Tag Archives: sci-fi

Creeping Cough

She had a cough. Deep. Wet. Ragged. They called it the creeping cough. Non-communicable to humans. Supposedly. And yet here she had it, and it was taking over her body. Already, fingers of the black fungus were reaching out from the corners of her mouth, which meant that the roots had long since buried themselves in her lungs.

Hence the cough. Hence the struggle for each subsequent, rasping breath.

She suspected the remainder of her life could now be numbered in terms of mere hours. That would have to be long enough. Long enough to make it mean something. Long enough to raise awareness in the others. Long enough to finally galvanize their sorry asses in action.


She staggered along the filthy alley, ignoring the off-world scavengers following her. They would get their fill of her soon enough.

[Originally published at Ficly.]


“How was it?” Marcus asked, as Mara slipped out of the pilot’s seat.

“Awesome!” she replied. Her grin was dazzling. “But this overdrive is insane! I actually had to keep my foot on the brake just to keep from losing control.”

He laughed. “I know, right?”

Mara’s grin vanished, and her tone became somber. “Seriously, Marcus, where did you get this thing? I’ve never seen a floater with this kind of get-up-and-go.” She arched an eyebrow and tilted her head, giving him that half-sideways mock-glare she liked so much. “Did you steal it?”

Marcus flashed a grin of his own. “I didn’t steal it, I swear.”

“Hamsters, then,” Mara replied. “It’s powered by a team of highly motivated hamsters. On wheels.” Her smile was back, but her levity was forced.

She’s actually rattled, he realized. He hadn’t expected that, not from her.

“It is, among other things, a totally new power source, Mara,” he explained, “One of my own design.” Her eyes widened. “What do you think I’ve been doing in that lab day? Screwing around?”

[Originally posted on Ficly]


The tiny craft’s re-emergence into real space was unremarkable in every way. No flash of light to mark the rift it tore in the black, no radio or gravity waves, and even the EM radiation typical to subspace travel was dampened so as to be indistinguishable from the universe’s own background noise. The ship was decked in a non-reflective nano-material that absorbed all forms of energy that struck it, recycling it back through the hyper-efficient engines for a continuous, if nominal, power supply. And so, for all intents and purposes, the craft was invisible to all but the most advanced surveillance tools.

And in this part of space, perfect concealment was tantamount to survival.

“Feather the engines back,” Harking commanded. “Drift us from here.”

“Aye, sir,” the pilot replied.

“How long until traversal?” Harking inquired.

A pause while the pilot did the math. “Just under three lights, less than 30 minutes at our current course and speed.”

“Barely good enough,” Harking muttered, “but it will have to do.”

[Originally posted at Ficly.]