Damon Waltz stood in the field across from his mother’s one-bedroom apartment. He stared at his small, brown dog as it paced back and forth through the sopping-wet grass. It was raining, and Damon’s clothes were soaked down to his skin. He shook his hand free from the clenches of his sleeve and adjusted his hood so he could still see without being blasted in the face by raindrops. He adjusted his headphones under his hood and looked down to the shaking dog. “Would you poop already?” Damon shouted at the little brown dog. The dog didn’t care, turned away...

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The exchange took place in a dark alley. The woman watched from the tinted windows of her stretch limousine, licking her lips involuntarily as the package passed from the hands of the dealer to those of her driver. Once it was in his possession, he walked backwards to the limo, in case the man might try something underhanded. The woman willed her driver to walk faster, impatience tugging at her. She’d waited long enough already, bribing and blackmailing and spending a fortune, all to get her hands on that package. Her mouth watered just thinking of it. She didn’t even...

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The Westbrooks could not help but feel a little intimidated as they stepped out of the elevator. The home of the CFO of TransSolar was verging on the palatial. Yet, inside, it was understated. Hussein Fars and his wife had good taste, and lacked the insecurities that plagued so many top executives. Darius Westbrook was a geologist and his wife, Paula, a theoretical physicist, both with the prestigious Lunar University. Fars had handpicked them for the expedition he had been planning, overcoming their every objection, even allowing them to bring their daughter along. “I’m still not sure about this,” Paula...

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“Listen to what the moles say and you should be fine.” Dieter nodded his head and tried to look like he was paying attention. He was, with that part of his brain that also listened to his wife and stored the information away in case he was put on the spot. Mostly, though, he was looking out the window as the pod descended down the space elevator to the planet’s surface. He hadn’t had time to study the complete histories – just skimmed them on his way to the station. Now, he wished he had read more. He couldn’t remember...

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FIRST CONSTRUCTIVE “We, as the negative team in this debate, propose that you exterminate the human race. The chief flaw in the affirmative team’s policy proposal lies not in the mechanics of how it protects people, but in the assumption that people should be protected. In your notes, judges, please label our overall argument: Wipeout. It is an overarching strategy with several interlocking components. Amit and I believe that you will find that the pieces fit.” # The debate final is underway, the arguments unraveling under flickering fluorescent lights, and Connor’s shirt sleeve is unraveling with them. His clothing is...

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The moon traveled in front of the sun and millions stopped, watched and hoped their filtered glasses were legit and not a part of some diabolical plan to blind the entire nation. Nick Kane didn’t care. He missed the whole waxing and waning eclipse. He needed money, needed it bad, so bad that he took a job that sent him inside the hyperloop for three and a half hours. Gone were the days when he could make a quick ten grand in the mixed bionic ring. The hyperloop traveled from Old Vegas to New Shanghai. Kane had one eye on...

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The English Dead by Vaughan Stanger The body lay on the North Face of Mount Everest for fifty-one years, its exact location known only to the alpine choughs that pecked at its flesh. Other climbers who attempted the same route were too preoccupied with the hazards of high-altitude mountaineering to conduct a search for their illustrious predecessor. Then, in the spring of 1975, a Chinese climber stumbled upon the corpse while returning to camp. Wang Hong-bao realised the significance of the dead man’s hobnail boots. Only pre-war mountaineers had climbed that high on Everest wearing such primitive gear. On Wang’s...

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Anthony rested his head on his forearms for just a moment – the all-nighters were taking their toll. His long hair covered the laptop, next to the heavy neuroscience journals. Some printouts fell from the desk. The sheets landed on Roshko. “Wuf!” he complained. Anthony did not move a muscle; his obsession had drained all energy out of him. All he thought of, apart from Andrea, was the prototype. Unsupervised, Roshko decided to have some fun. Like an alligator about to sneak up on his prey, the big Golden Retriever crawled under the desk. He sunk his head in the...

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