The Dreaming Arm

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, December 2022


“The dreaming arm had doomed them all, urging them to spend energy they didn’t have to spare…”

One arm sagged.  Seven arms writhed and worked, puckering their sucker discs and pulling the joint-being they composed across the slippery rocks.  The gaspingly dry, slippery rocks.  But the sagging arm — as little as it helped with pulling, and as much as it acted like a dead weight needing to be pulled — had dreamed about crossing the rocks.  It had dreamed of wonders on the other side.  And seven other arms had listened to those dreams.  Been compelled by those dreams, drawn to explore the rocks at the top edge of the ocean. Continue reading “The Dreaming Arm”

The Arsenal of Obsolescence

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Voice of Dog, June 2021


“Clearly, these gerbils weren’t as primitive as they looked, and she needed to trust them. She needed to trust someone.”

Lieutenant Vonn crashed through the undergrowth of the wild alien rainforest.  The uplifted yellow Labrador felt like the branches were grabbing at her, tearing at her Tri-Galactic Navy uniform.  She hated this planet.  Usually, she liked planets.  Ground missions were her favorite — getting off the stuffy, artificial halls of the starship Initiative, and setting paw to dirt.  She lived for that stuff — fresh air, walking about in the sunshine!  But right now, all she could think about was Commander Wilker and Consul Tor, stuck in a hole in the ground — a deep, dark ditch; a trap lined with primitive pointed sticks that kept her from climbing safely down after them. Continue reading “The Arsenal of Obsolescence”

The Words in Frosting

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, July 2019


“…it wasn’t her place to judge. It was her place to bake cakes and to kick sad androids out of her bakery if they didn’t shape up and start buying some cake…”

Gary was a humanoid android, programmed to experience the complete range of human emotions.  Right now, he was sad.  His broad shoulders slouched, and his head hung, framing his handsome face with his beautiful raven hair.  He had been designed to be beautiful.

Chirri wasn’t sure what to do with this sad android who’d shown up in her bakery, so she served him a piece of cake on the house.  The felinid-alien slid a gold-embossed ceramic plate in front of Gary, and the android stared disconsolately at the piece of fudgy caramel cake on it for several seconds — a very long time for an android — before saying, “I don’t eat.” Continue reading “The Words in Frosting”

Queen Doripauli and the Sproutlings

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018


“What did an amphibioid care for the political concerns of sentient flowers?”

Sloanee’s slick, sticky amphibioid fingers wrapped around one of Queen Doripauli’s slender twigs.  The queen’s sea-green fronds uncurled, caressing the richer green skin of her amphibioid lover.  Doripauli’s yellow daisy-like petals brushed ever-so-lightly against Sloanee’s face, and the froggy alien’s bulbous eyes closed blissfully.

How could Sloanee give this up?  She had loved Queen Doripauli since she’d first set eyes on the photosynthetic floral alien.  Her eyes were pink roses; her mouths were blue irises; she was a living bouquet — color and splendor and everything that was right with a universe filled with infinite diversity. Continue reading “Queen Doripauli and the Sproutlings”

Waking Up in the Genie Shop

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018


“You came to us as a female amphibioid and paid us to change you into a male canid. You’re a Heffen now, one of the most common species here on Crossroads Station.”

Sloanee opened her eyes and felt her heart racing.  What was she doing?  Lying down?  She was on the lam.  She should be running or hiding.  Nowhere was safe from the royal guards pursuing her.  Queen Doripauli and her army of photosynthetic tumbleweed-like aliens would stop at nothing to catch and punish the amphibioid who had betrayed them.

Betrayed her. Continue reading “Waking Up in the Genie Shop”

Crystal Fusion

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Voice of Dog, August 2021


“Yet she found herself speechless, staring at the crystal facets, mesmerized by the way the light played over them, winking and shining at her as if the light itself were a lifeform trying to catch her attention.”

“Here, let me carry those,” Lt. Vonn woofed to the team of scientists packing a crate with electronic devices that looked like funny mechanical spiders, sprouting metal legs in every direction.

The scientists — an orange tabby cat wearing techno-focal goggles, an arctic fox android, and a very striking brown cat with leopard spots — finished arranging the last few mechanical spiders, closed the top over them, and stepped back from the heavy crate gratefully.  Lt. Vonn stood a head and shoulders taller than all three of them — even the spotted cat, who was unusually tall for a cat. Continue reading “Crystal Fusion”

Ensign Mewly

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Tri-Galactic Trek, November 2021


“Ensign Mewly used the lumo-bay programs more than any other officer. He found them useful for practicing social scenarios and simply escaping from the constant sensation of being lost in the deep, dark void…”

A cat with ghost-white fur walked into the lumo-bay, the sleeves of his Tri-Galactic Navy uniform pushed up above his elbows and a bucket of electronic tools hanging from one paw.

The blue grid lines of the lumo-projectors usually sketched out regular, hexagonal patterns on the dark lumo-bay walls when it was not in operation.  Right now, they looked more like drunk squiggles. Continue reading “Ensign Mewly”

Jetpack and Cyborg Wings

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, October 2018


“Neither of them wore spacesuits — their exoskeletons protected most of their bodies, and a thin coating of amphiphilic goo around their joints sealed the gaps up well-enough for an hour long joy-jaunt around the station’s exterior.”

Lee-a-lei and her clone-daughter Am-lei perched in the Crossroads Station recreational airlock with their long spindly legs folded.  The two lepidopterans exchanged a glance with glittering, multi-faceted eyes.  Lee-a-lei was nervous and kept flapping her mechanical wings, but her daughter looked excited.

Am-lei didn’t have wings.  She’d followed the traditions of their homeworld and had her yellow-blue-and-purple wings cut off after she metamorphosed.  So, she wore a simple zero-gee jetpack like a human or one of the canine Heffens would.  The jetpack strapped around her thorax, firmly secured.  Lee-a-lei had checked her daughter’s straps several times. Continue reading “Jetpack and Cyborg Wings”

Thirty Honey Feasts To Go

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Theme of Absence, July 2018


“My great-great-great-grandmother was the last queen who had the honor of awakening you,” the ship’s computer answered. It was a hybrid brain — part computer, part hive — with the reigning bee queen at its heart.

Marga held her broad paw up to the star-studded window, lining it up so a single spark of light tipped each of her blunted claws.  Her own constellation.  She wondered if any of those stars had habitable worlds circling them.  She knew none of them was New Sholara.  Not from this window.  Not from this side of the ship.

A purple-and-amber-striped worker bee buzzed down and landed on the thick brown fur of Marga’s shoulder, reminding her that life support was limited.  She left the window behind and moved from one cryonics pod to the next, starting their rejuv cycles.  Bees followed her, buzzing in the air. Continue reading “Thirty Honey Feasts To Go”

Cosmic the Pangolin

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, October 2022


“She ran until — and this had never happened to the zippy little pangolin before — she started to feel tired.”

Cosmic the Pangolin raced over the hills and vales of Mossy Valley Zone, her clawed feet skipping across the emerald ground so fast her talons left burning skid marks in the grass behind her.  She saw a loop-de-loop looming ahead where the ground swerved into the sky and in preparation she curled her head forward, tucking her chin; then she dropped into a complete roll, her entire nebula-purple body tightening into an armored ball.

She raced forward at an unbelievable speed, leaving the grass burnt behind her.  She raced the clock.  She raced against time.  She raced herself on previous attempts at this zone.  But most importantly, she raced against Professor Robotron and her diabolical mechanical chickens. Continue reading “Cosmic the Pangolin”