The Wanted by Tianna Grosch

The hoverboard vibrated beneath the soles of his feet as he zoomed fifty feet above ground, a red bandana covering his nose and mouth, marking him. He swerved, trying to shake the botcops but they followed with ease. “Target locked,” he heard behind him. The world turned into a ball of blinding light, flames licking …

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Peripheral #13 by Hal Y. Zhang

Are you oriented? Good. Go left--not that much--good, forward, grab the gun. Yes, it doesn't quite look like one. Careful with the claw. Click the trigger twice. That's it. By the time they find this you will be long gone from the sim, and we were never there, so this is legally not a crime …

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Unnecessary Roughness by John H. Dromey

Assured of a flat, unobstructed landing surface, an alien species agreed to set their spacecraft down on the 50-yard line of a football stadium for first contact with Earthlings. One-hundred-thousand spectators were present. The extraterrestrials were late. “You gave them GPS coordinates?” an organizer asked an aide. “Incompatible with their navigation system. I described nearby …

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Strung Out in Alientown by Desmond Warzel

Another day hustling for work in the Squid capital; another fistful of gaudy local currency; another day closer to Earth, and revenge on her ex-partner; another night in her Alientown shanty, among miserable fellow-humans and a menagerie of extraplanetary riffraff. The knock came, as always. She answered the door without hesitation. Thrusting most of the …

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Of Fields, Half-Sown by Kurt Hunt

"Failed," said the ship.  Its transmission burst into jagged waves, a white noise elegy. But the station didn't understand.  "Greetings, Generation-32! Welcome to Centauri Colony!"  It beamed yottabytes of data, everything from advertisements to statistics suggesting a critical population shortage.  "Please share these exciting details with your passengers, and--" The chirping auto-welcome fizzled.  A tired …

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