cover art by Richard Stroud
In the later years of Reconstruction following the Class Wars, enhanced human variants—envars—have outlived their initial purpose. Now, four generations of advanced genetic engineering lie sequestered on secret islands, awaiting disposal. Faced with their own mortality, a small band of envars revolt and escape to the mainland in search of answers…
“Do you believe there are other islands?” she had asked. Her eyes narrowed as she searched the brightening horizon.
“I dunno. I guess it’s possible,” Michael responded dubiously. He kept his eyes on the silvery waters of the sea.
“Do you believe everything the Elders have taught us?” She tossed him a suspicious sideways glance.
“Well, not everything,” he answered and then smiled slyly. “For instance, I’m fairly certain that when the Next arrive, they don’t just wash up on shore one night.”
She slapped him hard on the shoulder and shot him a look of impatience that quickly turned to a smile. He laughed aloud and shook his head.
She beamed at him and then chuckled through her own words. “I’m not talking about where the baby Fifths will come from, you undisciplined dolphin.” After a few minutes their giggles subsided.
“I mean about us as a people.” Her body drew tight. Her eyes were soft and serious as they searched his open face. His tender look of concern urged her on.
“Do you think this island—our island—is the last one of its kind?” Her gaze was desperate now, almost forlorn.
“What you really mean is,” he corrected, “are we the last of our kind?”