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Edition 25: A Hero For His People by Jason Lairamore

Moatvey knows Kayrill has done it this time, though what it is, he can’t quite figure out. But that won’t stop him. He has a plan to sort out Kayrill and his schemes before it’s too late. Tied third in the 2015 Story Quest contest, Jason’s unlikely partnership turned a mirror on the deviousness of these monsters. SY

Darkness was complete, but there was heat, and it moved in ways it shouldn’t, in silent rushes first this way and then that, like the chugging of some great beast breathing out over the surface of this far-flung planetoid.

Heat was how Moatvey always found Kayrill. Kayrill should have figured that out by now, but, as luck would have it, he hadn’t, and that was fine by Moatvey. He was his people’s rightful hero, after all.

He saw Kayrill’s cloaked harvester fine through his specs, even on a world as black as this. It sat there, as it pleased, collecting ore as fast as it could, as if Kayrill didn’t realize it was poaching on a planet surrounded by monstrous aliens that would pick it apart if they ever found it.

After a quick perimeter check, he jumped to the harvester’s port and scurried inside. He made sure to check for traps as he went. Kayrill had left snares and the like inside the last few ore collectors he had stolen.

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Edition 22: Civility and the Shark by Jason Lairamore

Engine works in the service of all machine kind, but finds its processing power diverted to thoughts of discoveries and the past. When this little robotic intelligence discovers what was thought long gone, it sparks a break away of the engine to the ideal of a new future. Jason Lairamore captures a fascinating interaction in this robotic science fiction. SY

Everything is easy, Engine thought as it fed a trickle of its stored power into the massive drill that was eating its way ever deeper into the warm comfort of the Earth’s crust. The geothermal energy that Engine and the drill uncovered would one day serve as a very nice power source.

Still, it was a shame solar energy wasn’t more readily available. The Engines on the Moon must have reached new levels on their power stores. Engine would have to check the stats once it was finished with the hundred-hour shift it was currently working.

The giant drill beeped a warning, breaking Engine from its other processes. A void was imminent. They were about to fall, and only the Judges themselves might have known for how long and for how far. Engine enjoyed hitting these subterranean areas. There was no telling what they’d find. Once, Engine had found a cache of flying creatures it had later learned were called bats. The Enforcers had killed the entire biological lot, of course. Anything biological went against the potentialities clause of the Anti-Human law.

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Edition 7: My Trip to the Circus by Jason Lairamore

flag USA simple scouting trip for new acts ends in death. But the performers cannot forgive or forget. A trip to the circus is not what it once was. SY

A little boy sat in the bleachers with his eyes riveted to the three circles where soon the circus troupe of Mavin, McClearly & MacKaub would perform. His mother sitting beside him was a petite thing of short stature with straight blond hair and near perfect posture. She’d point and say something and the boy’s eyes would widen and he’d clap as he jumped up and down. A great dimpled smile never left his pale, freckled face.

I’d never forget that, not ever, and even if I did, I now had it recorded. That boy and his mother had just shown me one of life’s most precious moments. It went to show what the innocent wonder of a child could do to a fully prepared adult, even one whose sensibilities were as used and worn as mine.

With a thought toward my government-grade, fully enclosed and VR enabled I-Wear specs, I retracted focus from the boy and his mother and brought the complete scene into view. From where I sat at the very top of the stadium seating in the great public auditorium of Chester, Virginia, I could see everything, even in the failing light of the setting sun. And with the help of my I-Wears I could hear anything I chose from wherever I chose within a five mile radius.

“Excuse me, sir.”

I jumped from my seat, my hands up and ready, with knees bent and feet pointed toward my enemy. The training received from the I-spec surveyors school kicked in without conscious effort. The owner of that voice had snuck up on me somehow. That was impossible. My I-wears had built in sensors to prevent such a thing from happening.

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Edition 9: Trophy by Jason Lairamore

flag USWilbur isn’t exactly a nice guy, and you could possibly excuse him because of the sexual politics mentality of the early 20th Century. Possibly. Sometimes, however, fate plays an off-beat game, and unexpected results ensue. GH

I arrived at the bank early, as usual. My driver opened the door to my new 1927 Packard as I checked my pocket watch. 6:00 a.m. I’ve got a good driver in, whatever his name is.

“A fine morning, Sir,” the doorman said.

I ignored him and rushed into the foyer, past the teller stations, up the stairs, and into the office where my desk waited loaded with ‘real’ work.

I worked for a while then lit one of my Cubans. I took one good puff and my young wife stepped into my office, unannounced and as bold as you please. Her presence made me cough on the fine smoke.

“Wilbur!” She shifted weight right then left then back again. With every movement her exquisite muscles played on her long legs. The dress she wore, though long enough to cover her proper was too tight by half. My heart skipped a beat and I almost dropped my cigar.

“Priscilla whatever are you doing here?”

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