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”
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”
Originally published in Tri-Galactic Trek, November 2021
Grawf awoke from her long sleep, yawned widely, and lumbered out of her cot and over to the window. Her ursine reflection hovered ghost-like over the black field of space, a bulky, brown-furred bear in plaid pajamas, dotted by pinpricks of starlight. She wondered where the starship Initiative had flown to, what wonderous places had been explored without her, during her hibernation. Continue reading “Skin of Reflection”
Engleine hesitated with the upgrade chip mere millimeters from the docking port in her beloved Hansel’s head. His mechanical ear flicked, and he said, “You stopped. Why?”
“Are you sure you’re ready for this upgrade?” Engleine asked. Her own conical ears — a biological mirror of his mechanical ones — had flattened behind her long head. She shuffled her hind hooves on the floor, and her keratinous hoof-fingers tightened on the upgrade chip that would push Hansel — her dance partner and best friend — from the seeming-sentience that had fooled her into believing he was fully his own person into an actual sentient robot. Continue reading “Clever Hansel 2020”
Originally published in Exploring New Places, July 2018
Captain Pierre Jacques sniffed the air on Planet 227. It was dry and sweet, very still in his whiskers, and chill on his bare pink skin. None of his science officers had mentioned being cold, but then Captain Jacques was the only Sphynx cat in his crew. Everyone else had fur under their Tri-Galactic Navy uniforms.
“It’s exhilarating!” Captain Jacques said, eliciting a polite but distracted nod from the nearest officer, a junior scientist tabby who was busy scanning the unusual red-brown rock clusters with a uni-meter. Continue reading “The Rocky Spires of Planet 227”
S’lisha traced her scaly claw over the transparent metal surface of the incubator. It was the most complex cargo crate that she’d ever seen — heating and cooling coils all around the sides, a humidifier built into the base, and brackets inside to hold all of the eggs carefully in place. It had come with detailed instructions for all the settings — cool at first, but warmer and moister over time. Continue reading “Many Tiny Feet”
Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018
A metal behemoth cruised through the nebula, cool and casual, like it didn’t care about any of the frolicking younglings and their sing-song radio waves or the older starwhals jockeying for territory, rearranging the ambient dust into moats and walls.
Originally published in Shark Week: An Ocean Anthology, June 2021
Salty air tickled Commander Wilker’s long nose and whistled past his pointed ears. The light ocean breeze ruffled the long fur of his Collie mane. He placed a paw gently on the hull of his shuttle craft, parked on the small, sandy island in the middle of a yawning purple-blue sea. He was waiting for his co-pilot to join him, a local to this watery world.
Though he wouldn’t mind if they were running late. The Collie dog had seldom been anywhere as peaceful as the surface of Kallendria 7. There was an entire, technologically advanced society on this world, but it was all beneath the waves. Up here, he could have been standing on a completely untouched, unpopulated world. Nothing as far as the eye could see except for rolling purple waves, deep blue sky, and the occasional silver sand island. Continue reading “The Unshelled”
Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, May 2021
When the snow began falling inside Crossroads Space Station, all of the aliens stopped what they were doing and held very still. The snowflakes caught on long fuzzy manes and feathered wings; they pinged lightly against hard insectile carapaces and shimmering reptilian scales. The white flakes hung in the air, stirred by the puffs of breath from snouts and beaks. The breaths themselves crystallized in the sudden chill.