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scratch

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Flashes From The Verse: The Scavengers of Matamoros

F

Miguel bristled at the sudden interruption. He’d been hunched over the chassis of an MX soldado for almost an hour, trying like hell to remove its biochip without discharging any of the small but powerful capacitors. Hearing Frankie’s voice in the back of his skull wasn’t anything new, but the image he sent of dark clouds from in from Port Bagdad blotted out Miguel’s hands. For a moment, the...

Flashes from the Verse: Island Girl

F

All morning, Isla had stared at the water collecting in the shallow basin at the front of the cave, imagining a complex series of pulleys and levers that could transport the water the five short feet to where the rock graded down toward the ocean. Cutting through the rock would be impossible—she couldn’t think of a tool capable of cutting something that hard—so the solution would have to be...

The Engagement

T

Jane couldn’t stop staring at the stubby fingers her client had draped over the side of his polished dress shoe. Everything about Randall Cochrane suggested a middle-aged man with just enough wealth to afford his bespoke suit and pressed shirts. He had short, salt and pepper hair cut close to his head; wireframe glasses sat atop a slightly crooked nose.

The Rules of Ragatanga

T

For boys Ricky’s age, the forty yard swim to the north bank wasn’t something to fear. For one, there was no danger of drowning since the depth of the river was only four feet at its lowest. Secondly, they would only have to swim half the distance before reaching the barrier, at which point they would join the rocks in limbo for a short time before resetting to a spawn point. They would lose their...

A Cry in the MESH

A

Mornings in the store were quiet, with only one or two locals dropping by to fill up deisel drums for their ancient combines and tractors. Mid-day, Nelson rotated the stock in the coolers, tossing out the milk that had gone more than three weeks past its expiration date. He spent time cleaning the spotless floor, wiping down the untouched glass doors, and rearranging the undisturbed bags of chips...

The Coker Job

T

Tanzy placed her hands on the floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out over the Atlantic City boardwalk. From the 78th floor of the White Dragon Resort and Casino, the people below were mere specks on a thin band of polluted sand. Choppy water filled most of the view, stretching out into the distance under a blanket of twinkling stars. She pressed her forehead against the glass and tried to look...

The Chip Job

T

The last thing Danny needed was a history lesson on Austin, Texas. He knew the city’s love-hate relationship with the tech companies that had built it up only to abandon it in its time of need. He knew hundreds of disheveled engineers showed up on its doorstep every day with their student loans and CCNA certificates hoping for a job with one of the few tech companies that remained. They flocked...

Johnny’s Loop

J

When he was fifteen years old, Johnny San Vito logged into a military-sponsored, virtual reality BBS using his dad’s account and threatened to beat the shit out of an Airman who went by the ultra-cool handle Raw Dawg. I was right there along with him too, using my dad’s account, but to this day I’m ninety percent sure it was Johnny who started the whole mess. And when Raw Dawg went crying to his...

Applied Harmonics

A

To understand the scope of Applied Harmonics’ work, you have to look at the startup scene in Austin, Texas around the mid-90’s, back before the scene itself had a name. Around that time, Austin was seeing an influx of Californian money, most of it by way of rich West Coasters who fled the high cost of living for the laid back, BBQ and beer lifestyle of the Live Music Capital of the World. They...

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