“A Dry, Quiet War,” by Tony Daniel


I cannot tell you what it meant to me to see the two suns of Ferro set behind the dry mountain east of my home. I had been away twelve billion years. I passed my cabin, to the pump well and, taking a metal cup from where it hung from a set-pin, I worked the handle three times. At first it creaked, and I believed it was rusted tight, but then it loosened, and within fifteen pulls, I had a cup of water.

(via) Bleak, epic, and yet intimate — this is one of my favorite science-fiction short stories of all time.