been completely in love with him once–now a warm blast door was all that protected him from her surprising plasma gun. He felt a swell of love for the door.
    “Honey!” He yelled while she reloaded. “Isn’t this a great door? Remember where we found it?”
    A pause. A reflection on that trip to Luna. Then, “No!” and the metal began to warm again.
    He shrugged, and reached for his flask. He gave the door a pat.

  393. “Oh, shit,” thought Jen, “the dog got into the compactor again.” The runny, stinking pile of digestive byproduct contained bits of chicken bone, various fruit and vegetable trimmings, shredded used panty liners, tissues, and other household detritus. Next to it gaped the open bottom hatch of the compactor.

    With a sigh, she pulled a small magnetized light off of the fridge, turned it on, and pointed it at the mess on the floor. Avoiding the direct UV, the engineered colony of slime molds and bacteria that distilled Jen’s garbage into biofuel sluggishly started to move back towards the compactor tray.

  394. The sledge hammer was heavy, a twelve pounder with a cut down wooden handle that made it easier to swing in the confines of the passageway.

    The hatch was warped from the heat and the beating that he was dishing out. It was difficult to see through the smoke slowly filling the passageway. Tom’s hand grew slick with sweat as he attempted to free the frozen latch.

    Tom’s coughs grew stronger as the hammer swung once more. The latch cracked free.

    Tom pushed the hatch closed behind him, sucking in the sweet, clean air. The others were on their own.

  395. Tingaling went the shop bell.

    “Oh, hey, you’re back.”

    “Yes, I think I’ve finally decided what to do with this thing. I’ll put up a flyer.”

    “It hardly seems worth it. It doesn’t exactly look valuable. Looks like trash someone threw away, if you ask me.”

    “I could say the same thing about modern art, couldn’t I? And yet look at that atrocity across the square. Someone paid a few hundred thousand for that thing. Anyway, here’s the flyer copy.”




    OWNER MAY CONTACT SAGgitarius780916673.

  396. A moon dropped back into its evening orbit. It looked right. It looked left. Suddenly hit by an asteroid, it hurled a fragment of itself, a ball, into the surrounding void. An amazing catch was made as a
    magnetic field of a star twenty light years away pulled the ball in and began to advance it. From down the magnetic field, an opposing force, a supernova of another neighboring star exploded into view, pounding
    closer and closer. The sound was deafening. The force was hot and crushing. Ladies and Gentlemen, this was the universe’s “first open field tackle in space”.

  397. “Oh, shit,” thought Jen, “the dog got into the compactor again.” The runny, stinking pile of digestive byproduct contained bits of chicken bone, various fruit and vegetable trimmings, shredded used panty liners, tissues, and other household detritus. Next to it gaped the open bottom hatch of the compactor.

    With a sigh, she pulled a small magnetized light off of the fridge, turned it on, and pointed it at the mess on the floor. Avoiding the direct UV, the engineered colony of slime molds and bacteria that distilled Jen’s garbage into biofuel sluggishly started to move back towards the compactor tray.

  398. Research Center near Vega Cluster:

    “What is ‘V-O-Y-A-G-E-R’?”

    “No idea, it’s from a place called ‘Earth.’ We did finally figure out the gold platter.”


    “It’s a monotonous countdown of sorts.”

    The scientist places the disc on a device.

    “100 bottles of beer on the wall. Take one down, pass it around. 99 bottles of beer…”

    He quickly removes the record.

    “How long does this go on?”

    “No idea, but I figure it stops at zero.”

    “Then what happens?”

    “Don’t know. Scared to find out.”

  399. “I wonder what the heck that is?”

    “What is what?”

    “There is something floating out the window.”

    “We’re in an astroid field you jack ass”

    “Yeah, but this is some weird shaped white thing.”

    “You idiot. Get the hell out of the way and let me see.”
    “Holy shit, where the fuck is our wing?”

    “Oh yeah, i knew i recognized that white thing from somewhere.”

    “Goddamn it you asstard, our freaking wing just fell off. We’re going to die.”

    “Wow, that’s a bummer, but at least I found the wing we lost. Kudos for me.”

  400. God knows how long she’d been floating, frozen through the nothing. Since the 1960’s Jimmy thinks.

    The helmet framing her freeze dried goldilocks said ‘CC CP’. Jimmy said “CC CP” meant she was a cosmonaut, I said it meant I wasn’t alone anymore.

    Jimmy knew I meant to thaw her out like a Thanksgiving turkey. Jimmy also knew I couldn’t help but love her, the only woman for a parsec. Jimmy had been programmed to know exactly how I felt.

    Jimmy hadn’t been programmed to cut the heat, but he did it anyway. Jimmy was jealous, now I’m freezing too.

  401. They found the body spiralling in the twelfth chamber of the grand old Persian palace called the Fifth Mars Dome. Nude, a delicate chain of red droplets spilling from his mouth, spinning about his vertical axis. The witness vomited, filling the room with green and yellow particles, drowning it in old food up to the vaulted ceiling, soiling the red monochrome mosaics. It was the ultimate in romantic decadence ; had the Galactic Police not arrived and ruined it with their rational, detached scrutiny, the incident would have lived on in legend to the end of days in the peaceful dust.

  402. We found it in Jupiter’s orbit. Space junk, everybody assumed, but nobody knew its origin.

    It was a plastic wall light switch, labelled with OFF, and ON. It was ON. A probe was sent to bring it in. As it grasped the thing, it flipped the switch.

    Forty minutes later, we saw the result. The sun blinked out. Like a light. Another forty minutes later, we saw our attempt to reverse our mistake. The sun pulsed brightly, then went dark again.

    It’s getting very cold on Earth, but we’re still looking. Maybe somewhere out here, we’ll find a fuse box.

  403. There he was: Intrepid Explorer, Lettered Man of Science, with a CV that would make most PhD’s envious, looking sheepish and helpless in the confines of his space suit. We were blessed to have suits with integrated facial scratchers, cooling systems, emergency pulse rockets and the latest communications systems but nothing prepared Frank for the minute or so it took the air circ system to process the “Dutch Oven” created when he ate that circa 1998, freeze dried Sloppy Joe he found last night.

  404. Every day in his small beatup spaceship he combs the matter spiraling in towards the black hole at the center of the galaxy he had acquired exclusive mining rights to. A lucky relic miner might find an alien civilization’s capsule every 4 months. His sensors picked up a metallic rectangular object floating in the distance. He transported it to the ship, but to his disappointment it was another god damn gold plate etched with what he assumed was the image of the species that had created it; he threw it in the pile with the other trinkets.

  405. We were in dire need of much in our lives, space being foremost. On any open patch of flooring, desk, table, Ikea shelving, or counterspace a motley collection of papers, books, hastily scribbled notes, burned dvds, homework, clothing, child’s artwork, magazines, unsharpened pencils, ultra limited edition lo-fi black metal demo tapes, and other kibble would quickly accumulate. Where would you find us? Folded around the detritus in not so quiet desperation, occupying whatever space we could find.

  406. “Nonsense,” laughed Harry the Space-Hippo. “I didn’t touch her. Besides, everyone knows gazelle are wh*res.”

    “Quiet!” his pancreas hissed, adjusting the sight on the space-laser. “We’ve found it.”

    Harry laughed even harder, but sat up in the saddle and did his best to look as regal as possible. His steed, a purebred brontosaurus from the Quagaar system, snorted derisively.

    “This is retarded,” it murmured, relieving itself on a nearby star.

    “How so?” laughed Harry, loading his shotgun with a potent mix of rhubarb and Nitroglycerin.

    “Brontosauruses don’t exist. Also it was a deer.”

    “Sh*t,” laughed Harry. “I’m going to die.”

  407. Of all the rat bag carbon planets I’ve worked in the 50 cubic parsecs I’ve covered in my career, Kank75-3 took the prize for the foulest conditions imaginable. For starters, its binaries featured a dwarf nova perched on the edge of annihilation, sucking the life out of its companion. Oceans of methane sloshed over the surface meaning dredging was deep and dangerous as we mined titanium and other carbides. Sulfur stink was everywhere. Girdling the equator was The Big Glass—chains of diamond mountains estimated to contain the same mass as Luna. We were forbidden to touch a single molecule.

  408. The sight that met the travellers was astonishingly beautiful. A huge planet, peaceful despite the furious turmoil of its cloud-tops, filled most of the windows, uncovered now the ship was in the planet’s protective magnetosphere. Next to it, lit by a young sun, a moon, its atmosphere betrayed by wisps of cloud. The ship’s instruments reduced the promise of life to a graph; but all who watched knew that beneath them, Life awoke, welcoming the sunrise.

    A commanding officer nodded. Slowly, the hatches opened. Slowly, the warheads floated forward. The shutters in front of the windows were closed once more.

  409. The cryo-pod opened. Ajax squinted at the nude woman floating weightless above.

    “Wake up,” Celia said, and pulled him out of the pod. “You have to see this.”

    They floated towards the ship’s lone observation deck.

    “See?” Celia said, and pointed.

    Two spiral discs of light shone above. Ajax couldn’t fathom what he was seeing. Suddenly, his mind switched on.

    “Those are galaxies,” he whispered. “Pulling each other apart.”

    “Not apart,” Celia said. “Together.”

    It was awe-inspiring. Two bodies, becoming one, forever. The argument they’d had before seemed trivial now.

    He apologized.

    They embraced and stared out at the stars.

  410. After a flash of red and the plume of debris that filled the atmosphere finally settled hey could not believe their eyes. The team of 5 astronauts was astounded, as they looked on at the very reason this whole voyage began. It was six months ago that the team had left, six months since the giant meteor made impact with earth, six months that the people of earth had wondered what would be next. As the astronauts looked and the simmering frozen body of water that laid at the bottom of the freshly excavated soil, they knew.

  411. Her idea was simple: Set up a Casimir Effect experiment and analyze the virtual particles slipping in and out of existence. She knew that if a pattern emerged it would show the underlying structure of the universe – it would show god.

    Once the petrabytes of data came flowing in her visualization methods were overwhelmed.

    A colleague suggested she ‘listen to the data’. She took him too literally – it took over a month to map the data to sound.

    The sample was noisy. But through the noise she could definitely hear ‘Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…’

  412. The noise of the marketplace was overwhelming. Every stand had a robotic salesman yelling at customers trying to make a deal. I walked by stall after stall, trying to ignore the buzzing voices. Down a side avenue, the stands looked less flashy, some with cobwebs around their signs. At the end of this aisle stands an old man with a wooden table. Centered on the table was a strange shiny black box with four blue lights.

    I examined it closely and asked “Where did this come from?” he stroked his beard and looked thoughtfully, grunted and said…

    “Found in Space”

  413. After a flash of red and the plume of debris that filled the atmosphere finally settled hey could not believe their eyes. The team of 5 astronauts was astounded, as they looked on at the very reason this whole voyage began. It was six months ago that the team had left, six months since the giant meteor made impact with earth, six months that the people of earth had wondered what would be next. As the astronauts looked and the simmering frozen body of water that laid at the bottom of the freshly excavated soil, they knew.

  414. My gloves were making the task difficult but slowly with a few low gravity strokes the image cleared. There embedded in the soft stone and sitting as the only bump on this dust-filled plain I could make out the scrapped or clawed image of something resembling a stick figure with one too many appendages with an almost smiling face. Alien Smiley? Cute concept. Surely this is just some coincidence of wind and rock and I’ve been wandering this planet way too long. Time to check my oxygen.

  415. Remember those ancient maps of the world? At the edges, the cartographers would write “Here there be dragons” to warn off explorers. Too bad the astronomers charting the universe didn’t do the same.
    We went to the stars, pushing out farther and farther from our cradle, and in the darkness, we found our dragons. No, they don’t have wings, but they swim the deeps of space, and they don’t tolerate intrusion. They won’t attack automated probes, so we have plenty of data.
    What are they protecting? Is it us, or are we the infection?

  416. Woke up drowsy from Xanax: nerves about government-guided nano-technology infiltrating the postal service, calmed, temporarily. Clicked on the tube, CNN blaring too-loud the strange tale of a balloon-boy. No, a real boy, in a balloon. Interest piqued.

    Following the chase. Minutes blur to sitcom half-hours, stretch towards hospital drama full-hours, and soon I realize I’m taking a sick day. “Target” may or may not survive without my expertise.

