short stories

The Hundredth Question

You didn’t want to be here, not really, not ever, but want is a one-way word these days. The government says jump, you ask what delta-vee. So here you are, wherever here is in the continuum of worlds, every reflex tuned to snapping. Fresh out of training, you have yet to trade scars with one of the aliens’ battleships; no one’s yet engaged one face-to-face and lived to brag about it, if they have faces.

A light military sf short story, published in F&SF Feb. 1999. Dedicated in spirit to Ben Reynolds at Johns Hopkins, a wonderful teacher of writing. (When I sent out the story I hadn’t thought of including a dedication. Sorry, Mr. Reynolds!)