- Upaya, or the Road to Hell: In which the "worst criminal in human history" explains why she had to save humanity by destroying it.
- The Gate of Eirene: In which a despised cyborg observer first watches everything go to hell, and then decides to steal an experimental starship and take a group of surviving humans to safety out among the stars. And fails. Or does he?
- The Peace War: How the humans colonized an inhabited alien planet while fighting off the enemy they brought with them.
I even started writing "Upaya". Couldn't help myself! Argh! Here's the opening:
The prison is an anonymous ship drifting silently in the asteroid belt, its location a closely-guarded secret. The prisoner is the only human aboard. The crew and staff are all machine intelligences, as they were deemed superior in reliability, patience, and detachment, with their emotions dialed down to their minimum settings. The machines don't care about the crime; they only care about the optimal operation of the prison.
Over the past twenty years, security has only been breached four times, and only once did the would-be executioners get so far as to board the ship. The hull still shows the scars where the assassins blasted through the airlock door.
Today's visitor is no vigilante. She has official clearance from the Screening Board to be here, in person, on this prison ship.
"Ah, so you've come to see the monster, have you?" The prisoner bares her teeth at the visitor in an approximation of a smile.
The visitor squirms and clearly doesn't want to look at the prisoner, even with the bullet-proof glass wall that separates them. She mumbles, "It's merely a formality."
...and just reading that much makes me wonder, why bother trying to board the ship? Why not just blow it up from a distance? But the ship must have sophisticated and powerful anti-collision systems/weapons/detection/whatever, as a stray hit from even a tiny rock could rip it open, so it would be well-defended against missiles. But then how could attackers get close? Traitors aboard? Not likely. Confuse the AIs and sneak in? Hit it with an EMP? (They defended against the possibility.) Overwhelm the defenses with a swarm, hope something gets through and hits? But you'd detect the swarm before it got that close and take evasive action. We're assuming the assassins can't get ahold of a whole fleet, which is true. They're the lunatic fringe of Solarian citizens. (Should I even be calling them "Solarian citizens"? Eh, what the hell.) So yeah.