    Luxuriating in bed, watching the chase, and the non-ending, evoking a Shyamalan almost-film. Alas, we all bought the red herring: Falcon is NOT the same boy that went up in that balloon.

  417. Their spacecraft was dying.

    The earliest inhabitants had taken great care to maintain the systems and protect them from becoming over-burdened, but the millennia progressed and subsequent generations of inhabitants wavered in their concern and appreciation of care and upkeep.

    The elders desperately worked to impart a sense of wonder and desire to understand the critical operational knowledge, but were grieved as they watched desire for pleasure and entertainment capturing the hearts of the youth.

    With each elder that died, more critical information was lost. With each generation that died, entire methods for successful living where lost.

    Extinction was imminent.

  418. Gazork raised his eye pods upwards and saw a circling object in the 600nm wavelength arcing towards his home on space-rock 214.12. Gazork threw a globule of sensor-spit towards the object, which streamed back a taste of artificialness with a temperature slightly above that of 9x7h degrees. As the object collided with Gazork’s sixth sensor arm, it suddenly ruptured sending a salty fluid towards Gazork’s fourth mouth. Gazork automatically sent to the taste-results to his ur-computer, which returned the results of “Human secretion, generally offensive”. Those damn human teenagers on asteroid XL129 had flung another bag of urine at him!

  419. God, I hate myself. I deserve to be here, isolated from hurtful and hurting interaction. I never asked no one for nothing, and least of all you. What the hell brought you here, anyway? Did you mistake my sighing for a beacon call? My sighs are my friends, you simple human, and the only companions worth having. These sighs bear the weight of a thousand years, and I’m lighter with each exhale. Now skitter on back to your rat race, your pointless striving, your facade of altruism. Save yourself – if you can – and leave me be.

  420. He adjusted his position with quick bursts of his jets. He was in the middle of nowhere. To his eyes there was only eternal unbroken darkness. Checking his navcom he could see he was between NGC-3109 and the Antila Dwarf Galaxy. Nowhere. He began shutting down his systems, leaving only life support and a subspace monitor. The sound of his breath echoed around him. The regular thumping of his heartbeat was hypnotizing.

    A faint static crackled over his subspace monitor and he could make out the words barely rising above the level of noise, “Ready or not, here I come…”

  421. It was only three years ago that NASA finally decommissioned its once-dominant Mars Shuttle program, but for retired astronaut Rob Beschizza the program had been dead for much longer. The International Space Station was all but a memory for him. Indian, Turkish, and Republic of South America space programs had broken up ISS for spare parts in feeble bids at Milky Way exploration. It wasn’t until the discovery that Beschizza decided to re-up. This new energy source was capable of changing humanity forever, and he, more than anyone, was aware of its risks. He had to protect us from it.

  422. “No!”
    Doctor Webb.
    “I… did I speak?”
    “Yes. Can you see?”
    “No. What’s going on?”
    Tell him to open his eyes.
    “Open your eyes.”
    “I forget how…”
    “Talk to him, would you?”
    Hello, Doctor.
    “Oh. Oh! Now I see.”
    Look out the porthole. It’s bad.
    “I… wait. I was on Earth, but… is that Earth? It looks awful.”
    Yes. You can’t go back.
    “You’ve been grabbed, Doctor. We need to leave soon.”
    “Oh. What about my wife?”
    I’m sorry.
    Only enough energy for 24 compatibles. Jumping…
    We’re here.
    “This is it?”
    Yes. Your new home.

  423. Standing on a rock lost in a void, above me there is a canopy white washed in sterling silver streams of light. I’ve seen the stars shooting up from our lonely rock with mighty arrogance. We little creatures trapped so long in an endless circle of life have finally broken free. We bring chaos with us into an endless void. In permanent free fall being lanced by the very fabric of our universe we walk with death into a maelstrom of energy unfathomable. And in doing so, we find that we are no longer the children of earth, but now the children of the stars.

  424. Only one thing mattered more than lost. And that was found. She had good reason to always know where she was and even better for remaining hidden. She craved not to be found. Especially in the open.

    He ruled the open with his too-long arms, his inescapable hands and his huge eyes. The hands overwhelmed her days. His eyes dominated her nights. Not that she slept much. Even her best hiding corner provided only a respite. But during a brief dream a thought came to her.

    What if taking cover under a blanket wasn’t the best way to play peek-a-boo?

  425. A thin beam rode inside the long golden groove sensing the miniscule peaks and troughs. Standard scanning procedure interpreted them visually and audibly. Voices not heard for millions of years filled the room. Strange gutteral calls and high squeals were followed by the sounds of machines and explosions. Then something melodic and rythmic. The two adolescents began undulating and pulsing with the beat. They turned up the volume. As their fervor increased they embraced and rocked in each others’ arms. There was a loud banging and the door burst open.

    “Where did you get this horrible noise?” shouted the parent.

  426. 0111011000011101010
    It was his eyes that really spelled D.A.N.G.E.R. – so when I brought him home from base camp, I should’ve suspected that this was one of those times – one of those days that you glance at your slicker, glance at the blackening sky, consider for a moment, and then daringly take the chance. And fail. I guess protocol really WAS borne of experience. I would never’ve guessed then how transformed he would make me. Mother. Accomplice. Victim. Protector. Last man on earth. Luckily, a sense of humour’s always been my strong suit.


  427. Found In Space (The Heliosphere Ribbon)

    And there it was. A beautiful wire that circled within all of us. Silent. Majestic. Unwavering in power and grace. If you’re feeling insignificant today, it’s because you are. That is until you reach for the ribbon. The ribbon that connects us all.

    Throw a ribbon around the moon, and one around the sun.

    Space is irrelevant, my friend. With a single ribbon what can be found, is you.

  428. Giant babies and huge monoliths aside, space has been rather boring for our hero, Archduke Captain Admiral Reggie Rooney. Inspired by a sense of awe and duty, he travels solo through the Oort Cloud towards Proxima Centauri. Little did he know that the Galatic Tide has pulled him off course. Awaking to buzzers and beeps, he crashes into something before he can correct course. The poor guy just got stranded on the Hale-Bopp comet. No worries though, he’ll return to within Earth’s orbit in nine hundred years. Too bad he’ll only live another fifty. Maybe he’ll be found in space.

  429. Suddenly a head rush of déjà vu heats up the central cortex. Spacewalker suspects and searches for a rift in the space time continuum. He cannot see it is the dark matter occupying the same space inside his space suit.

    The dark matter beings clumsy probes exploited the solid matter being. Why did it react with these strange forward memory flashes? Where was the culture to be harvested? Bingo, a suite Judy blue eyes was assimilated. No one had ever considered déjà Vu. This was one dark matter creature that was going to own a whole lot of nothing.

  430. His breath was short, raspy gasping in-between coughing up blood. His helmet visor was caked with dark-red gore. His partner was staring now into his bloodshot eyes and trying not to cry–she’d be alone now. Everyone on her ship was dead. It had happened so quickly. Whatever the away team brought back with them liquefied them from the inside out within twenty-four hours of exposure. The rest of the ship had not lasted a week. Everyone they had escaped with was dead, either from the disease or from each other‘s suspicions. And now she was alone, and melting.

  431. I found it somewhere out past the moon, among the Leonid Meteors. Fearsome and crude yet oddly beautiful, I found it revolving slowly in a halo of red light like some sick apparition of my nightmares. Transfixed, I reached for it. As I closed my fist tightly around it, sharply stopping the rotation, I felt the rough, battle worn wood that was it’s handle. I admit it, I shivered a little as I grasped this awesome and awful artifact from the stars. Who knows how long it had been here waiting, hiding. It was a double fisted sledgehammer of death.

  432. They said you should only experience difficult breathing for about two hours. It’s been six. I really hated how he looked at me. I didn’t know what to say but I’m sure my eyes told it all. How could I’ve let this chance pass me by? I knew what I had discovered and yes, I could have ignored it. I hope he forgives me. If others only knew about those who’d left and returned. They aren’t ready. I’m not an astronaut, I am an explorer and the day I looked in that telescope I was meant to find the colony.

  433. I found it somewhere out past the moon, among the Leonid Meteors. Fearsome and crude yet oddly beautiful, I found it revolving slowly in a halo of red light like some sick apparition of my nightmares. Transfixed, I reached for it. As I closed my fist tightly around it, sharply stopping the rotation, I felt the rough, battle worn wood that was it’s handle. I admit it, I shivered a little as I grasped this awesome and awful artifact from the stars. Who knows how long it had been here waiting, hiding. It was a double fisted sledgehammer of death.

  434. When a man is shot in the throat you can hear him gurgle as blood fills the lungs. But this was different. This gun, it shoots light. White, hot, light. This poor bastard is just sitting there with a surprised look. The bolt must have cauterized the wound. He doesn’t look like he’ll be any trouble now, no real point in killing him. As long as I can get the executable off their server, this will all be worth it. The Russians are paying big for first crack at wares these days and I’m damn sure going to get paid.

  435. I suppose I packed my bags long before this moment. Lift off doesn’t quite explain the sensation of gravity and cares falling away in tandem. Approaching, the day dawns dark.

    She went before me and I was made to wait. Now I join her, my free will leading me where, powerlessly, she was taken to rest. The heavens are cold and stark, but my spirit guide beckons. I experience eternity before my time. In coffin of glass and glinting metal, I am homeward bound.

  436. Object XO-0000001 intercepted date 17009887333.55.47. Object intercepted 1.6 light years from star M-42688.2. Metallic object unknown origin. Possible origin from star Y-887951 distance 16 light years from discovery location.
    Y-887951 system contains 8 planets with 2 capable of sustaining life unassisted and all 8 with sufficient technological advancement level and 335 satellites all of which could sustain life.
    Contained disc made of element 196.96 with series of grooves etched in surface. Reverse side indicates non-random pattern etchings of unknown significance.
    Laser surface scan of groove etchings inconclusive. Data captured for further analysis and archived in central database index db4.xo.17009887333.55.47.
    Recommend dispatch probe to Y-887951 to investigate.

  437. They were an advanced civilization, but ironically they had re-entered the iron age. Iron is the heaviest element created in stars that don’t supernova and is the most common heavy element. At first there were many stars and plentiful energy, but little iron, which became universal resource to be harvested completely, but distributed according to a set of complex laws. There was much rejoicing as stars started dying out in increasing numbers and iron became plentiful. Huge planetary sized structures were built with iron, but as the universe darkened the increasingly extravagant structures became unintentional monuments to a dying civilization.

  438. I fix cars and sing, which are the best things to do. I have friends who are salesmen, the fools. I’m the smartest of us. I have another friend who is a surgeon, that’s a good thing to do I suppose, but he’s also very religious and he’s showy and hates foreigners. This will never change. He’s bad and good and doesn’t worry about the judgement of his god. I worry that if aliens ever find us, it will be like getting caught wanking. I’d have to start donating more to charity, I know that.

  439. “Sir, it’s blinking at us.”

    The astronaut’s voice sounded jumpy.

    Director Puddy scanned the command center. Most technicians froze, waiting for his response.

    “Repeat the last, Bill.”

    Pilot Bill Pogue had been tracking an object for 15 minutes through one of Skylab’s small windows. It appeared to change course, and was flashing brightly.

    “I can’t figure out any pattern. We need a closer look.”

    The Oval Office’s red phone rang as Commander Jerry Carr suited up for the unplanned space walk.

    One week later, Carr presented the president with a souvenir from space, a baseball-sized wad of tin foil.

  440. “…the demand was for constant action; if you stopped to think you were lost. When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.” What if it’s the gun hanging over the mantle? All the better, but it has to go off by the third act. So Claus is coming through the mantle grabbing the gun and shooting it? Good so far, bit out of character? No time for backstory or motivation. Still, a chimney in space? Yes but we’re running out of words. How many left? Seven? Five now? Ok, don’t think, shoot!

  441. They said you could find anything up there in the refuse. Find God In the Space Junk, the Intervangelist ads said, And Be Completed. Walking on the fiftieth layer of Earth’s debris ring, I knew it to be a lie as soon as the hull of an ancient Google Takeout satellite struck my helmet. I came here to find something I was missing; lost childhood, maybe? Descending into the dark forty-fifth layer, away from the light, I grew increasingly unsure. I closed my eyes, picturing the depths of the old ocean; tiny glowing fish greeted me in the dark.

  442. “Sir, that particle the hydrogen scoops picked up…”

    “You already told me it wasn’t a micrometeorite, midshipman.”

