Sand Planet

(second person, light sci-fi, furry)

"You okay?" you hear an odd voice inquire in your direction.

Gradually awakening from a dreamless sleep, your conscious mind begins to boot up, and take stock of the reports coming in from your senses.

You're laying down on something comfortable. The air smells of burning wreckage, which isn't all that bad of a smell, for some inexplicable reason. It's warm, but hasn't been for long, as the radiant warmth of the sun is just beginning to soak pleasantly into your cold fur, and your slightly chilly flesh beneath.

Opening your eyes reveals a bluish sun dawning over white sand dunes, sparkling with little flecks of gold. Crackling sounds alert you to the source of the whispering you heard earlier; a white rabbit peering at you curiously, walking on some chips of debris, who smiles happily at the sight of your eyes opening.

You smile politely back at the odd bunny, then you turn to the left, and you take in the sight of the wreckage of your space ship, still tangled in multiple layers of impact balloon. Impact foam is scattered across the area as well, some big chunks, many smaller shreds... all of it degrading quickly in the morning sun, into small, harmless hydrocarbons.

You groan slightly and grimace; it wasn't your favorite ship, but your insurance rates are sure to become unpleasant after this.

The bunny is saying something about the sun, and UV rays, but you're too deep in thought to pay much attention. What the hell happened last night? You wonder, trying to figure out how you ended up crashed on an unfamiliar planet, when all you set out to do last night was go get some pizza, chips, and a vat of pre-mixed J-Lube.

The urgency of the bunny's pleas finally gets through to you, and your eyes focus on her face closely for the first time.

"Wha...?," you finally manage to state.

"The sun... the UV rays are extremely intense on this planet. Your... lovely fur would save most of your skin, but your nose and eyes would not handle it so well..."

You nod, and assess the situation. Might as well trust her, you decide, seeing as how your ship is a scrap-heap...

She helps you to your feet, and carefully brushes the sand off your fur, perhaps taking a little longer than is really necessary. You look over and see a sparkle of mischief in her eyes, and she stops and leads you to her ship.

It's a cute little white ship, probably goes pretty fast, but can't hold much.

You climb in, and are soon buckled in and ready to go, while the bunny takes a little longer, checking gauges and dials before fastening herself in as well. She is... clearly not quite a "she". And not quite a "he", either.

"It's about 150km to the outpost, " she says slowly, still mostly absorbed in the cockpit screens, "but it's pretty civilized, got a decent uplink, order up most anything we have on-planet within about 6 hours, contact your insurance company..."

You groan noticeably this time, and she gives you a look of empathy before continuing.

"...nice hotels, salvagers for rent, etc."

She/he pulls back on the control stick, and eases the throttle forward. Her ship wafts smoothly up to a safe distance above the rolling dunes, the windows darken visibly, and the acceleration presses you firmly back into your seat. You'll be there in no time at all.

You ride quietly together, as she seems intent on letting you rest and get your bearings after your uncertain evening.

Finally, the ship wafts over the final barrier into the frontier outpost; what the 20 meter high, 3 meter thick wall is intended to keep out, you'd rather not contemplate.

The entire town seems to have been built on fused glass, as it's common to make a stable base on the sands by the expedient of simply melting it together, forming a wavy, semi-opaque surface flecked with various minerals.

But the buildings are neatly constructed out of sandstone, with large gold and silver coated windows to keep out the harsh light of the sun.

A few furs are walking casually about on morning errands, clad in protective gloves, boots, and face shields.

Finally, the craft sets down inside of a small garage.

"Okay, here we are!" the bunny exclaims merrily, as you look about with uncertainty.

"Oh! So, I can take you to the uplink, and show you around town at everything you need, but..."

You look over at him/her, a bit suspicious at the pause

"I get so few visitors, and you seem like one of the nicer ones..." she smiles shyly at you.

"Tell me something, would you?" she asks softly, and then looks into your eyes briefly before looking back down.

You nod, and her eyes begin to sparkle.

"Do you... do you like to cuddle?"

Goat of Many Colors

(first person, silly, implied zoo)

But it was in the coldness of morning, in the stable rich in the earthy scents I'd so come to love, and still groggy in the early light of day, that I first realized we were not alone.

My caprine companion Clover and I had drunk the last of the Pinot Noir, and tired ourselves out thoroughly from the previous evening's playful exertions, so I suspect that neither of us were prepared for the visitation which soon commenced.

