Time Jerk


Across history, there was no name more loathed than Elias the Time Jerk’s was.
At any moment of his choosing, he and his Temporal Easy Chair would fade into sync.
He liked to watch History in the unmaking.
Not this time, however. A temporal rift had tossed him facedown in the dust of Yuma, Arizona.
Elias brushed himself and walked into a diner.
“Mafle Garfle Mumgle,” said the waitress.
“Great,” said Elias. “Phaseshift sickness.”
Elias smiled, gladly accepted some coffee, and headed to a mall for a new chair and radio parts.
Rebuilding was easy, all it took was time.



Alarms went off. Davidson stubbed out his twizzlestick, waved the purple vapors out of the air, and went back to work.
TARGET? asked the viewport.
“Quadrant 3,” said Davidson, twiddling the viewport’s knobs. “Section 5. Platoon 37. Unit 9-alpha.”
Davidson blinked as his avatar flew through the fields of vat-grown soldiers.
Almost perfect.
Except for Q3-S5-P37-9a. He was better.
Every now and then, a drone’s matrix would self-enhance, and its milk-white skin would turn dark.
“Obtain,” said Davidson.
Tendrils reached from the ground and pulled Q3-S5-P37-9a into the placentadirt.
Davidson smiled. The dark ones were worth bonuses.

Zero Budget


Chemists get eyewash stations and fire extinguishers.
Physicists get Geiger counters and thick rubber gloves.
Biologists get inoculated for everything.
That leaves zero budget for the mathematicians.
Cheap bastards.
It’s drilled into every schoolkid not to divide by zero. The government’s done a great job of distributing “safety zeroes” to schools to protect kids who go ahead and try, but the professionals have to work with the uncoated wild variety to get the equations to stick.
Long ago, I fell asleep next to five blackboards full of wild zeroes. The exposure destroyed my nervous system.
ALS? Just a cover story.

Bon Temps Roules


Jessica was the greatest of Bigeasyologists, scholars of the Sunken City of New Orleans. She’d researched the films, books, holocordings, music, and cooking her whole life.
Now, the final force-barrier against the Gulf of Mexico was in place. The osmotic pumps were revealing what was before only accessible to divers, drones, and avatar-subs.
Sure, the French Quarter would take weeks to dry out, but Jessica didn’t want to wait. She wanted to be the first.
She’d earned it.
The hover-cameras followed as she landed on Bourbon Street, took off her helmet, and then her top.
“Bon temps roules!” she shouted.



“It’s a cookbook!” was the last thing Dr. Chambers heard before the spaceship door closed.
The Kanamint had said they were here to serve man.
Quite literally, as dinner.
Chambers sighed, slumped against the wall of the crowded cell, and slept.
He woke up, alone.
The door opened, and a Kanamint wheeled in a cart.
“Your dinner,” thoughtcasted the Kanamint.
At first, Chambers wasn’t hungry, but the smell was… captivating.
He took the lid off of the tray, tasted a sauce-covered cube, and moaned with delight.
“I must have this recipe,” he said. “Delicious!”
Eventually, they made him a chef.

Doctor Odd


Doctor Odd received the express written consent of Major League Baseball on Monday.
By Wednesday, Idaho was gone. Totally vanished. Nowhere to be found.
The market reacted quickly. Prices for potatoes skyrocketed. “Would you like fries with that?” was whispered only among the wealthy.
Congress held weeks of hearings, but they never did receive an adequate explanation from the baseball commissioner or Doctor Odd.
He said he was just being patriotic and trying to make Syria vanish, but his calculations were off by a bit.
What I found strange was that nobody ever asked for him to bring Idaho back.

Reach Out And Touch This, Pal


Last century, they had competing standards for cellular. There was TDMA, CDMA, GSM… all sorts of different ways to slice up spectrum and get people chatting and sending snapshots around the globe. Carriers fought over which was best, and handset manufacturers fretted over the incompatibilities.
Same with hyperwaves. Luna went MS-HW. Mars Colony implemented HW 2.0. Alpha Proximi did MS-HP and StarTalk. Migdal Mayim’s doing StarWave.
Imagine your brain exploding because some Lunatic calls without a gamma-compensator. Or a Reaganite goes catatonic after faxing Io because the compression algorithm resembles sonic stunner harmonics.
What? The phone’s ringing?
It’s for you.