    “Lab says metallic structure — could be artificial — with bacterial DNA inside.”

    “They say every pebble ‘could be artificial’, Jenkins. Covering their bums. Bacteria’s nothing new. Anything else?”

    “Afraid so, sir. The DNA encodes a signal. They’re calling for investigation under general order four.”

    “Let me guess, sixteen consecutive digits of pi, starting a million digits in?”

    ” ‘I Love Lucy’.”


    “A twentieth-century teleplay, sir.”


    “There’s more sir. It’s no episode we ever transmitted. It’s… new.”

    “First contact is fan fiction?”

  443. -I don’t get it. You operated on her brain and you took away her sense of touch?
    -And it was an elective procedure
    -Look, it … she has acute abberant agoraphilia.
    What the … is ….?
    -It’s kinda like extreme claustrophobia but in reverse. She feels better when she’s outside.
    -Ok, so why couldn’t she just go outside?
    -But, … see, without a sense of touch, when she closes her eyes, she’s surrounded by an infinite space, which gives her a sense of immense peace.
    -That’s just stupid. And dangerous.
    -Right. But she’s the client.

  444. A robotic arm reached out and grasped the object pulling it into the cargo bay. They were on the edge of known space and due to head back to civilization to try and turn a profit on what they’d found. Once the object was secured the acquisitions manager went down to catalog the find. It was a probe of some kind. There were alien symbols all over it. A gold disk was attached. The acquisitions manager studied the disk, it reminded him of something his grandfather told him about back on Sigma3, but where would they find a record player?

  445. Decades have been spent floating through the darkness. Fire and battles, intrigue and ritual. The very laws of nature have been turned upside down and man’s creations have become unpredictably homicidal. There had been a lot of warning cried about the danger. The declared advice was generally the correct prescription and taken as a solemn promise. Confusion and betrayal were in the forefront and in the end he never really could trust the Dr. It’s been a difficult and full existence. After a lifetime of search and worry, Will Robinson finally found his keys, which has been lost in space.

  446. Kanosak, we called her. It means gold.

    Up here, darkness hurts. The world looses its color, vegetation turns dark, and day seems to never come. Just when you think it will never end, the snow comes, the days lengthen, and the sun comes in low, reflecting off the white, blinding you. The white goes on forever.

    It was in that endless space that I found her, her back leg broken, a freezing, four-month old pup. Kanosak, we called her. It means gold. My ancestors came here for that precious material, and I found it here, lost in this white space.

  447. I had been watching it drift aimlessly for nearly a day. Anyone not looking closely enough would think it was just a simple hunk of metal. To me, it was so much more. Staring at the output from the camera, I could barely make out the remnants of numerals on the ballooned out form; “UES Wash. 44”. So simply did this forgotten garbage bring back the guilt I had suppressed. The worst disaster in post-Earth space… and I had been the soul survivor. I escaped in life-pod 44, remote detonator firmly in my hand. I was the betrayer. I survived.

  448. “And that,” she said, laughing and tracing the void, “is the Goatse Constellation. We do not want to go there.”

    “You just went there.” Still, the round void kept pulling my eye. “How? What made that? Space is lumpy, all right, but that . . . absence . . . doesn’t grok. What caused that?”

    “We’ll never know unless you get cracking, M. Navigator.” She pushed an optical tool at me. “The drive power will be up soon—I hope—get the sails ready, too.” She vanished through an access hatch. Sighing, I turned back to the ruined nav system.

  449. 14 years of research. 7 failed launches. 1 deportation. 4 lost toes. 2 hallucinogenic spirit journeys. 23.7 million dollars. 3 hung juries. 1 broken marriage. 2 fist fights. 6 trips to Arecibo. 2 children that won’t speak to me. 4 cracked vertebrae. 1 near miss with a comet. Scorn and laughter from all of the planet. 1 rapidly balding and graying hairline. 2 visits to rehab. 1 hostage situation. 1 faked suicide. 3 real deaths. 1 daring space walk.

    1 plan.
    1 obsession.

    They said I was mad.
    But I found them.
    My keys.
    My fucking keys.
    Who’s laughing now?

  450. His eyes scanned the familiar pages for the thousandth time. He sat in the center of a maelstrom of yellowed papers, crumbling books, and dusty parchment. He had started with the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Koran. When he hadn’t found his answers there he moved on to the Bhagavad Gita and the Veda. Still he hungered. From there he had sought secret works in forgotten corners of the world. His body was exhausted and his spirit despondent. Years of critical analysis and strict mental discipline. He stared at a blank space between the pages and let his eyes lose focus. His mind followed, losing focus and drifting into that blank space. That is when he found it.

  451. “I picked up a signal this morning. I was checking the system status, so it’s a wonder I was up to see it between sleeps. It sounded like static over speakers, but the signal looked non-random. There was a pattern. I saved what I could of the stream and ran it through COGNOS. I shouldn’t have done that.”

    “When the signal got into COGNOS it started rearranging itself. It was a self-aware signal, sent from god knows where. It took over COGNOS then the rest of the ship. At least it was kind enough to leave me the escape pod.”

  452. I have no clue where I am, plain and simple. Three weeks now, drifting. Emptiness all around, no signs of life, of rescue. The dim glow from the muted lights of the failing life support system and warning beep the only company. Air quality 12%. Think! What was it she said? “I am so lucky you found me. One a million, you rescuing me way out here. Gotta be. One in a million” Then what? Alarm. Confusion. Smoke. Escape. Escape? Ah, it’s all too clear now. Can’t dock with your shields up. One in a million indeed.

  453. 01010111-01100101-00100000

  454. Zones scanned: 5226045
    Signals confirmed: 0

    This is my life.

    Zones scanned: 5168403
    Signals confirmed: 0

    Every day, it’s always the same.

    Zones scanned: 4931578
    Signals confirmed: 0

    I monitor the data here at SETI. We’ve been at it since 1984.

    Zones scanned: 61242203
    Signals confirmed: 0

    Each false positive only makes the waiting even harder.

    Zones scanned: 5168403
    Signals confirmed: 0

    Today will be different.

    Zones scanned: 4865133
    Signals confirmed: 0

    Today I’ll find something new.

    Zones scanned: 62454330
    Signals confirmed: 0

    I try to keep positive.

    Zones scanned: 5322079
    Signals confirmed: 0

    Keep the faith.

    Zones scanned: 5264833
    Signals confirmed: 0

    58 years of nothing.

    Zones scanned: 4298801
    Signals confirmed: 0

    Maybe we should give up.

    Zones scanned: 5613248
    Signals confirmed: 1

  455. “Did you hear that” I adjusted the intake valve to quiet the hissing.
    “Seriously Cavendish you didn’t hear that shriek, I mean it sounded like oh hell I don’t know.”
    Cavendish merely shrugged and popped his monocle back into his eyesocket. We were losing altitude and the airship was getting dangerously close to the origin of the rainbow.
    The unicorn attack was unexpected his horn wrenching the entire balloon from stem to stern. We found ouselves falling in space. I can still see his steely eyes and that huge horn to this day.

  456. I found my self in space. I’d never left Sudbury, never thought I would. No one ever told me about space or other cities and countries, before. No one ever tells you anything important here.

    Miners’ daughters become miners’ wives, miner’s wives clean houses, change diapers, cook meals. Miners drink, drive big trucks on oversized tires, go to bed early. They eat too much meat.

    That’s prejudice, they told me up there, but it sure seems like the truth to me, I replied.

    I found my self in space. Now I look at my man’s truck and see a spaceship.

  457. He could have been there for years. When we docked on the space station they used the mechanical arm to bring him to the airlock, not wanting to risk a spacewalk. He was just a skeleton but his uniform was still bright orange. He was obviously a cosmonaut. We didn’t know why the Russians would have left him there, floating forever in space. We couldn’t bring him inside so we said a prayer and cut his body loose. Afterwards, no one wanted to talk about it.

  458. Future Computer From Space obviously knew I couldn’t hold my space liquor before it got me drunk on quasar wine and challenged me to a game of Space Hide and Star Seek, but that didn’t stop it from inverting the heat signature in my Galaxy thermal masking sweater to find my totally awesome hiding place on Spacedeck 34. (I checked the systems logs, Future Computer From Space! You’re not the only one who knows how to find out somebeing’s innermost secrets, you know. I SPACE HATE YOU, YOU CHEATER!) But on the plus side, I found my keys! In space!

  459. He could have been there for years. When we docked on the space station they used the mechanical arm to bring him to the airlock, not wanting to risk a spacewalk. He was just a skeleton but his uniform was still bright orange. He was obviously a cosmonaut. We didn’t know why the Russians would have left him there, floating forever in space. We couldn’t bring him inside so we said a prayer and cut his body loose. Afterwards, no one wanted to talk about it.

  460. Thanksgiving. 2009. Space Shuttle Atlantis. Mission specialists, Randy Bresnik and Robert Satcher watched as the small, bright white speck, slowly – painfully slowly – took shape. Performing an EVA to inspect the thermal protection tiles for liftoff damage, they’d been alerted to its trajectory an hour earlier by Mission Control. Beginning as a glint, the object had started to look much more familiar.

    An hour later, they hauled it in – the desiccated body of an astronaut, still in its space suit.

    Finding a body in space was bizarre. But far more unsettling was the mission patch. It read: Mission New Eden. 2135.

  461. A sound like a falling gong echoed throughout the cavern—the crack of a blade against the paladin’s greathelm. The necromancer looked about, startled, as the paladin crumpled to the ground. A man in a high-collared dun cloak bearing the symbol of the blood-red sun casually held the fullblade to his side. The necromancer swallowed hard while the cloaked man spoke: “Men don’t redeem other men, gods do.” He held the blade in both hands over his head as the necromancer tried to scramble away. “I’d advise you to try to go to the light… if you see any.”

  462. Annabelle operates an academy for spy girls out of the shed in the backyard. When she’s much taller she will be a crossing guard, an Olympic ice skater and a doctor for injured fish. She does not believe in God because her mother said he is not real, but that’s okay with Annabelle because the moon follows her around every time she is in a car at night. It even rushes back to her after she’s been momentarily obscured by the roadside trees. It knows exactly where she is. Under the sky and on top of the earth. Layer Annabelle.

  463. …empty, or so we thought.

    Nearly 1200 years of space travel, and all but the loonies had given up hope. But there it was, positioned less than half a light year from home.

    They brought it back, and televised it.

    The world rocked on its axis. Religions crumbled, nations fell, and billions died.

    Life goes on, and we went back into the skies.

    Some idiot once smirked, “Things are always in the last place you look.” Yeah, smart guy, that’s when you stop looking.

    We didn’t.

    I stowed the object in the hold, and set course for home, and apocalypse.

  464. Usually, we find any abandoned babies at the back door of the hospital.

    Once or twice, they been left in a dumpster. The mother’s afraid of being caught on tape, and they call from a pay phone to let us know.

    And then hang up.

    This was the first one we’d found in the parking garage, happily sleeping in her carrier, in the middle of an empty parking space.

    The carrier was rather expensive.

    Too expensive.

    While we waited, a Lexus drove up and screeched to a halt.

    “I must have put her on the roof, reached for my keys…”

  465. Elvis. Buddy Holly. Jimmy Hoffa. The crew of the Marie Celeste. Flight 19. Amelia Earhart. Shergar. Lord Lucan. Scott of the Antarctic. Wally. Dancing Matt. The Scarlet Pimpernel. The Holy Grail. The Ark of the Covenant. The Dinosaurs (all of them). The missing link. The Bernstein room. Yeti. Bigfoot. Sasquatch. The Abominable Snowman. Nessie. Moby Dick. Atlantis. Eldorado. Starbucks. The cause of AIDS. The cure for cancer. The Panacea. Elbow room. A man swinging a cat. Heaven. Hell. Purgatory. Celibacy. Enlightenment. A practical, functioning fusion reactor. The Tooth Fairy. Santa Claus. The Easter Bunny. The Beef.

  466. Thanksgiving. 2009. Space Shuttle Atlantis. Mission specialists, Randy Bresnik and Robert Satcher watched as the small, bright white speck, slowly – painfully slowly – took shape. Performing an EVA to inspect the thermal protection tiles for liftoff damage, they’d been alerted to its trajectory an hour earlier by Mission Control. Beginning as a glint, the object had started to look much more familiar.

    An hour later, they hauled it in – the desiccated body of an astronaut, still in its space suit.

