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Replay Value

Replay Value by Damien Krsteski   The Designer, 1   He paused the recording, and the leeches attached to the game’s server ceased throbbing, fell off. Every movement and action, no matter how minute, of the past year of each player of the game, he held in a file on his computer, and he watched as that full year’s worth of data replicated itself to redundancy and scattered across his memory sticks, self-encrypting with each step. Fingers stilled above the keyword, waiting for a shiver of excitement to pass, then he set to work, extracting actions into re-runnable modules,...

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Psycholizards

  Psycholizards By R.R. Brooks On Christmas she gave frankincense, myrrh, and best of all, lead. Dad would be happy I have a job. Not a great one—hell, here I am picking up rocks and hauling them back to the dome.  We’re looking for metal ore on Kimballo, a Goldilocks planet with two suns.  But I’ve got another angle: to find Dad’s creature. Getting this job was no sweat. I’m in my twenties, plenty fit, and have creds—electrical engineering know-how and computer expertise.  Dropping out of school was a mistake.  Not only did I get crap from Dad—may he...

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A Fair Bet

  A Fair Bet Historical Fiction By Harold R. Thompson   The latest bet was whether Ensign Aldridge, No. 4 Company Royal Hampshire Fusiliers, could strike three targets in a row with his Colt revolver at fifteen paces. Lieutenant Henry, also of No. 4 Company, accepted. The stakes were a bottle of champagne, which could be purchased in the adjacent French camp. “Three targets in three shots?” Henry said. “Three targets, three shots!” Aldridge agreed. “What if a cap misfires?” The Colt percussion caps were notorious for failing. “A misfire is a miss,” Aldridge said. “Three targets, three shots.”...

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Gimp’s Daughter

  Gimp’s Daughter Robert Walton   Bogerd sipped white brandy and thought of his daughter and his grandchildren, far away in the land of the Franks. Ingrid trailed an index finger across the inside of his left forearm, traced an old scar and then paused. He looked up at her, looked at the full, soft curve of her cheek, so much like Erika’s.  He sighed and was suddenly aware that he was much too old for such as Ingrid.   He realized this, to his great surprise, with more amusement than horror.  He patted her hand and said, “Nay, Ingrid,...

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Nine and a Half Fingers

  Nine and a Half Fingers By Eddie D. Moore   Lord Tybalt examined the bloody stump that used to be his finger with a sense of detachment. Blood sprayed into the air with each beat of his heart. He pulled a handkerchief from his jacket pocket with his left hand and then tightly wrapped what was left of his right forefinger as he spoke to the caged leopard in front of him. “Well, Hissy, that wasn’t very nice at all.” Hissy stared through the cage’s bars with eyes full of menace and hissed in response. “I’ll feed you...

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