The Lemonuclear Conductor

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Digital drawing of a humanoid person with a long-haired mohawk and scaly skin on the left, seen from shoulders up and from the back, pointing at a display of multiple glowing holographic displays with various readouts. The main display shows some kind of containment vessel or reactor vessel.

The ridges on the back of my neck were prickling. 

I checked the feed from the cargo bay.  A dozen steel drums.  All of them full.  The bay was empty otherwise.  Normally that would have irked me, but the promised payment from this one delivery was worth the wastefulness of a near-empty cargo bay.  The drums and their contents were pre-approved to pass through every one of the near-hundred checkpoints that we were about to encounter.  It would not have been worth the risk of being stopped at every checkpoint for a full reckoning of our cargo if we were carrying our usual assortment of items—living, non-living, legal…not-so-legal. Continue reading

Oddnever

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Digital drawing of the view down the aisle of a convenience store. In the foreground with their backs turned to the viewer are two store employees. Across from them at the end of the aisle is a figure sticking a hero landing–one knee down, the other bent forward, one hand on the ground, and the other thrown back. The figure is wearing glasses and a hoodie. Two glowing pink wings sprout from their back.

Oddnever adjusted her spectacles, tucked in her wings, rolled open her scroll, and touched the tip of her quill to her tongue.  She peered into the mirror that was set in the modest front room of her modest abode within an acorn tree.  That mirror had been locked so that she was only able to look through it, not step through it.  Oddnever was, after all, different from other sprites.  She could be trusted and relied upon.  She was capable of focusing for long stretches of time.  And she was thought to be too slow to evade the human gaze—likely because she was taller than was typical for her kind.  Therefore she was forbidden from visiting the human realm. 

While she wasn’t generally mischievous, Oddnever was keenly curious. Continue reading