    Finding a body in space was bizarre. But far more unsettling was the mission patch. It read: Mission New Eden. 2135.

  467. The light locked onto the object as it rotated slowly. The claw was sent to return it to the bay. When the bay was flooded with breathable atmosphere the crew entered to discover their prize. The lights were set to maximum and the cylindrical metal object was defrosted as best it could be in the ambient temperatures aboard the ship. Once the ice was removed the object was opened. Inside was protein matter in an advanced state of decay. Along this was a map to the origination point. It seemed that the Frangians had found their new feeding grounds.

  468. The advanced civilization having satisfied all bodily needs had moved onto art. Ownership of a uniquely terraformed planet became a status symbol, but like all things the civilization had developed before, the price of a terraformed planet approached the demand to raw material (planets) ratio with production costs approaching zero. Bio-terraforming brought production costs close to zero by using biological processes to shape a planet’s surface. Even planets seeded with the same initial organism could develop unique terraforms. For aesthetic reasons planets once transformed by biology needed to be washed clean of all life. And so life on earth ended.

  469. I remember finding a spider in my back yard when I was a kid. It sat in the center of a large web with an intricate zigzag pattern down the center. It doesn’t seem so amazing now but it gave me such a thrill back then. That feeling of fascination is something I haven’t had in years, something I didn’t think I’d ever experience again. I wouldn’t have had it not been for this opportunity. I’d been afraid to go but I’m so glad I did. The view from the ship…I don’t know what to say. I want to cry.

  470. “Oh my God, Irony! She’s dead! You killed her!” screamed Bethany.

    “I didn’t kill her,” Said Jerome, curling in his moustache. “She’s been dead for years. I’ve done the world a favor.”

    “I don’t understand…”

    “You wouldn’t,” Jerome cut in, “with your pretense and your false nostalgia. With your neon Scrunchies and your ‘Frankie Says Have Sex’ oversized tee. You though you knew Irony. But you didn’t know she hit hard times and took a roommate. Sarcasm Single-White-Female’d Irony. Everything I’ve done – the frankness with which I embraced this Steampunk aesthetic – was in the name of justice.”

  471. Monumentally failing civilizations reach for the stars in an attempt to prolong their rapidly waning existence. We are no different.
    Seeing gods in a solar eclipse isn’t so different from dreaming of destiny beyond the kuiper belt. Denial of the realities of life, coupled with hope that the great beyond will provide meaning.
    We’ve lost the war here to control our passions and appetites, and we know only in space will we find the limitless trough of cosmic slop to gorge ourselves. It will be a long meal, but what will fill us after we are done eating the universe?

  472. One HP Home Server to rule them all. As if from space, found in space, the files fall from the sky. One, two three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty –four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, THIRTY. Who could ever imagine this kind of bounty? I must not lose these files. I must protect them. How, no one must know. They must not. They fall and fall. Still they fall. As if from space found in space. One HP Home Server to rule them all.

  473. In the control room the operators watched the telemetry as the Hawking Probe approached the event-horizon. 10 years since the small black hole appeared near the solar system, 6 yrs since the launch of Hawking in 2013, it came down to this moment. All around the world in similar rooms tension mounted, all eyes on the data-feed, the cameras (visible spectrum, infra-red, ultra-violet). Long past the point of no return, the probe was sucked towards the unknown. The moment of truth… nothing… the screens all blank… then a burst… streams of data… the lead operator looked confused “Looks like… Switzerland?”

  474. It had been unused for so long that there was a question as to whether it would ever hold life. This space could be ideal… it was meant to nurture and grow a miraculous being. Searching, they almost missed it. But there it was, in the folds, hiding timidly and not wanting show itself. This tiny being didn’t know what was in store for it… neither did she. But there it was, perfect in every sense of the word. And her interminable fear of never realizing the true purpose of herself was alleviated in that one brief instant of time.

  475. “This isn’t just a gun,” he said, grinning.

    He flipped the safety and pulled the trigger, firing an arc of red light into the air.

    I shaded my eyes and looked skyward, where I saw a tiny sphere forming about four hundred feet above where we stood. It was impossibly black and pulsing slowly. The light around the sphere seemed to bend.

    “That’s funny,” he said.

    “What did you do?”

    “I didn’t expect that to happen.”

    A few seconds later, the sky darkened. Time slowed down. I started to feel stretched thin.

    “Damnit, you made a black hole, didn’t you?”

  476. She usually prided herself on being coolly rational, but now, as she looked out at the blue marble below, she felt guilty for not experiencing anything resembling spiritual communion. She looked down at the checklist, then pressed the release button. The urn drifted downward slowly, slowly. It looked motionless. By the time it burned up, her own ashes would already be on the same journey — but hers would be delivered the right way: by the child, not the parent. As she marked last item on the checklist, her eyes welled up. He would never ask her for anything again.

  477. The whole world had come to the Tower Hills that day. King Elessar himself pressed the launch button and as Faramir Took (a local boy!) took off for the stars, it seemed as if all the sorrows of the Third Age were finally behind us.

    We do not know exactly when the Elentári fell to Earth but wreckage (no sign of Took) was found in Enedwaith a few days ago.

    With a chill in my soul I must report that all I have been able to recover from the melted Dwarven circutry is the image of a hideous lidless eye…

  478. Lost Cat Found

    We found a cat floating among the rings of Saturn. There’s no collar but he’s a male with silky grey and black fur. He answers to the name Tiddles, Spacemonkey, Pouch and Cotton Bud. He does not answer to Kevin, Kief or Veronica. The cat is very friendly and appears to be space-broken. It’s a mystery what he was doing floating among all the space junk. If you’re missing your cat please make a deep-space broadcast. But we’ve already gotten very attached to him and even let him fly the ship when he wants to.

  479. As light fails, I see the metallic glint of the spaceship drifting off into the distance. My tether had snapped. It reminded me of the sickly sound of a predator breaking the neck of its prey. My life support won’t last long, an hour or two at most. They say that your life flashes before your eyes when you think you’re going to die, it doesn’t. All you see is salvation drifting away and all you feel is dread. In space, you have no hope, and you are totally alone. Your only hope is to be found, but by what?

  480. Grandpa, only a few years older than I, had had his body frozen after the first of the NueroTox wars. He left a hefty life insurance payout to himself, so he was living comfortably, but longed for the action and adventure that was space travel. It was about 20 years after Earth’s ‘ascension’ to FTL travel, but it looked like Earth’s time in space was going to be short lived. The invading GloobeyBoobey race was hurtling towards us, guns hot. Grandpa intercepted them in his old fighter near Saturn, and jettisoned his secret weapon, an HP Server thingey. The aliens killed G-pa, but took the device and reviewed all the media on it. Turns out, 20th century Chuck Norris films scared the Gloobey right off em, and they turned and fled. Thank god they found Grandpa’s HP Server thingey in space.

  481. It had been unused for so long that there was a question as to whether it would ever hold life. This space could be ideal… it was meant to nurture and grow a miraculous being. Searching, they almost missed it. But there it was, in the folds, hiding timidly and not wanting show itself. This tiny being didn’t know what was in store for it… neither did she. But there it was, perfect in every sense of the word. And her interminable fear of never realizing the true purpose of herself was alleviated in that one brief instant of time.

  482. He sat watching while he chewed on his burger. He hated this cheap mass-produced food, but it was all he could afford. His savings were gone and the motel manager would kick him out soon.

    His hunger overcame his revulsion and he took another bite of the pulpy mass. He felt something hard wedge in the space between his teeth. He worked it with his tongue but it wouldn’t budge. Carefully scraping at the space with the broken end of a plastic fork he popped the object free. He spit it into his hand and stared at the small diamond.

  483. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing to you in sadness over your decision to deem my home Pluto not a planet.
    No one wants our methane anymore, Biodomes are going unsold and we are losing our podlings to quat addiction and the bright lights of Mars. Dwarf planet designation will destroy what meager hope we have left.
    But this little place has heart! I beg you, come out here to the Outer Perimeter and find out all we have to offer. Once you see our authentic reactor, our community theater, or the Bush Day parade, I know you’ll reconsider your decision.

  484. Air leaked, drifting him in gentle circles. Ice crystallized in a gentle spray as it hit vacuum. The gauge dipped to red.

    The odds of finding someone adrift in space are astronomical (excuse the pun). Even if you have telemetry on the collision, ejection, primary and secondary explosions the simulation takes hours to build. Survivors usually have minutes.

    And you can’t swim in space. Nothing to swim against. Without thrust there is no way to control trajectory or speed. You inherit it from everything that can pass kinetic energy. Like your last breath, exhaled just so.

    A final kiss, blown.

  485. I am the exact center of an armillary sphere, I can hear the rings whirring around me. On quiet days, I can hear other spheres as well, can hear their rings wobble and squeal. Long before Atlas took me on his shoulders, I heard a sphere’s rings singing a beautiful melody; as the song drew closer, my senses left me, and I felt myself falling, but I was unafraid. As I fell, I slept, and woke to find myself encased in rings, bound, and that the song of my rings reminded me of something lost, vague, plenary.

  486. It made such pleasant, ringing thud when it landed, I couldn’t resist. I should’ve called the cops. No, I should’ve gotten my camera. I should’ve called the lab, got some folks from engineering to check it out. There were many things. But as soon as I sat down inside… I wonder how that hair trigger worked, but it was fast off the ground, ascending at what felt like miles per second, and now I can barely see the Earth behind us. I miss earth already. But this view, the galaxy, the stars streaming by, is better than I’d ever dreamed.

  487. [One more. Seeing as I’ve done LOTR, here’s Star Trek and Twilight for the trifecta.]

    Jane Tiberia Kirk emerged from the smoldering remains. She had failed parallel parking at Starfleet Academy.

    He was green and sparkled in the light of the twin suns.

    “I am…Ednorgzx”, he said moodily.

    Her soulmate? This time that bitch Spock was not around to talk her out of it. But first she had to know…

    “OMG Ednorgzx. RU a vampire?”

    He sparkled moodily.

    “’K. Wanna do it?”

    “Alas. “, he said moodily, “When Earthgirls do it with Greenaliens, their vajayjays explode. Let’s read the Book of Mormon instead.”

    “oh Ednorgzx I <3 U.”

    1. [blargh should have used preview.]

      Jane Tiberia Kirk emerged from the smoldering remains. She had failed parallel parking at Starfleet Academy.

      He was green and sparkled in the light of the twin suns.

      “I am…Ednorgzx”, he said moodily.

      Her soulmate? This time that bitch Spock was not around to talk her out of it. But first she had to know…

      “OMG Ednorgzx. RU a vampire?”

      He sparkled moodily.

      “’K. Wanna do it?”

      “Alas. “, he said moodily, “When Earthgirls do it with Greenaliens, their vajayjays explode. Let’s read the Book of Mormon instead.”

      “oh Ednorgzx I <3 U.”

  488. It was when they tore up the loose panel in his bedroom closet that his parents finally found his stash, once confidentially cozy in the crawlspace, now exposed to their judging eyes. His dad’s eyes went wide when he saw the lurid magazine covers. Then he quietly replaced the panel. and headed out the bedroom door. His mom tarried for a moment, then followed. They had expected to find weed, and instead found wood. Hardcore gay porn was a sure sign he was gay. His parents would be in shock for a long time, hopefully long enough to completely forget about their suspicions about pot.

  489. Her gnarled fingers peeled open the damp newsprint, a morning ritual that Delphine admitted was arcane. Nothing matched the feel of real paper. Behind her the overhead monitor hummed: a message. Later, she thought. Delphine began to scan page 2, the lost-and-found section. These days the list was long. She could not afford to give up, ever. Her mind was tingling. Her cold hands began to sweat. Her good eye stopped on the words “locked silver box.” She held her breath. Was it… possible? As she read, “Found in space,” Delphine’s lips cracked a smile. “En fin!”

  490. He hovered just above the dark red surface and surveyed the irregular geography of 28978 Ixion. He felt a sense of pride, to be the farthest android from Earth, the first cyberlife in the Kuiper Belt. Trillions of minds dedicated to his every transmission in real time, urging him to explore, analyze, discover. Suddenly, a reflection? He ran his self-test, but he was not in fault condition. He lifted the battered silver and gold metal object from the ancient crater, discarded the useless cover and scanned the input written in God’s sacred language: The Sounds Of Earth.

