The Distant Proximity

“We’re receiving a Proximity alert, I take it.” Jora walked in and leaned over the console, scanning the incoming stream of data.

“They really should have called it something else,” I said, as I started up the retrieval protocol.


“I mean it’s confusing.”


I swiveled my chair toward her. “Does it mean it’s closer or farther away?”

Jora glanced over at me and grinned. “If you don’t know that, how did you get assigned to this station?”

I shrugged. “I’m sure the person who hired me knew what they were doing.”

She elbowed me lightly. “I hope I did.”

I swiveled back to the console and continued handling the incoming data. “You did. Trajectory just came in. It’s not headed to Earth…this time.”

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The Alien in My Headphones

I settled the headphones over my ears. When I inhaled, I felt a little lurch in my stomach.

Every time I turned them on, I was afraid I’d lost the signal. And every time I turned them on, I was afraid I hadn’t.

This was getting out of hand. This…investigation that I’d gotten caught up in. But if it was a prank, it was—I was going to say “epic,” but that word gets overused. It was…extravagant.

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The Moths in the Moon

When first the moths alighted in the world below, the land of earth, they did so out of curiosity.  And they did so because they were sent forth from their home by their creator.  Their home and their creator were one and same, and she bore the name Moon.

And she was the moon.

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Gliese on Earth

I reached out to the meteorite, a rocky mass with atypical glowing purple patches, knowing it might be the last thing I ever did on Earth.

It didn’t crash. It landed. It landed in a specific place.

Right in the middle of a major metropolitan area.

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The Challenge of the Hand

It had a name, but everyone simply called it the Company. The Company was prosperous, prestigious, and pervasive. Dominating all industries from sea to sea. Exploring and founding even beyond the sea. It was a coveted position to be a worker in the Company. Those who attained the highest ranks were envied and revered all the more. For in those ranks, one was not a mere “worker.” One was a Hand. The Company had many Hands. And these Hands reached into every corner of the known world. The Company did not tolerate weak Hands. Only strong ones.

There was no great mystery about how one could become a Hand. One had to meet and complete the Challenge of the Hand.

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The Saltwater Realm

“Tell us a story first!” the boy said.

The grandmother had started tucking in the children with him. But she now glanced over at the eldest, who was sitting in her bed with her knees drawn up. The grandmother had already indulged them by letting them stay awake later than they should have. The boy’s request was a ploy to stay up even later. And yet…

How could she pass up the chance to tell a story? Especially to such a special audience. Still, she had to make them earn it.

“Ask me a question,” she told the eldest. “If there is a story to the answer, I will tell you that story.”

She continued her tucking in and noticed that the eldest’s siblings watched their sister with expectant eyes.

The girl thought for a while and then she asked, “Why is the ocean salty?”

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