The atmosphere suit was something of an inconvenience, but he could still watch the wide, liquid metal lake ripple, spangle with pinks and blues and yellows and lap against the gnarled, melted and solidified carbon of the shore. It was calming.

Not being able to hear anything beyond the insulated helmet of the suit was something that he was yet to get used to. When June sat next to him he was startled.

“I didn’t expect to find you here, Marc. I was getting worried looking for you,” she said.

“What did you expect me to be doing?” Marc replied.

June shrugged and looked up at the methane and cyanide clouds, stained pink and green as they caught the light from the two suns sinking out of sight beyond the horizon.

“I thought you would have joined the group going out to net-hunt the tatter-birds,” June said, looking at him intently through her helmet.

As if on cue a flock of the huge creatures skimmed along the poisonous cloud deck—dark shadows that were about thirty feet long, but at this distance could have been no more than bats or sparrows. He watched them make their slow way from one end of the horizon to the other and disappear.

“It’s not really my thing,” he said. “I’m not enamoured with robbing creatures of their freedom.”

You can find the complete version of Fortune in issue 73 of TBD.

Will Couper