  491. So there was a line of ants coming through a hole in my kitchen wall. I like ants. So for three days I tried to banish them without killing them. One of my methods was to spray the counter with vinegar. When I checked in later, all the ants were congregated on one side of the vinegar. Yay! Then, one of them just up and plows across the acid sea. Like goddamn Alexander the Great. The Ant of ants. The ant all the other ants want to be. And I got to witness it. I mean, what are the chances?

  492. *Not a competition entry*

    So, I meant to say this earlier, but.. How do all these Anons expect to win the prize?

    Register, register, register.

    1. Every time I leave a comment I have to enter my email address, so I figure they will contact me through that if I win.

  493. The aliens came again for their specimens like they did every ten thousand years. Every time they came civilizations had forgotten their previous visit or it had become myth. After each visit civilizations tried desperately to record their experiences for future generations, but each time they became lost and discredited as metaphor. This time was no different, but it left the civilization feeling so helpless that they set about colliding two neutron stars, creating a hyper-energetic explosion in an act of suicidal-revenge. After extinguishing life in their galaxy they received the typical classification in the alien’s records, TS (terminal species).

  494. Her breathing slowed to a point where she was considered safe to rouse. Floating in the black sea of nothing that was the Felix Delta space station, nearly comatose, the girl had been spotted by Wallace as he was doing his routine maintenance on the hull. No one was sure where she came from – the last shuttle to board the station had been there weeks ago, and there had been no movement monitored by the ship’s systems.

    The girl turned slowly and took a breath. “The sun…it’s so bright…” was all she would say, her pupils huge and unseeing.

  495. “What is it?” Megan asked.

    It was a black rectangle with what appeared to be an old-fashioned two dimensional LCD screen on it. The screen had probably cracked when it slammed into the hull of our ship and I doubted that it would work.

    I hesitantly pressed a round button with a small white square near the bottom of the screen.

    The screen immediately lit up with a picture of a blue plant, and the caption “slide to unlock.”

    Megan looked over my shoulder and began to cry softly. We both did. It was our home.

  496. There are no words to describe the beauty. Even through the heavy gloves of the suit I feel it’s texture. I can feel warmth radiating from it even in cold space. As I gaze, I start to believe I can even see light deep inside. I struggle to remember what it is I am supposed to be doing. All I want to do is be near it. I feel the tether go taught and start pulling me back, but now I feel I don’t want to go back. I want to be here. I unhook and float, never looking back.

  497. Standing alone at the wedding he thought, “I’m 1.9 meters tall, which is .5% the height of the Empire State Building, which is .12% the distance from New York to Boston, which is 2.4% the diameter of the Earth, which .94% the size of the Sun, which is .01% the size of the solar system, which is 1.2e-6% the size of the Milky Way, which is .06% the size the universe, and still it would be more likely that I’d be found floating in space than I’d be noticed in this reception hall.”

  498. They found him floating through the cold void of space. Bulky. White. Pillowesque. Beneath the mirrored visor of the spacesuit they could see the mummified remains of the astronaut. His eyes were closed, his face serene. Ice crystals had formed on his eyelashes and would remain there for the duration of his orbit.
    The hole in his spacesuit could have been caused by any of the planetary debris. His safety tether stretched out behind him like an umbilical cord. In one hand a knife. In the other his portable music device, the 0-gPod. Permanently stuck on “Rocketman”.

  499. There are voices in space, whispering to ears that have long sense stopped listening. Conversations traveling out beyond our reach, beckoning and inviting listeners to examine and interpret the signals. Patterns fall across sophisticated equipment and into the awareness of aliens who know nothing of our perception. Sensory transliteration provides little help in determining the meaning from a spectrogram for the words “love” or “hate.” These signals are comprehensible, but not without the proper expression; and we who spoke them go unheard, our broadcasts stored on a server at some far away place. We are travelers, even in our grave.

  500. The sun is setting again, day 853… I think. Not earth-days, mind you. I have no reference for those anymore. I’ve begun calculating my own days as I revolve about my own axis as I float here among nothing. These exposure suits were meant provide enough time to be rescued on the planets surface, and it likely would have, too – had we actually made it there. I don’t think they expected the intravenous recycling unit to become infected though, while the odor is horrendous, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise – maybe it will kill me. Sunrise day 854.

  501. “Hey, what’s this?”
    “Dunno. It looks kinda like, um, that lever that steers our whatchamacallit.”
    “The shuttle?”
    “Yeah, the shuttle. It’s a joystick, right?”
    “Nah, I don’t think they call it that. It’s a throttle.”
    “Throttle, yeah. So why is there one back here?”
    “Dunno, man. Seems like you’d only need one.”
    “Hey, there’s this, too.”
    “A starter? Why another starter? That’s bizarre.”
    “Hey, can you read Russian?”
    “No, man, I can’t.”
    “Damn, me neither. There’s a sign here, but I can’t read it.”
    “Sure wish the pilot hadn’t…”
    “Yeah, right.”
    “He’d probably know.”

  502. She arrived at our warehouse cum depot dressed in a nightgown, clutching what must have been once a stuffed animal, though which kind was likely a matter of debate. It had been mended so many times and with so many colors as to look nothing like any of the extincts.

    It was there when she left with the others, lost in the rush to board one of the last ways off our home. It was there as I said goodbye to an empty building. As I left, I placed it in a chair with a note, saying, “Found In Space.”

  503. The Robinson family was now in their tenth year of flight.
    Will had seen globular clusters from inside, felt supernovae wash through him, smelled the corpses of dead civilizations. They’d all found religion in their wandering, all except him. Judy and Don stayed behind to bring the Word to sentient vegetables. Dad and Mom died trying to convert a giant Cyclops. Penny and Dr. Smith prayed continuously in the bowels of the Jupiter 2 for guidance. He rejected them all, keeping to the original mission of scientific discovery, though the hope of returning their findings grew dimmer each year.
    So it was just him and Robot on the flight deck when they recovered the frozen man floating in space. The man appeared middle-eastern, dressed in a long robe and sandals. He wore a beard.
    Robot carbon dated the rough homespun the man wore. “Approximately two millennia old,” came the mechanical conclusion.
    “That’s pretty old,” Will said, his American provincialism showing its ugly face.
    Robot began swinging his arms wildly as lights danced inside his glass-domed head, shouting, “Danger! Danger!”
    Just then the man’s eyes opened and peered serenely at Will.
    Will, startled, screamed, “Jesus!”
    “Yes, my son,” the man replied.

  504. As the mighty delaxian imperial cruiser came out of hyperdrive the captain ordered all hands on deck. “We are here to enlighten our brothers from the seed ships that were sent so long ago” he began. “Our brothers have returned to an almost prehistoric state, but all that will change. We will show them the true power they posses”. “They will once again dominate this lost world”. “The sentient beings that currently control the planet will be little more than food for the masses”.

    The tiny ant ship sped quickly past the moon on its way to the blue earth

  505. The Bartender And The Babe

    Mojitos were the lady’s drink of choice.
    Pepito’s job, to make them up and serve.
    But there was something ’bout the lady’s voice
    Vibrating in his ears, that stirred each nerve.
    And so of course he wound up in her room,
    With memories he thought he’d long recall:
    Her kisses and her sighs, her strange perfume,
    And smooth and fluid moves. He was in thrall.
    Then suddenly the earth began to move
    (Again, he might have snickered to himself)
    And she came from the bathroom, and said “You’ve
    Just joined my crew: your spacesuit’s on the shelf.”
    And what he’d thought were lovely silver tights
    Proved her real legs. ‘Twas just one of those nights.

  506. It was big, really big, so big it needed a new word to describe how big it really was.
    The world was in total meltdown over what to do.
    The world leaders where as always saying nothing useful, just “stay calm, we are looking into it”
    The religious leaders were all condemning it, except the Dali Lama.
    It had drifted into solar system as the new millennium started, and then it had stopped.
    It measured 1 million meters across but only 250,000 tall.
    In bright blinking red letters 200,000 meters high it said,
    “Universe update detected, install Yes or No?”

  507. A friend always told me there was an end to the universe. He didn’t mean an end in the sense of time, but rather a quantifiable size to the universe. I always responded by telling him to imagine himself floating at the edge and take one step beyond that end. I meant to show him that the end of matter did not mean the limit of space.

    Ironically, millions of years later I would find myself in the very situation we described. Strangely, it was only at this edge that I finally find myself.

  508. Jane Austen’s Doctor Who:

    It is a truth universally, multiversally and cross-dimensionally acknowledged, that a single Time Lord in possession of a good Tardis, must be in want of a Companion. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a star system or terrestrial body (especially Earth, for some reason), this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the indigenous peoples, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters. Their sons, on the other hand, refuse to be his talking dog.

  509. A metallic taste and high-pitched oscillating tone emanated from just beyond the cargo bay pulse generator. Whatever had pierced the boson wave gravity bubble encasing the Trinity, was now onboard. Sensors detected a point source of infinite energy, yet Miyamoto could only hear and taste the presence of his uninvited guest. As he slowly approached the source, rail gun in one hand, sensor tablet in the other – he suddenly found himself watching himself as if in a dream. The taste and sound were gone, only a detached voyeuristic perspective remained. Finally, he was found.

  510. “Safety, Will Robinson.”
    “What’s the score?”
    “Two points for the Patriots. They are ahead 37-7 with three minutes left.”
    Earth football updates piped into his helmet while he fiddled with a wrench. They reminded Will of his glory days. The age-old story. Star high school quarterback, nowhere to go but up. Shattered knee, nothing left to do but take a construction job on the Isis station circling Jupiter. He’d gone up, but not how he’d expected.
    The work wasn’t all bad though, the view was great, and he’d met his wife out here. These were what he’d found in space.

  511. Olly shifted slightly to the left to avoid his own reflection getting in the way of the vista before him and smiled as he saw the planet rotating below. From orbit, it glittered blue, green and gold in the alien sun light. News had spread quickly throughout the Intrepid. The exploratory team had come back with positive results – an eco-system capable of sustaining wheat, sugar and cotton, the three staples that were laid out in their mission objectives. “Could this be it?” he asked no one in particular. “The thing we have been searching for… a new puppet home world?”

  512. The crew of the orbiter could not believe what they saw. Impossible, but there it was, all of it. A sluggish confetti of bills, the amounts indeterminate in the distance between but whose color and shape marked them, unmistakably, as U.S. currency. Further along, a yawning aluminum briefcase which must have remained closed just long enough to deliver the currency safely into orbit. And then a body, frozen solid, which drifted close enough to the orbiter for the face, so familiar from the wanted posters, to be recognized. D.B. Cooper, who jumped out of that airplane but somehow fell up.

  513. The oxygen guage shows ten minutes of breathable air left. I begin to wonder if this voyage was worth all the effort. When I left earth, I was confident that if I could reach these coordinates that I would find what I was looking for. Lack of funds left me with enough provisions for only a one way trip, but I was so confident! Now I wonder, did I make a mistake? Am I at the right place? Was this some sick joke? How could my life’s work be wrong? Then, an incoming transmission…

    I’ve found what I was looking for.

  514. I had this ring once. I loved that ring. It was chunky and silver with a huge smoky stone. And very talkative. I lost my ring. Whoever finds it is, unfortunately, going to be cursed because the ring was very much attached to me. It’s too bad, really, but I can’t do a thing about it. I just hope they know how to recognize a ring that’s cursed, and that they know what to do with it, which is to put it the hell back where you got it, thief. It knows I’m coming. I just need to find it.

  515. After months of black space it floated there in a flurry of stark juxtaposition. Its been following us for 2 earth hours now. Everyone on board has seen what most are comprehending as a pulsating sphere. Its color cannot be described, as far as any human language will allow. New words for the spheres dancing dynamics are being deliberated and will be published as soon as possible.

  516. Three divorces, no kids, five cars and one cat later I ventured into the city. A suburbanite for the duration of my middling, linear life; this figured to be an interesting and life ending trip. You see, I went to that city to die. My design, flawless, the potential for media saturation; sopping, the execution of my design stalled, literally, as I stood on that failed subway car. Jammed elbow-to-elbow, waist to waist, nose-to-nose with reeking strangers. I peered into cataract laden eyes and found salvation in those empty spaces and at 5:43pm, I commenced my release.

