The Rise of Aurora Sung

“We can study the biology all day long, down to the cells, down to her entire genome. But from what I can tell, we’ll never get to the bottom of it that way.” Mira dropped the file on the table with a sigh. “This ability is not biological.”

“So you’re calling it an ability? Not a condition?”

Though Mira had been working for the Agency long enough to have seen plenty that was fantastical herself, she was always surprised and skeptical when she encountered something new.

And the tale of the rising girl was something new.

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Storyfeather Year Ten

Happy Birthday, Storyfeather! Year Ten has concluded. As always, thank you to everyone who read even a single story. Thank you to everyone who liked or commented. Thank you for your time and interest, and for being a part of Storyfeather, especially Year Ten.

This was the Year of Fusion. I assigned a theme to every month, like ships to September and creatures to January. And came up with matching nicknames for my own amusement (e.g., Shiptember and Beastuary). This theme served as the base element for that month’s stories. I combined this base element with a fusion element, some randomly chosen object, concept, character, or so on. And I put it all into the Fiction Fusion Reactor to see what kind of exotic fictional particles would fly forth.

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The Surgeon and the Patchwork Corpse

“The stitching is rough,” Roxanne said.

For she could find nothing else to say in the moment, so overwhelmed was she by what she observed lying on the gurney.

But Francis misunderstood. He thought she was jesting and chuckled a bit. “You would have done it better,” he said.

When first he spoke to her about his “humble ambitions,” with what he meant to do, Roxanne had admired his efforts. Francis was inspired in his researches by his favorite story, the tale of the Modern Prometheus. But he would take warning from Mary Shelley’s work of fiction. The limits of his experimentation was to be tissues floating in dishes. He only wanted to see if he could keep those tissues alive after the whole body that supported those tissues failed.

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Trapped in a Star Core

“They’re still existent?”


“Both of them?”

“Only one has responded, but according to their report, yes, both are existent.”

A pause, as the technicians gazed at the display of the strangely pulsing star. At last one of them spoke again, eight quiet words.

“Someone has to go in and get them.”

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The Cosmic Arachnoids

Even with filamentary travel getting more and more common, even thirty years after first detection, not many people from Earth—or any of our settled systems—will get to do what I’m on my way to doing.

Not many humans will ever get to see one up close and in person.

A cosmic arachnoid.

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The Researcher and the Rose

Monica heard the door’s seal hissing open a split second before she turned around. She halted her breath and had her helmet back on in the next second, but she knew it was too late.

She had shared air with the isolation suite. Even if she hadn’t breathed it in, even if she’d hit “expel” fast enough on her suit, she had shared some air. She sealed the door again, and she peered through the glass at the brilliant flower on the benchtop. A few of its petals had dropped to the floor. Its leaves were curled inward.

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The Eye That Won’t Die

“I’m skeptical,” I said.

The surgeon’s eyes smiled down at me. A mask covered her mouth.

“You’re in good hands, Miss Forte,” she said.

My mind tripped through memories as it wound down into sleep. When next I woke, I would have two eyes again.

A reward, they said, for my “outstanding heroism” in the course of my duties.

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