Three stories made the "that doesn't suck" cut this week. Here's the first one:
By David Goodner
the end came, it wasn’t with a bang, but with a sigh. The Knarv tried conventional warfare, but
humanity has been fighting and scrapping for thousands of years. Even with their better technology, we fought
on. We murdered them by the thousands as
we died by the millions. Then we stole
their technology and murdered by the tens of thousands, the hundreds of
thousands. And we did what we have
always done. We out-bred them. The Vorgull tried orbital bombardment, but by
then we had mastered kinetic shields, stolen from the Knarv.
the Jax destroyed us. They killed us
with the least of things, something more fecund than we were. It was a virus, introduced to the planet on a
rock too small to merit disintegrating.
The plague ripped across mankind, but we stopped it. We came up with a vaccine. It mutated to our livestock, and that was
bad. The myriad strains each required a
different cure. But by then we were
growing yeast cultures for most of our food anyway. Our ships hunted Jax ships, harried them from
the virus mutated again, and again. Then
it mutated some more. By the time we
noticed the final form, it was too late.
Transmitted by air, it silently infected its host organisms for years
before we understood. It rewrote their
DNA. In a way, it made them stronger,
there was one crucial change. Infected
plants… all plants… no longer turned oxygen into carbon dioxide. They started breathing out methane, just like
the Jax breathed. Millions of species,
too many to cure. Day by day, the earth
poisons her children. The plants die,
too. They still need oxygen, and every
hour there’s less to breathe.
could try leaving. We will try. But only a fraction of us will make it. Earth is dead, and with it dies the beating
heart of the human empire.
we’re not going to die alone. Our
scientists learned from the Jax metavirus.
They learned to make a virus that turns methane-breathers into cyanide-producers. There are twelve major worlds in the Jax
cluster. We have twelve ships armed and
ready to go.
will fight to the last breath.