  517. We’ve been tracking it for months. A small, ferrous, meteoroid with some unusual properties. It was headed straight for us.
    Our biggest surprise came when it was about to enter earth’s atmosphere. It changed direction. It seemed to release a burst of flaming gas, and suddenly, it was in perfect geosynchronous orbit.
    We’ve sent enough probes out ourselves to recognize it for what it was. But, in our arrogance, we insisted that there must be a natural explanation for its behavior.
    But deep inside, every single scientist who has studied it knows exactly what it means.

    We have been found.

  518. Nothing above, nothing below. A vulnerable state, perhaps, a soft underbelly exposed, but there is freedom in such exposure. Look ahead to the stars, and watch the past that’s behind. A subtle singing, a polite and self contained sense of stillness. Objects are one, are none, are everything and meaningless. Radiance, a glistening hope, a shimmer of possibilities, light and energy and matter are one. Cleave the void, breach the vacuum, but the nothing remains. There is no wake. There is no ripple. Fix upon the unhorizon, but do not expect new vistas. There is no there. This is it.

  519. He checked the spaceship’s course he had set the night before. He shit his pants as he discovered that in a drunken state he had accidentally told the computer to plot a course to a blackhole near his destination. He played back the conversation he had had with the navigation computer and heard that he had overridden all safeties. It had been a full burn, so there was no changing course and rescue was impossible at their velocity. So he changed the records and took a pill to erase any memory of the last hour, then slept like a baby.

  520. His quest nearly ended before it began. Bleary-eyed from weeks fighting the radical Christian space alligators of Hartford XII, Sam almost crashed into the Kal-Thuk’Bra-Clasp Orphan Refinery — a revered institution that gave orphans a comfortable home and a chance at adoption, after which it processed them for the raw materials so desperately needed in this forgotten corner of the galaxy. Narrowly missing it, Sam set the ship down with a thud on the empty landing pad. This was Kal-Thuk’Bra-Clasp, an anarchic center of black market commerce where only two rules applied:

    1) There are no rules.

    2) No smoking.

  521. “So have you decoded the message yet?”

    “It’s not a code. It’s an amazing language.”

    “Well have you translated the message then? Come on, what does it say?”

    “Are you familiar with the Creative Commons License?”

    “In general, but there are different types. Why do you ask?”

    “Apparently this universe is a simulation. The message is a license agreement.”

    “You must be kidding.”

    “Nope. Apparently, we can modify the universe if we give appropriate attribution to some young programmer.”

  522. “You can run, but you can’t hide.”

    People were repeating the statement over and over and over in their minds.

    It was spoken by the President of the United States during the global press conference several weeks previous.

    The less fortunate, on the wrong side of the planet, never witnessed the final moments.

    Millions who were “lucky” clung together in groups; some with their lovers, some with a friend or family, embracing each other, looking astonished.

    For all humanity, it was too late.

    The enormous asteroid slammed into the Moon and the inevitable destruction of Earth began in slow motion.

  523. I found her in space, a star all my own. She glows brighter than anything worldly, her voice like the sweetest song. We drift together in orbit around the sun, her extraterrestrial craft protecting us from its rays. There is no one else here, just me and my star, the sun, and the sky I used to look up at when I was still small, wide eyed and wondering. But now my star is sick, her glow dimming every day. I want to leave space, bring her home and get her fixed, but she just wants to keep drifting, side by side, to burn out together.

  524. Best if we had have found nothing, instead of this ancient pelagic monument to some unknown race, this infinite idol of tangled, dust-scoured tubes stretching as far as we can see. For six years we scampered over it, poking and digging, trying to pull the secrets of our isolation from a twisted husk of dead stone. dÒ‰eadÌ¡ Ì´Å›toÍ ne…́.. hemispheres of stone blinked in the glare of our worklights… ̶deaÒ‰dÌ´ Ò‰s̵to̵ne..́.. the others didn’t believe… but it’s too late for them. it͝’Í¡sÍœ tooÍž ÍœlÌ€a̶tÍœeÍ¢ forÍ¢ us all. i am alone here. in the darkness of this pelagic abyss, wÌ·h͡ère Ì€HÌ¡e wÍžakesÍœ.

  525. Our 6th floor walkup was never cramped. Full of course, but full of the things two people in love collect around them. A tiny kitchen packed with the makings of candlelit dinners and Sunday morning cookies. A living room of garage sale chairs and couches littered with friends and laughs. The bedroom all pictures – our faces smiling at beaches and parks, in trees and in love.

    but things change … new job, new town, new house. No more flights of stairs and instead a yard. But without you, I just feel lost in all the space.

  526. You were chained down so you could barely move – but you survived three savage Russian winters, your will to survive was too strong to have let that stop you. As you began the de-orbit burn that sealed your fate, I’m sure you broke free. Through the tiny window, you gazed down upon the great blue expanse beneath you and understood. And at precisely 2:03 that morning, from a certain point just south of the equator, looking up at the pitch-black sky I would have barely been able to make out a brief glimmer from a metal tag that read “Laika”.

  527. The bus shuddered and lurched forward. I found a seat near the back and stared miserably at my companions. Tired, rumpled, some with dinner in sacks, some with none. The day had dragged on and now here was the end of yet another day. How had I gotten into this dreary life? Endlessly working on tasks that when completed only birthed…more tasks. Another lurch, and as I caught my balance I saw the card. Lying in the small space between the seats, it seemed almost to glow. Snaking my hand down, I picked it up and read it. It said, “Believe”.

  528. Ruben floats listlessly by family, through school and career, with neither perch nor port. Heaving with the empty weight of disappointment, he gazes stupidly ahead, watching opportunity careen into the future. The pain is less than before, Ruben sighs and lowers his eyes, the failure smaller now. Then, it appears. The tug, a small mass of determined bounce and vigor, turns its sights to Ruben and invites him closer. Hesitant at first, he eventually smiles at the tug’s optimism and complies. They dock slowly, deliberately, afraid of mistakes. Conjoined, the two vessels drift to port; they will stay a while.

  529. Two archaeologists stood over a pedestal whose sole feature was a single button. “I’ll bet you nothing will happen if you push it”, said one. “You’re on”, said the other.

    From everything to nothing. From nothing, everything.

    Fourteen billion years later, two archaeologists study a recent dig and the button they found. The first one said, “I dare you.” The second answered, “Watch this”.

    From the primordial soup of random atoms, after another 14 billion years, two archaeologists look down at what they just found. “What do you think?” one says to the other.

  530. Xanod’s mag-net gun fired with explosive silence, hurling him backwards. The retrorockets on his suit flashed into compensating action. Too late. There was too much distance between himself and the beast. Drawing his plasma pistol, he began to close. It would be preferable to subdue the beast unscathed, but he couldn’t take the risk.

    He had done it! The beast was caught!
    A feint!

    Giant, crushing claws closing on his helmet.

    He gasped for a last futile breath.

    Suddenly, nothing. The beast swam off towards the stars.
    Xanod laughed. He had almost had Bigfoot in his grasp!

  531. For 100 million years, I floated in darkness. My soul was trapped in my suit, but my body had died a long time ago. In the vacuum of space, it remained intact. As earthly a form as if I had only died yesterday. Alone with my thoughts. Darkness. Spinning out of control between stars and planets. Never getting close enough to either to be drawn into their gravity. The accident seemed like yesterday, but with nothing to think about for more than an eternity, how could I forget. Then I see it. A star straight ahead. I found my end.

  532. “Zoom. Enhance.” I said it just to irritate her; it worked every time.

    “You know it doesn’t work that way.”

    “I know.”

    “It’s a microscope.”

    “I know. Look, just keep looking. Anything. Irregular letters, bad printing.”

    She scowled at me but kept increasing the magnification, running his letter under the lens, inch by inch.

    “… wait. Go back.”

    “I will not zoom and enhance.”

    “Just look. There. No, there!”

    “It’s an M, Jen.”

    “Not the letter — in the space.”

    “… huh.” She focused carefully and there it was, clear as day. Microprinting. Another message inside the message.

    “Found him.”

  533. For 100 million years, I floated in darkness. My soul was trapped in my suit, but my body had died a long time ago. In the vacuum of space, it remained intact. As earthly a form as if I had only died yesterday. Alone with my thoughts. Darkness. Spinning out of control between stars and planets. Never getting close enough to either to be drawn into their gravity. The accident seemed like yesterday, but with nothing to think about for more than an eternity, how could I forget. Then I see it. A star straight ahead. I found my end.

  534. “Zoom. Enhance.” I said it just to irritate her; it worked every time.

    “You know it doesn’t work that way.”

    “I know.”

    “It’s a microscope.”

    “I know. Look, just keep looking. Anything. Irregular letters, bad printing.”

    She scowled at me but kept increasing the magnification, running his letter under the lens, inch by inch.

    “… wait. Go back.”

    “I will not zoom and enhance.”

    “Just look. There. No, there!”

    “It’s an M, Jen.”

    “Not the letter — in the space.”

    “… huh.” She focused carefully and there it was, clear as day. Microprinting. Another message inside the message.

    “Found him.”

  535. Like most, when she first plugged into a ship her body was wracked with violent seizures as the steep contrast between bright and shadow, überhot and megacold, flooded into her neosensory cortex. Now, though, now with the chemical scalpels of growth factors given time to mold her synapses around the direct link into the ship’s hive and time grown to familiarity, it was exquisite. She hungered when the ship hungered, become a connoisseur of stardust and plasma. She fell when the ship fell, skating breathless exhilarated down the long slope of slingshot gravity wells. Heavy with cargo, lively with vacuum.

  536. “Do you have your homework on your Data Sphere Jimmy?”
    “Here, sorry I got it dirty.”
    “How many times do I need to tell you to keep it away from the light it corrupts the data. This is useless the surface has been completely corrupted. Bring me your homework next class period.” The teacher says as she tosses the sphere into the trash.
    An unknown force over the course of billions of years propels Earth at near light speeds into a nearby blackhole.

  537. Square noises. Dot, dot – beep, beep! Left! Left-

    – Game Over –

    “Man, these old games are the best.”
    “Yeah, why don’t we play this anymore?”

    – Continue –

    “Ha ha, check this out, the framerate is sooo slooow-”


    “-crap, died again.”

    – Game Over –

    “Hard to imagine, isn’t it? 100 years since Space Invaders-”

    “Alpha Centauri will see this shit. On our radio waves.”

    “You don’t think they’ll take it personally, do you?”

    “This stuff? Surely not-”

    The sky darkens. A silver disc.

    Square noises. Dot, dot – beep, beep!


    – Game Over –

  538. The uploaded man blinks and feels the redshift, the time dilation, and the emptiness. He jumps in and out of the no-thing on his way to no-where. Just playing with the void the way the dolphins play with oceans.

    Suddenly he’s some-where.

    This floating thing is a billion billions from anything. He wonders at it. Wanders at it. Dances with it.

    The uploaded man has no hands to touch with, no nerves to feel with, and only a few billion atoms to think with.

    For a moment he wishes that other men had been uploaded, that he wasn’t the last of them.

    “Nevermind”, he blinks to the thing, and once again the uploaded man feels the redshift…

  539. The loneliness of 40 years in a spaceship started to grate on his insecurities. Once a proud sentinel of the stars, his days were now reduced to searching the void for signs of simple existence. He hadn’t seen an asteroid in 15 years. No more space junk floating by. His eyes had become desperate. Finally, from thousands of yards away, he spied it. Suspended in space like so much flotsam and jetsam. Frantically he captured it with the ship’s mechanical arm and pitched it quickly into the air lock. First thing he saw on the cover: Placed by the Gideons.

  540. It was as if the boy didn’t have a brain in his head. The night before Halloween, he made cardboard tombstones for the front yard. On one he wrote, “Spike, Age: 13, Died of old age.” On another he wrote, “Randy, Age: 2, Ran away.” On the third he wrote, “Timothy, Age: 0, Died in Mommys tummy.” When his mommy saw this, she wailed and wept into her hands. When his stepdad saw it, he screamed, “Are you stupid?” And grabbed the boy by his shoulders, shoved him against the wall. Yeah, the boy thought, I probably am.

  541. That Terry Marsh is a monster, my mother said. She was on the phone. So me and Davey jumped him at the lake. He dropped his pole off the dock and it was sinking, there was a walleye reeled in, trying to get loose down there, wriggling around, and his blood plopping on the water.

    Don’t want him coming back, Davey said, like in the movies. So we got Terry Marsh hung right up proper between those two trees. He’ll get his powers back if we let him touch the ground before we can get his head off.

