Do You Control Your Business Spending?

How you manage money in your own life, including how you buy and pay for things, is fundamental to your financial wellbeing. Whether it’s spending too much, missing credit card payments, or deciding…


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The Fortress of Apples

Illustration by Tim Boucher

Liminal Spaces: A Robotic Romance, Part 9

Just arrived? Jump to part: 1 | 2 |3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

As Franklin the Robot neared the shore, the breeze became stronger, and the ground sandier. It was a coarse, grey sand, from which sprang tall, beige plants that looked like wheat. Other vegetation coiled beneath his feet, as he walked along what appeared to be a footpath. It wound through a salt-marsh, and now he could identify reeds and cat-tails, with which he was familiar from his years at sea. The occasional small, yellow bird flitted midway up the level of the plants, and great, pointed insects drifted along on translucent, tear-shaped wings. One landed on his bad hand for a moment and perched, and he meditated on its resemblance to a Xebec-Class Intersat Solarsled, marveling at the wondrous similarities of shape and form that made the universe such an interesting place. The green and blue creature lifted into the air, and vibrated off to continue its journey.

Finally, after 102 minutes since his sensors came back online, he hefted himself over a line of sand dunes and looked down at the beach. The beach itself was fairly unremarkable: sand stretching indefinitely in two directions, pthalo-colored water swelling to white-tipped crashers, plateaus of rocks covered in laver and long strands of bull whip kelp spiraled over broken shells. The sea pleased him, and he recollected an effusion of salt spray sizzling off of him as he crawled across the gunmetal-colored hulk of the Haikou, hundreds of meters above the churning eddies below. The kindness of its familiarity almost made him overlook the strangenesses of this place.

He listened for the sounds of gulls or terns, but only detected the hoarse croaking of some uncouth member of the genus Corvus, coming from somewhere to the north. The shell fragments at his feet were the dark sienna color of rust, or dried blood. Great skeletons of driftwood punctuated the horizon in both directions. Only the cliched ribs of an antique wooden ship sticking out of the sand would have contributed further to the suggestion that some enormous battle between dinosaurs had taken place here in the recent past. Franklin liked dinosaurs, especially the plesiosaur, with its hose-like neck extending from the water. He spent a moment picturing a fleet of the…

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