From a portal unseen, they entered the stable in pairs, carrying strange devices, speaking quietly to one another in a strange jabber not unlike the rattling of loose mufflers.

I felt as if some level of decorum was called for, and yet felt ill-equipped to provide it, as my overalls were quite covered in hay, and my breath still no doubt contained the unmistakable scent of Clover's excitement.

Still, we managed as best we could, Clover even managing a four-legged curtsy, which I found so impressive that I completely overlooked the remarkableness of a goat having the presence of mind to curtsy, to begin with.

But I digress.

The important thing is that, by now, our visitors, from another dimension no doubt, and who probably didn't drive here, at any rate, had by now taken our measurements, and were at this very moment fitting us with respectable clothing.

"No," Clover exclaimed, stamping her left front hoof for emphasis, "That will not do!"

I nodded sagely in agreement; for she had a point, you see: not only were we not "respectable"(in the vernacular sense bandied about by the petticoat-wearing buffoons and dandies who made their living kissing the boots and polishing the knobs of elderly barristers, men-about-town, aldermen, and the lowest of the nobility/hangers on) but it wasn't the bright, homespun fashion we'd come to enjoy, living in the stables at the Inn of a small mining village.

Our visitors seemed somewhat put-upon at first, but a small one in the back raised his antennae, summoning forth a brilliant cloak, which sparkled and shifted between a glorious blend of pastel colors continuously.

"Amen!" I exclaimed, no doubt causing The Lord to burst into fits of derisive laughter.

Mt. Lemmon, and it's extraterrestrial colonies

(fictitious non-fiction, sci-fi)

´╗┐For instance, one fact newcomers to the Tucson area may not realize, is that Mt. Lemmon is home to not one, but *two* colonies of extraterrestrial life. It's true!

The first creatures to make contact with us are a race of cute, otter-like creatures, roughly 2 meters tall, and weighing about 80kgs, with smooth, reddish-brown fur, and large, bright eyes, that sparkle with mischief.

They made their base beneath a rocky ledge northeast of the summit, which they further excavated using powerful lasers. The intense heat of the lasers, carefully modulated, solidified the material left behind, forming an oddly smooth, and incredibly strong dome resembling mafic lava.

Beneath this dark dome, they also hollowed out a glassy-smooth, but much lighter bowl, perhaps 10 meters deep in the center, and 100 meters around. This forms the pool they prefer to live and play in, filled with water heated to a temperature that both them, and their human associates, find quite comfortable.

Their pool is filled with many fountains, toys, and places to relax in, and take in the arc of northern sky visible beneath their ledge.

No one is exactly sure why they're here, but they are quite discreet about their presence, occasionally sharing with us what little of their technology we may understand, and they are incredibly cuddly and adorable.

They are even said to give amazing massages, and romantic relations with those humans they deem most honorable have been rumored to occur.

The other race, however, resembling living rocks or perhaps molluscs, is rather business, and not at all cuddly.

They evolved on a planet somewhat similar to ours, but with the addition of a nearby (astronomically speaking) X-ray pulsar, which frequently bathed the planet's surface in high levels of radiation.

Life still flourished in the labyrinth of rocky cliffs, crags and fault-lines etched deep into the surface of the planet by near-constant rainfall, but life was slow to adapt to surface life.

These rock creatures, however, evolved dense exoskeletons, which consisted primarily of barium compounds. It was these skeletons that finally gave them free reign of the planet's surface, and relative safety from the myriad predators that endlessly stalked the deep crevasses.

Lumbering beneath their heavy shells, they were not fast creatures, but they had no need to be; they lived for thousands of years, and became masters at robotics, and direct interfacing of biology with machinery.

To what few humans have seen them, they appear to be simply very large, lumbering molluscs, with dark, mottled, conical shells heavily freckled with bioluminescent dots. Long ago, they communicated primarily through patterns in these glowing spots. While they now communicate primarily via cybernetic interface, they still seem to enjoy communicating the old way, perhaps for fun, or as a way of expressing emotion(much like human non-verbal communication).

While it may be that the otter creatures regard Earth only as a fun place to vacation, the shell creatures are engaged in rare mineral trade, and prefer to spend their time underground, in immense, steamy chambers deep beneath the summit of Mt. Lemmon, heated to around 50C.

Perhaps most unfortunate of all, is that they seem utterly uninterested in giving us massages, and romantic relations are simply out of the question.