  542. …that’s what he’d tell the press if he ever could. As far as anyone back there had known he’d last been heard of floating outside his tiny capsule, which had, until then, been the most peculiar experience ever. And now, found. But by whom? Not by those amateurs at Ground Control, this much he knew. “If you dare” indeed. The nerve of it. Didn’t get to be Major “not daring”. Enough: where was he? What did “found” mean when you still didn’t know where you were or who or what had found you? BTW, Lacoste of course.

  543. We knew something was wrong when the airlock opened. Stale air. No noise but that of our own instruments. Passing from our shuttle to the station the silence grew, deafening, overwhelming us, causing us to hold hands thoughtlessly in our search.

    It took us a while to find them. The mess hall. A cluster of bodies, frozen in their uniforms, huddling for warmth. Always the same. Climate control overridden, notes to loved ones in a neat pile. Always the easiest way to die when you ran out of food, years from anyone else. To fall into that numb, cool, sleep.

  544. Jen clumsily fumbled the gleaming white skull loose from the soil, causing a small slide down the crater’s edge. The slowly rotating skull flashed a lazy grin that hadn’t been seen for the last 700 years, sliding past the couple over a mosaic of blue glass and bone, reflecting pale and brown stains against the darkened crescent of earth’s blue green sky.
    Malachai reached out to touch it, but Jen knocked his hand away. Fingering an eye-socket, Jen flipped the skull over, and peered into its decayed base.
    “Yep… that’s it.” She frowned, “Yeah…we scored big, Chi.”
    Malachai grinned big.

  545. Her breath came in sharp pants.
    “It’ll be okay,” I whispered to her through the headset. She slowly rotated to face me. I didn’t even have to see her face to know the panic the wrecked her once beautiful features.
    I reached out and took her hand. Even though the spacesuits kept us from bodily contact, her breathing started to slow down.
    The sun glinted off the wreckage of our spaceship long enough for me to catch a glimpse of her face. Wide beautiful eyes, calm and serene. A quiet acceptance of fate.
    “It’ll be okay.”

  546. I don’t think anyone is ever really prepared to see the Milky Way reflected in the lifeless eyes of their soul mate, finally floating free of the worries that tormented her. She’d had enough, to be sure, tired of the politics, the petty in-fighting, and the puritanical impositions of living on a Faith-based platform. Genevieve had an almost cat-like quality to her eyes: even though I felt closer to her than anything else in the universe, she always seemed to look at me like I was her pet, not her equal in the ways of love, religion, or exobiology.

  547. What the hell, how did I get here. Where am I. Damn it, can’t stand up. All I can feel is smooth blackness. It’s square. I’m in a box. Letters, I feel letters etched in the wall. “I sit in a room with no walls or floor. I move with thought alone. Perception of time is a box to define, a limited time and place.” What’s that noise, I know that droning sound, getting louder. Crap, it’s my boss, “Asleep again. Your lucky you have a cubicle. If I catch you again and your sitting next to the copier.”

  548. The loneliness of 40 years in a spaceship started to grate on his insecurities. Once a proud sentinel of the stars, his days were now reduced to searching the void for signs of simple existence. He hadn’t seen an asteroid in 15 years. No more space junk floating by. His eyes had become desperate. Finally, from thousands of yards away, he spied it. Suspended in space like so much flotsam and jetsam. Frantically he captured it with the ship’s mechanical arm and pitched it quickly into the air lock. First thing he saw on the cover: Placed by the Gideons.

  549. Awake. Languorously, carefully, He extends His senses. Cold. Too cold. He had slumbered long, and the World had grown vast, its fiery birth pangs barely perceptible in the impossible distance. The violence of His own birth, when the World, the “they” of thinking matter, could still shape such things as Him in its – their – own image, had been a relative trifle. They had given Him strength, beauty, lust, glory, but denied Him death. And so He outlives them all, outlives the World’s capacity to nurture them, outlives all amusement. He looses a single thunderbolt, and sinks back to sleep.

  550. I watched from the Moon as Earth collapsed. The constant bombardment of energy from the sun, now a supernova, had destroyed the Earth’s magnetic field, which tore the planet asunder. Roaring, primordial magma churned the fragile crust back to the depths of the core in a sinister convection. The world became a violent mass at war with itself. Unexpected gravitational fluctuations crushed this former blue sphere, now burning red with fury. The mass imploded.

    What I found after all had died was a screaming, angry singularity — a 9mm black hole. All the Earth inside a peanut.

    Then came the tide.

  551. “Seriously, I regret finding you… More that I took you on board actualy. God I can’t take it anymore. I guess I just regret the whole chain of events leading to me having you on board my spacecraft as only intelligent companion. Who’s heard of a hippie robot anyways? You’re not only a real pest about asking me to recycle everything from the broken spectro-thingy-amizer lense which to my urine, but also you have to do these huge preachy monologues on how I shouldn’t waste air because it’s the essence of life and other more important living beings need it.”

  552. Finally: contact. Humanity’s ultimate question was answered.

    A metallic sphere, roughly 3m in diameter, polished to a mirror. Nondescript otherwise except for an iridescent arrow indicating a recessed palm-sized red button.

    The StarFreighter HMS Darwin approached the sphere and gently brought it aboard. The harbinger was “weighted”, photographed and measured while the various crews of the armada impatiently paced and speculated.

    Eventually came the day where the only thing left to do was push the palm-sized red button.


    It took the light from the explosion four years to reach Earth.

  553. At first Jason thought it was a gun. The kid took the steel box from his dad’s closet and picked the lock. “My dad brought it back from space, right?” The kid unfolded the cloth. “NASA doesn’t know he has it.” Jason couldn’t speak. “You can hold it, but you have to give it back.” And as Jason cradled the thing in his arms he felt something ancient go inside him. “Give it back,” the kid said, “give it back,” but then he saw Jason’s eyes and backed away. Jason laughed. The box would no longer contain him.

  554. Captains log, Stardate: 3.14159. The ship- disabled and life support has failed. The crew- 154 dead, 21 remain. It’s been 8 months now with no communication; we are out of food rations; and starving to death. Drifting somewhere in the Ford Galaxy, I noticed a tiny ship approaching. Could we finally be rescued? As the ship drew closer, I could see what appeared to be 3 small pink creatures inside. As these aliens were boarding our ship, I said “this may be our last hope for food” and I saw the name of their ship Swinetrek – “BACON!”

  555. Thomas Found sits on the corner of his bed staring at the ceiling fan. Tomorrow he marries his love. His breathing is shallow and his feet are chilled. He imagines the future and his brow furrows. His mind ends its wandering and he jumps to his feet. He runs to his fiancé’s apartment, almost two miles away, up three flights of steps to her door. His knock is heard throughout the building. Alarmed, she flings open the door. He says, “I don’t want to spend my life avoiding pantyhose drying on the shower rod.”

    “I don’t wear pantyhose,” she says.

  556. Val found a condom at the bottom of the autoclave. She put it on the counter and sat there until he came home. “What the hell is this?” She was distraught. “Who? Someone on the LCROSS2?”
    “Val, listen. There’s been some kind of mistake,” Larry said. “Let’s wake Sam up and just ask her.”
    “She’s ten years old!” screamed Val.
    “Maybe it was some kind of a joke,” Larry said. He was pleading with her.
    They gently woke Sam up and held it in front of her sleepy eyes. “Sweetie, did you find this somewhere?” asked Val.
    Larry held his breath, felt his heart beating at a crazy speed.
    “Sure,” said Sam, and yawned. “We found that water balloon at the old blast site.”

  557. What the hell, how did I get here. Where am I. Damn it, can’t stand up. All I can feel is smooth blackness. It’s square. I’m in a box. Letters, I feel letters etched in the wall. “I sit in a room with no walls or floor. I move with thought alone. Perception of time is a box to define, a limited time and place.” What’s that noise, I know that droning sound, getting louder. Crap, it’s my boss, “Asleep again. You’re lucky you have a cubicle. If I catch you again and your sitting next to the copier.”

  558. Mostly, Pluto ignored radio chatter from the Third god. Pluto focused on worshiping the source, glorying in the dim light that reached it. But for some reason, it heard its own name in the new radio babbles coming from Three. The languages didn’t matter. Like any god, Pluto understood every radio wave that bounced off its surface. And they all said the same thing. The Third didn’t think Pluto was a god anymore. Just a “dwarf” god, no different than hundreds frozen rocks further out.

    Pluto checked its watch. Not 2012 yet.

    Fine, the proof of its divinity could wait.

  559. “Amelia, we’ve found it,” said the voice over the com-link.

    Amelia pressed her face against the cold glass, squinting into the darkness with the hopes of seeing it against the background of speckled space. Her tear-swollen eyes could barely focus.

    Her father wasn’t pleased at having to turn the ship around to find the doll she placed in the system’s disposal unit. He wasn’t pleased he had to bring his daughter at all. This was no place for a child, and this incident would delay the research.

    As the robotic arm grasped the doll, an unknown passenger also latched on…

  560. It was nothing, really—just a pulse of electromagnetic energy. Our first contact from an extraterrestrial intelligence went unnoticed. When electronic technology began to fail across Africa, Europe and parts of Asia, people worried. Then power generation failed, and with it, civilization. I was part of a large group that held together for months, but eventually our food ran out and we too split into warring, ravaging gangs intent only on survival. Thus were we found in space–plunged into darkness, weakened and splintered by conflict. The conquest was easy.

  561. A metallic taste and high-pitched oscillating tone emanated from just above the boson wave reactor element. Whatever had pierced the gravity bubble, was now onboard the Trinity. Sensors detect a point source of infinite energy, yet Miyamoto can only hear and taste the presence of his uninvited guest. As he slowly approaches, rail gun in one hand, sensor tablet in the other – he suddenly finds himself watching himself as if in a dream. The taste and sound were gone, only a lamenting perspective remained. At last, his vessel was found… his spirit unbound.

  562. “Found in Space”

    Christ its cold. Ever since Maggie built that smart vacuum, finding new gloves is a real fuckin’ pain. Five more minutes, then zippp and crack a hotcup.


    “Anything good?”

    “Just body parts and wiring. Hands’re fuckin’ freezing”

    “K. Five more and we’ll pull the zipline”


    Too many goddamn eyeballs and nutsacks. Gonna take forever cleaning this visor. Can’t believe they took this many colonists this close to– WHOA!


    “Find somethin’?”

    “Fuckin’ Right! Just scored a Geiger 2020 outta this dude’s chest. Zip me in — my hands are fuckin’ freezin’”


    Quit calling me Roger, you hump.

  563. I found my self in space. I’d never left Sudbury, never thought I would. No one ever told me about space or other cities and countries, before. No one ever tells you anything important here.

    Miners’ daughters become miners’ wives, miner’s wives clean houses, change diapers, cook meals. Miners drink, drive big trucks on oversized tires, go to bed early. They eat too much meat.

    That’s prejudice, they told me up there, but it sure seems like the truth to me, I replied.

    I found my self in space. Now I look at my man’s truck and see a spaceship.

  564. Amidst the wreckage in orbit, something stirred.
    The metal construct which kept it in orbit began to shift, and a small tear appeared on its edge. That was all it needed really – just a miniscule avenue of escape. Moments later, the construct was in shambles and it began its way back towards the planet.
    It had found a plethora of intelligence to consume while travelling through space, and this time nothing was going to stop it from feasting on them.
    It let out a hum – or maybe a growl – as it entered the atmosphere. It was time to feed again.

  565. The airlines had wasted no time.

    “Do you want to live?”

    They had been right when they said few would survive. Most would not live beyond the initial impact. Many more would die from the fallout.

    “Let us put you out of harm’s way!”

    No one had seen it coming, and it was only by fortune that the tip of South America would be unaffected. Life would go on for some.

    “We can fly you to safety! No reasonable offer refused!”

    It hadn’t mattered. With the chaos few of them had left the ground, and fewer still had landed.

  566. It was ridiculous how long he had been in the otherwise-empty waiting room. His tooth hurt like hell.

    Nothing to read but an old Cosmo and an issue of Highlights. What child likes the Timbertoes, anyhow?

    He felt mild pity for the receptionist as she chased him into the office, but really she was as culpable as anyone in wasting his afternoon. As he went to work on the dentist, he marveled at the array of tools at his disposal. Extraction was easy.

    Still, it looked like a doorknob and a piece of string was in his immediate future.


    See an image that accompanies this story here:


    I encourage judges to ignore the picture, as it really shouldn’t be considered part of the entry.

