The bear’s paws were covered with honey. It dripped from her claws in sticky, amber droplets. It clumped her thick brown fur together between her paw pads. Everything she touched, her paw came away leaving a ghostly paw print behind, a gleaming sheen of sugar where it had been. She could touch nothing without giving herself away.
Emerald and Amber were each named for the rich, gemstone color of their eyes. Other than that, the sister cats looked the same — each with fur as black as the night sky and elegantly curving whiskers as bright white as shooting stars.
Other cats in the neighborhood shared whispered rumors that those bright white whiskers could grant a wish to a cat brave enough to fight the pair and yank one out. No cat had ever tried. The other neighborhood cats knew better than to challenge Emerald and Amber. It was too important to stay in their good favor. Continue reading “Their Eyes Like Portals”
Holly’s bedroom looked like a scene out of Roger Rabbit or one of those other movies that mix animation and traditional film styles to make it look like cartoon characters and normal human beings live in the same world. Holly knew there were a bunch more recent movies like that, but her parents mostly only let her watch movies that had come out years before she was even born. They weren’t subscribed to any streaming services, so everything they watched came from a huge wall of bookshelves filled with actual DVDs. Continue reading “Cosmic and Miley”
Jeko lifted her trunk and trumpeted along with the latest Star-Shaker song which she’d turned up to completely fill her small room aboard Crossroads Station. Her trunk swayed along with the beat, and the reptilian pop-star’s lilting, raspy voice was loud enough that Jeko didn’t have to feel embarrassed about her own brassy tones. The elephantine alien never sang in front of other people, but she loved to sing when she was alone. Especially when she was happy. Continue reading “The Elephant Bride’s Bouquet”
The Seamstress Robot’s shop was a little hole in the wall in the Merchant’s Quarter of Crossroads Station. The seamstress robot herself looked a lot like a giant mechanical spider — all spindly silver legs, overly jointed and coming to extremely delicate points, capable of grabbing, manipulating, and piercing fabric. Also, generating fabric. The seamstress robot, like an actual spider, could generate silk. And synthetic cotton. And synth wool. And velvet, taffeta, patterned prints, fake leather… just about any material you could imagine could be generated, strand by strand, from the tip of her 3D printer leg. Continue reading “The Seamstress Robot and the Insect Bride”
Orange Sherbet logged into the Mythical Proportions VR Cafe as soon as her teacher closed the 2nd grade classroom Zoom for the day. She’d already finished her homework for the evening, and the rest of the week for that matter. The assignments were all way too easy for her, almost insultingly easy, so she’d been working ahead. And she was far enough ahead that the whole rest of the day was hers. Neither of her parents would bug her about wasting her time in the digital world, because they’d just assume she was doing homework, as long as she didn’t do anything to give herself away. VR goggles were helpful that way — they kept nosy parents from peeking over her shoulder to look at her screen. Continue reading “Orange Sherbet Unlocks a Better Loot Box”
Ekko felt the cool currents of water rush past her as she swam with all her might toward the ocean’s surface. Her powerful tail pumped; her belly muscles clenched and released, over and over, as she barreled through the blue. Then with a mighty splash, she emerged from the blue of the deep into the blue of the sky, trading a thick atmosphere for a thin one. Rivulets and droplets of water streamed off her aerodynamic body as she soared upward, leaving the Earth and its heartbreakingly empty oceans behind. Continue reading “Ekko the Orca”
Originally published in Tri-Galactic Trek, December 2019
The alien probe gleamed like a star, small and bright, on the Initiative’s main view screen.
“Can we get closer?” Captain Pierre Jacques asked. The Sphynx cat’s pink ears skewed to the side, betraying his excitement. The Initiative was in deep, unexplored space, and the presence of an artificial object of any sort implied an entire civilization that must have created it. An entire civilization that the cats and dogs of the Tri-Galactic Navy had never encountered before. Captain Jacques loved nothing more than first contact missions. Continue reading “The Farther One Travels”
Originally published in Tri-Galactic Trek, December 2019
Fact was not a fox, but it was easiest for the canine and feline crew of the starship Initiative to think of zir as one. With snowy white silicon fur and yellow eyes flecked by actual gold flakes, zhe looked uncanny enough without worrying about whether zir creator had meant zir to be a cat or a dog.
Fact’s ears were too perfectly triangular to be a dog’s; zir muzzle was too long and narrow to be a cat’s. Zhe was an android, and zhe didn’t mind being thought of as a fox. Continue reading “Fact and Myth”
Originally published in What the Fox?!, March 2018
Lieutenant Libby Unari, a black cat and science officer with a focus on botany, had a tray of biology samples in her lap — cuttings and sprouts, planted in soil samples — taken from a forest moon. The moon itself hung like a green star in the rear window of the shuttle craft, receding into the distance as they flew away.
“That was a very peaceful away mission,” Captain Pierre Jacques meowed. The pink-skinned Sphynx cat didn’t usually accompany away teams down to previously unexplored planets, but he’d made an exception for this forest moon. “Why, I don’t think I’ve felt that relaxed since I was a kitten! I should get off the bridge of the Initiative more often.”
Lt. Unari’s black triangular ears skewed. “I don’t think it was just the break from your daily routine… There’s something very strange about some of these plants. Continue reading “Rapscallions”