The Expounder

“Hold still, I need you to look straight up,” James positioned the machine’s alignment laser just above Paul’s right eye. “Looking into the laser might hurt, but since we are replacing your eye, there won’t be any permanent damage.” Paul was on his back on a metal table in a newly renovated storage locker, his feet dangling uncomfortably off the edge, the rest of his body was strapped down. The small locker had almost nothing else in it, except for the large machine mounted on the ceiling. On one side was the arm that attached it to the ceiling, but on the other was four different arms. Each arm was designed to install a different kind of prosthesis.This was not his first time installing less than legal cyberware, though the eye itself wasn’t illegal.But a handful of his personalized modifications were. For instance, the remote hacking link addition to the hud display. “Okay, ready? On the count of —” James

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War Changes

“Two pair, aces and threes,” a tremulous-voiced man said. “What you got?”   Van Walker rounded the corner and entered the Liberty’s barracks. The room was smaller than what Van had stayed in during basic. Six bunks lined the metal walls – three on both the left and right walls. “I got shit.” Three men were sitting at a metal table in the center of the room, others were scattered around the room. One of the men at the table threw his cards in the pile.     “Why you gotta be like that?” a blonde broad shouldered man said. His jacket read Private 1st Class Gannon. Gannon greedly gathered his winnings as the gruff man gathered up the worn-out cards. “You must be the new kid.” A man that had to be ten years Van’s senior approached him, his jacket read Private 1st Class Williams. “Welcome to the Liberty, the fastest pile of shit I’ve ever lived on,” Williams

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The Rebirthed

Alexis Ames The doors slide shut behind him, and Dominic comes to a halt. The attendant ‘bot who had followed him into the room slams into his back, then hurriedly backs off. “My apologies, Detective.” Dominic cocks his head, considering it. The red sensors it has for eyes fix on him, and then the ‘bot quickly averts them. It’s hovering a few inches off the ground, and drifts a couple of feet away from him. It looks–uncertain, skittish. “First day on the job?” “No, sir.” The attendant seems to hesitate for a moment, and then says, “Fourth, actually.” “Ah. Well, you’ll get the hang of it.” Dominic pats the attendant awkwardly on its exoskeleton, then gestures at the room at large. “Show me what you’ve got.” “Yes, sir. Of course, sir. This way.” The attendant leads him along the seemingly endless aisle. Dominic can’t see the other end of the room, but the lights in here are so bright that

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The Witches of the North Sea – Excerpt

This is an excerpt from a larger young adult science-fantasy novel.   ——————————— Sharp fingernails cut into Saffi’s cheeks, dragging her to consciousness. Her eyes flew open as she coughed, sea water dribbling out of her mouth. The hard floor wasn’t comfortable, but there was a rug underneath her—not sharp rocks. Water dripped down from her wet hair across her face. Blood and salt mingled on her tongue. The fingers rolled her head side to side as the coughing subsided. Saffi’s vision swam into focus, a pair of ice blue eyes boring into her from behind a curtain of glossy dark hair. With a muffled yelp, she tried to yank her face out of the creature’s grasp, but the claws were stronger than she expected. They pricked her skin, drawing blood. “Hold still, girl,” it demanded. The command rang like a bell in her mind. Saffi’s whole body shivered and seized, only her eyes able to dart from side to

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Summer’s End

Alexis Ames The Commissioner’s face is waxy in the dying light. He sits in a pale, wintry beam of sunlight that filters in through the high windows of the courtroom. Prison has diminished his body, and the jumpsuit hangs loose on once-powerful shoulders. But his eyes, cold chips of ice, remain as haunting as ever. Matthias finds his own gaze flicking away every time the camera pans to the Commissioner’s expressionless face, fixing on a spot over the man’s shoulder so he doesn’t have to meet his eyes. He knows it’s absurd, and struggles to fight down the panic that flutters in his stomach every time the Commissioner’s face fills the screen. An alarm blares. He jumps, heart slamming against the inside of his ribcage, but it’s only his phone reminding him that Cecelia needs to be picked up from school. He frowns. How could he have lost an entire afternoon? But his coffee is beyond lukewarm when he picks

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