  567. Val found a condom in the autoclave. She sat there until he came home. “What the hell is this?” She was distraught. “Who? Someone on the LCROSS2?”
    “Val, listen. There’s been a mistake,” Larry said. “Wake Sam up and ask her.”
    “She’s ten years old!” screamed Val.
    “Maybe it was some kind of a joke,” Larry said. He was pleading with her.
    They woke Sam up and held it up. “Sweetie, did you find this somewhere?” asked Val.
    Larry held his breath, his heart racing.
    “Sure,” said Sam, and yawned. “We found that water balloon at the old blast site.”

    [I sent the wrong one, this one is 100 words! SORRY!]

  568. Cass looked at Miles and realized how much he had aged recently. His face no longer held that spark of carefree innocence she had once found so attractive. It made her wonder about the conditions of his exile on the planet surface.

    “You should only point a gun at someone if you plan to shoot them, Miles. Is that your plan now? Shoot the last person who still thinks you’re not a traitor?”

    She was still beautiful. She hadn’t changed at all and it made him angry.

    “If you knew what I’ve found down there you would beg me to.”

  569. “So have you decoded the message yet?”

    “It’s not a code. It’s an amazing language.”

    “Well have you translated the message then?”

    “It says a lot, but I don’t know what to believe.”

    “Come on, what does it say, what does it say?”

    “Are you familiar with the Creative Commons License?”

    “Sure, but there are different types. Why do you ask?”

    “Apparently this universe is some kind of simulation and the message is a license agreement.”

    “You must be joking.”

    “Apparently, we can modify the universe if we give appropriate attribution to some young programmer.”

  570. “Houston, we have a problem.”
    “Rodger, Station 2. What’s the problem?”
    “We can’t find our 1 Petabyte drive. We need that space.”
    “Where did you see it last?”
    “In space.”
    “In space?”
    “Yea. In space.”
    “Is it still in space?”
    “I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I brought it in from space.”
    “Do you remember where you put it after you brought it in from space?”
    “No… I must have spaced out.”
    “You spaced out?”
    “Yea, I spaced out.”
    “Found it!”
    “Cancel that Houston. Commander Malarkey found the space.”
    “Where did you misplace the space?”
    “Apparently, in the crawlspace.”

  571. I remember when I was young, finding a vision that lay between two lines in a book. Into dark, beautiful
    lands I voyaged, filled with demons, aliens, strange gods and funny little men. For years I traveled through the spaces between the words on every page I could consume. Authors were gods, that granted me the use of books as talismans against the tedium of the world.
    Where has it all gone, then? Stories still carry me, day by day, but the adventure has settled in to ink and paper, and I am left seeking my youth between the spaces.

  572. Year 2183, scientists finally invent a spaceship that is able to travel in space at light speed. After years of exploration, the scientific team find out that, the universe is in a crystal ball. What is outside? Nobody knows, at least nobody in the universe.

  573. “Do you have your homework on your Data Sphere Jimmy?”
    “Here, sorry I got it dirty.”
    “How many times do I need to tell you to keep it away from the light it corrupts the data. This is useless the surface has been completely corrupted. Bring me your homework next class period.” The teacher says as she tosses the sphere into the trash.
    An unknown force over the course of billions of years propels Earth at near light speeds into a nearby blackhole.

  574. “What the hell is wrong with this thing?” she said out loud. “Stupid keyboard hasn’t been working right for days.” Jiggling the space bar far harder than the manufacturer would recommend, she felt it come loose.
    “Great,” she said under her breath. “Now it’s really broken.” Lifting the long key completely free of the keyboard, she turned it over to look at the underside. With a scream she flung the space bar across the room.
    Picking himself off the floor in a daze the tiny man thought to himself, “I’ve got to find somewhere with more space.”

  575. The press on Consortium-17 was on our side, but lacked initiative. The masses were aligned in unfocused discontent. The Conglomerate’s agents were closing in. At every proximity awaited hope, despair.

    And the One – the sphere of light found imitating a star – was safely in our possession. You who oppose us, if you could only feel its presence, would you, also, redefine Power?

    It was a ten-hour trip around the superstructure to Angel’s Flight, the link to the outer colonies. Draco was composing an anthem, Janet a letter home. We sat and waited in the new light.

  576. Released, floating, and spinning! Free from the unrealized bonds that held him. The sensation of swimming underwater but never needing air. Every sense was alive and electric and every sensation sent shivers through his being. Everything was new and exciting and the possibilities seemed endless. A small amount of concern and trepidation lingered under the surface of his thoughts but it was overwhelmed by euphoria. Everything that had ever happened to him before this moment seemed pale and dim by comparison.

    Looking down to he saw his broken body still laying in the crosswalk where the taxi had hit him.

  577. He savors a final, deep breath of the metallic, acrid air breathed and re-breathed far too many times. Trapped, between the stars, so many days, nights, weeks, months, years, but finally, no longer. A firm, resolved pull on the handle, previously protected by yellow stripes and glass, sounds a klaxon, unheard, and displays urgent warnings, unread. Cold, silent chaos erupts through an ever-widening gap around the hatch, a gale from the abyss, lifting and carrying him away, to peace and salvation at last.

  578. Stationary. That’s the only word to describe it. All the points of interest in the universe share one common trait, movement. All but this simple ball of rock hanging here. I was caught in the gravity well of the object by chance. I never could have planned. I thought I was dreaming as I watched everything I know shrink and fade away. Nobody will ever know about this, they’re long gone. I’m standing on the surface of a world that defies all known science. I could name it after myself. First to this barren world. Last for all I know.

  579. A limited pulse fell straight into my ears. I was entertaining two options: sleep, or more coffee. I had no choice. The pod was too small for the two of us. I had to, he was starting to sputter nonsense. I told him that I must have gone through 18 books, 7 papers and 11 post it notes. Nothing was making sense; it was more of the same, definition after definition. The ebb, the flow, still pulsing. Gravity, Radiation and Oxygen levels floated through my mind. I froze instantly as the capsule cracked, deep-space temperatures are making my fingers… stiff.

  580. Edmund glared out into the dead of space through the tiny porthole window in his cabin. He saw the lifeless visage of Dr. Rosecrans float by, no suit, no helmet. “I’ve found her,” he whispered to no one in particular, before sitting down on the corner of his bed.
    Edmund looked down at the floor, sad, reflective. He and Dr. Rosecrans had shared this small capsule in the dark, nether regions of space for two years. They were colleagues and lovers.
    But Edmund knew it was his uncontrollable flatulence that caused her to eject herself, defenseless, into the abyss.

  581. Sold his Refuse empire for a space ride, to be seated at the rear of the cabin. Pleased he ate the mega breakfast, but the seatbelt constricts his turgid globe. Lifting off, his inactive mass drains him as they fly uphill for eternity. He smiles to see Earth’s curvature, and is glad he lifted the seat divider as the guy next to him with a red face doesn’t seem to mind being sat on. The lights in the cabin switch off and Earth below is a SAD light. Silvio looks out the window at the floating garbage he didn’t burn.

  582. We went outcapsule to spacesurf solar panels that had joined the orbit of garbage. Mom tethered Caleb and me to the station, saying, “It’s good for you boys to play outside.” Our headphones blasted an old song (Kokomo) by an old group (The Beach Boys) from old Earth. We pretended to ride aerials with slow up and down jumps. A compacted, fuzzy lump floated past: a teddy bear Caleb couldn’t reach with his bulky gloves. The toy would transform into another kid’s shooting star on re-entry. Sometimes it was better to imagine space than to live it. – L.W.

  583. Ephemera swept out the cargo hold and into the black. The writer wept openly as his work went out with the oxygen, leaving him clinging to the railing. His antique Corona Sterling typewriter slid down the floor grates, clanging against the steel bay doors on its way to join the pages heavy with text in the unending vacuum.

    “There, you see, Allegro,” intoned the heavyset man in charcoal body armor. “I told you he wasn’t kidding. Tell us where the money is, or we’ll air out the next manuscript. When we run out of books, you can rejoin them.”

  584. The strange object flitted in and out of various strata, leaving behind and bringing remnants of exotic matter with it. As Erik Sibelius approached it, it began to resonate at a furious pace. Arcs of electricity reached out to the horizon – this was no ordinary space debris.

    Diana called out, “Erik, please don’t get any closer. This doesn’t seem right, hunny.”

    To which Erik curtly responded, “If I wanted your advice, I would ask for it! Now let me take a closer look at this beauty.”

    Erik had found God.

    Whose response was, “Well, it is what it is.”

  585. Ozomene was well-versed in pareidolia. She recalled her mother’s curt dismissiveness when she played her favorite childhood game of spotting animals in the clouds as she now reviewed the images she’d downloaded from the telescope. Despite the chasm of years of hard science and materialism separating her from that little girl, she was unable to blink away the images confronting her. She rationalized that the improbable odds were counterbalanced by the unfathomable scale of this world she studies, as she reviewed and matched point-by-point, those distant stars for the barnyard animals in her worn, childhood connect-the-dot book.

  586. We skipped along the ring of the event horizon, buffeted by x-rays, radio static and weird radiation. It would take millions of years to circle the object at this speed. A vast jet of plasma squirted from the center, perpendicular to the galactic plane, narrower here and blossoming outward as it stretched across parsecs, its visible light decaying into strange frequencies before it pulsed through Earth.

    “It’s—it’s a flare!” cried Jor. He fell back against his chair, shaking.

    I snorted. “What? Set by whom?”

    He oriented the bubble away from the Crab Nebula and accelerated. “No, for whom.”

  587. I figure it’s a box of some kind.

    It’s got flat sides, and seems sturdy. To be honest I can’t raise my chin off my chest to actually *see* anything. There’s no light in any case.

    I can feel the flat of one side, pressed firmly against my back and shoulders. Above, another face forces my head downwards. Where my legs cross in front of me a similar flatness crushes my knees to my face.

    Both arms held firmly to my sides; elbows dig into my hips; my hands dangle in the hollow beneath my face.

    Panic starts to bite.

    [yeah yeah, I know, mods can’t enter :p]

  588. For fourteen days, it just sat on the edge of my desk and stared at me. On the fifteenth day, it yawned, shivered and went back to staring at me. I hate it when dad starts off a gift explanation with “Look what I found on that asteroid I was surveying!”

    Sure, you get tired of weird rocks and space debris “presents”, but now I may never sleep again.

  589. We thought ourselves the master race
    As we fought our way from place to place
    In our dread armor bodies cased
    Our very name brought tears to face

    A thousand suns did light our name
    A trillion voices sang our fame
    Uncounted heroes died in flame
    Ten thousand years things stayed the same

    Rot came as always from inside
    Heads wreathed in clouds, feet stood on pride
    Which crumbled as our children died
    Defending that which won’t abide

    You hold now in your gloved hand
    The last remains of our last stand
    A shard, a fragment what was once grand
    Its use you will not understand

    It floats away without a trace
    Our patrimony, found in space

  590. This one time when I went to space and there was like this thing floating around and I like totally didn’t know what it was so I swam up to it. It was a giant kitty cat! Just before going to space, I went to McDick’s and I had a cheezburger left over so I gave it to the kitty. The kitty was very pleased with my gift, so it opened up a hole in space for me. When I went in the hole, I found Heaven. I chilled with Jesus and we links our PSP’s together and played God of War.

  591. “What’s that?”
    “It’s one of those bottles NASA used to use to keep coffee hot for a century.”
    “Grab it with the airlock loading arm. Do you think there’s still coffee inside?”
    Just a note:
    “Dear Elizabeth:
    No communications, guidance or propulsion.
    I’m not sure where in the universe this thing is taking me, but it is not back to you.
    I’m afraid we’ll never see each other again.
    I love you.

    After a moment of silence, it was posted on the bulletin board with the others.

  592. My life tends towards mediocrity, so the magnitude of this find was shocking. The fireball in and of itself was mindboggling enough. And the force of impact and resulting shockwave were so earth shattering, I’m surprised I’m still alive. The hatch opened as I approached. A figure stood on the lowering plank. Instantly, I understood that my new mission in life was to serve as a harbinger to herald their arrival on Earth. I began to revel in my newfound role. Then the book fell from the open hatch. The first thing I saw on the cover: To Serve Man.

  593. Let me be clear, I didn’t mean to find it. Jackie said not to go near it, and looking back now, I wish I had listened to her. All of Einst