This is part of a little project I like to play around with. Primarily, it follows the lives of a group of colonists on a planet designated simply, “Z262”. The characters are part of a mining colony established by the ArCorp company, set to recover corundum for use in laser technology. Their lives are not without risk, however, as the elements of Empire Rodentia, bound in their ceaseless war with the animals of the Combine, want those same minerals for their own use.
The colonists are diverse in nature, each with their own lives and troubles. Some have fled to Z262 to start a new life away from whatever haunts their past, while others are simply in it for the money. One may come here to expand the reach of their faith, while another simply prays for a quiet life, and another hopes for the violence and fury of combat with the forces of Empire Rodentia.
Running the gamut from a quick slice of life to a tale of brutal action, the Z262 tales are one of my favorite short/flash fiction outlets. Clicking on the title will open the story in its original location on the site.
So come! Enjoy!
Renowned among those who know him as a fierce killer, Zeke Sharn has retired from war and spends his days trying to be something he is not. A contract, delivered by an old friend, will bring him the opportunity to return to the life he tried to leave behind.
Skeeter is a juvenile, barely above a kit, when his family uproots their home for a new life on Z262, and he is not pleased. Miranda is a young cat with a similar dilemma, who sees in the fox hope for a new friend.
As a Disciple of Gara, the Goddess of Creative Works, Sister Alice finds herself building new and wondrous things. Her life on Z262 is peaceful, but the arrival of a local mechanic makes her consider things she never has.
Blood on Snow
The life of a medic is never an easy one, and the discoveries never cease.
Leaving a life behind is harder for some than others, and Vikki Duris has seen enough of the colony. A summons from the Administration prevents her from making a final decision.
Some Folk are more at home in a killing field than a restaurant, and Duggan is one of them. A scarred and tattooed veteran with little use for polite society, Duggan makes his home behind the butt of his machine gun, and he makes no apologies for it.
After Action Report
Zeke has to file a report detailing an horrific encounter, and finds a new friend as he procrastinates.
Written in the Stars (originally titled ‘Stardust and Wine”)
Buck and Eric want nothing more than a life of relaxation. Left to their own devices, they would spend their days drinking and avoiding responsibility. But an opportunity to do something new, like opening their own bar on another world? That’s hard to resist.
A Matter of Perspective
A ‘morning’ in the life of Chan, one of the pilots of the transport craft ferrying the colonists to their new home.
Fear is a hard thing to fight, and when your fear is that of confessing your feelings to another, it can be paralyzing. For Skeeter, that means he needs to ask someone with more experience facing fear than he has. Tristan is an old scout with more time in combat zones than in a kitchen, and more than a little difficulty toning down the answers he provides to the fox kit.
Drinks with Duggan
Duggan and Lissa work on their gear as they discuss renewing their contracts with ArCorp.
A Drive in the Woods
Harper and Chino are hoods, making their way in the underworld, but with aspirations to be more than they are. Some days, they are a little busier than others.
Ansel is a pup always in trouble, always fighting. His discovery of just why he excels at it will change his life forever.
Holidays with Zeke
Zeke and Colleen are an item now, and the time has come for him to meet her family. On the holiest of nights in the Tolean religion, of which Colleen’s father is a priest, Zeke goes to dinner at their home. The clash of cultures between his warlike nature and the pacifistic devotees of Tole could put his relationship on the rocks.
Into the Dark
Life as a fighter pilot is what Cutter always wanted. A cat in a job dominated by birds, he works his tail off to be better than anyone else, for in the vicious ship-to-ship space battles of which he is part, there is no prize except death for second best.
Meet the New Boss
Her previous job as a contract attorney has brought Vikki Duris to the attention of the colony’s Administration, and she finds herself presented with a new opportunity.
Red Light, Green Light
Red might not be the nicest Folk you’ll ever meet, but he’s got more kill markings on his fighter than many of his partners. Could the reason be a supernatural relationship with time?
Harper and Chino find themselves in a tight situation yet again, and it’s up to Harper to figure out a way to get out of it. Going straight is not the easy route they imagined.
Jinx, now an ArCorp sergeant, spent many of her younger years as a mercenary warrior, and drifted from planet to planet. Wherever she traveled, her propensity to be present when horrible events unfolded earned her the name she still carries. This day is no different, as her proximity to a terrorist attack proves.
The Darkness Inside
The Wolfguard is comprised of suicidal shock troops, dropped into horrific battles by the Combine due to their enormous success rates. Each has a death wish for their own reasons, and each is brutally efficient in their approach. Ivar and his axes wait impatiently for the doors of the drop ship to open and unleash him upon his foes.
Vives in Gladio
Ten wants to work her little farm and be left alone to contemplate her past and the new direction her faith has shown her, but an Empire Rodentia strike team puts her into a no-win situation.
The Voice in His Head
Sympathizers with the forces of Rodentia are out there, and sometimes the damage they wreak is incredible.
Doing My Job
Mag is just a normal dog who happens to be good at being a soldier. His day starts out like any other, on a simple patrol, and ends in a way he had only imagined.
Barhopping with Jinx
In the days before her assignment to Z262, the mercenary soldier Jinx finds herself aiding a local force in a sting operation, and she sees that sometimes things do not go the way she would want. As usual, her ill luck has come with her.
Chino and Harper’s Big Bang
Signing up for the trip to Z262 puts Harper and Chino in the wrong place at the right time, and the pair are quickly embroiled in yet another scene they wish they could have avoided.
The Armor of Gara
The Acolytes of Gara unveil their newest invention, cobbled together from random bits around the colony, to the Captain in charge of security, and the tenets of their faith are brought into question.
The killing machine Duggan is out wandering alone, only this time he’s in an environment unfamiliar to him: the first library on Z262. Will he find a new side to himself?
The Ghost of Shen Qi
Skeeter and Miranda are back, sneaking past the transport ship Marines and exploring on their own. They’re about to discover that old warships have pasts that come back from time to time.
A Fresh Start
Leaving a terrible incident behind him, Doctor Lin Waar signs up to move to Z262. Leaving the past, however, may mean he leaves his present as well.
A Relationship of Convenience
Harper and Chino are at it again, this time on the transport ship taking them to Z262. Setting up a criminal enterprise starts with creative thinking, and the pair of crooks may have found a new ally.
A Little Humility
The ArCorp scout Diem rescues Miranda and Skeeter from their own folly when the pair are caught in a restricted area by a monstrous Marine on the transport ship, and the lesson they learn is not what they expected.
Zeke and Mag teach colonists how to use the weaponry available, and explain some differences between their gear and that of Rodentia.