All Thumbs

The Book says she’s supposed to search for any survivors. Check. One survivor, armed and dangerous.

The Book says she’s supposed to classify any survivors as friendly or hostile. Check. He’s a friendly. Sort of.

The Book says she’s supposed to kill any survivors. Kill him especially if he’s a friendly.

She’s beginning to have a bit of a problem with the Book.

Associate Engineer Messina Wan aims her bubbleship at the wreckage jamming Black Fleet Trituration Unit Hotel-Three. Hotel-Two and Hotel-Four soldier on in the empty distance, their conical fields combing the void for battle debris. Fountains of undigested material trail them; fragmented bits of ruin ground up and spouted off toward the capture fields of the Macerator vessels out-sphere.

—All Thumbs, by Clarence Moberly