Speculative Fiction—an all-encompassing genre created to describe stories of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and other stories that have an element of “What if...” in them. A story in speculative fiction is one that adds an element of the unreal, or asks, what would become of our society if history took a different direction at some important event? Fiction with a little something extra thrown in.—William D. Richards
Pilot Bancilhon Pax doesn't expect anything but relaxation during some
planetary downtime, but news of missing children possibly trafficked for
sex can't be ignored. Pax investigates, a decision which turns the
pilot's ordered, predictable life upside down, and has strange and
unexpected consequences for others connected to Pax in ways no one could
I headed to the
entertainment district. Anywhere that welcomed spacers had a wide
selection of places to get frecked up in many senses of the term. I
picked the first one that didn't have litter, vomit or bodies on the
pavement outside - my minimum requirement for any establishment.
Pre-nightfall, the recreation area was bound to be quiet anyway.
turned as I walked in. I'm used to that. Space ports see all kinds of
bodies from a galaxy full of wonder, but two-metre tall blue-skinned,
hairless humanoids are a rarity no matter where you go. I didn't mind
the looks too much, since the attention could occasionally bring
benefits, and I was perfectly equipped to handle any problems unwanted
interest might cause.
bartender read my biometric data and with the deftness of practice,
mixed me a cocktail designed for my weight and fat-to-muscle ratio. I
used the hypospray for the initial hit of relaxer, then got comfortable
in one of the padded chairs to sip the rest of the dose at my leisure.
Out of habit, I sat near a window, but nothing much was happening on the
street. Too early for most people to be out carousing. The lounge was
almost empty except for a few spacers, fighting jetlag same as me, and a
couple of landlubbers watching the rest of us with unabashed curiosity.
kept my Glimma turned on and let it feed me snippets of data,
translations of the slang words mixed with the Standard people around me
used, but I didn't pay close attention to the conversations. The way
the dozen or so spacers sat together in twos and threes told me they
knew each other and were likely to be crew mates. I was the only one
there on my own. No one approached me, unsurprisingly. My resting
expression apparently intimidates people, and it takes a while before
they get used to me. It takes me a while to relax enough not to tense
protectively in a strange environment. I would be here a month.
Eventually someone would be enticed by the novelty and make an offer of
sex. At least I hoped so.
relaxer worked smoothly, untensing muscles under strain from the extra
gravity and my intense workouts. A touch of mood enhancer drained away
the lingering sadness over upsetting Byrd, and a mild synaesthesic made
the rather ordinary decor dance with pretty colours. When the bar staff
turned up the background music as the place grew busier, the pulse of
the music throbbed through my veins. I leaned back and enjoyed being
totally and utterly responsible for nothing and no one at all.
burr of conversation didn't disturb me, though as night fell, the
ambient noise level became quite loud. But something at the edge of my
hearing demanded attention. I looked around, but the bar crowd hadn't
changed in character.
flash of movement outside. The sounds came from there. Angry voices
that I couldn't make out. I strained to see the source, and a second
later, it came into view. Two people, one tall and lean, the other short
and stocky like a multigenerational heavy gravity resident. Neither
wore a uniform. The shorter one, the origin of the anger in the tones I
detected, was dark-skinned, wearing weathered, shabby clothes.
turned up the Glimma's sensitivity, and it told me the taller
individual's accent was Aglaoniken, the shorter one's that of a Second
Wave colonist. The short one was coming off worst, with the taller one
sneering down at the other with the advantage of over half a metre.
colonist swung wildly at the Aglaoniken, who easily blocked the blow,
then shoved back brutally, closing in and adding a fist to the face,
sending the Second Waver flying into a solid piece of street furniture.
leapt to my feet and was out through the doors within seconds. The
Aglaoniken had already walked away, utterly unconcerned by what state
the Second Waver might be in. No point in pursuit, so I crouched down by
the fallen form. Out, and unrousable. *Freck*.
Ann Somerville grew up in one of Australia’s prettiest small cities. In
1989, she left Australia with a BA and a burning ambition to see more of
the world and its people, and to discover this ‘culture’ thing people
kept telling her about. In 2006, she returned home to Southeast
Queensland with two more degrees, an English husband, and a staggering
case of homesickness, vowing never to leave Australia again.
Ann writes mostly science fiction and fantasy, and most stories feature LGBT characters.