Up next is a sci-fi story in which a xenobiologist discovers that her passion for alien life runs much deeper - and much more physically - than she expected. Have a little teaser:
Linda was so focused on the alien creature that she hardly noticed as something brushed against her ankle.I’ll have such excellent data from this! She thought exultantly, holding her communicator steady as it took in video, audio and a range of other more eclectic data. It couldn’t compare with what they could learn from a live specimen, but as yet they had no way to judge how fragile this ecosystem might be and no clearance to take live animals.The six-legged creature turned to her. It regarded her for a long moment, nictating membranes sliding over its eyes and back like the shutter of a camera – and in a few swift bounds it fled, moving quicker than she could hope to track.She sighed. Even a few moments’ worth of data were priceless, here, even if she had hoped to observe this creature longer. I’m sure I’ll find more of its kind here, she thought.Linda turned and took a step, ready to move on, only to topple headlong to the ground. Just as she was about to impact with the spongy forest floor, something looped round her waist, halting her fall but knocking the breath from her all the same.Breathless and confused, she looked round to see what in the world had happened. To her shock, something like a thick, almost fleshy cable had looped around her ankle, and its larger twin had her by the waist. Her eyes followed the strange snaking things back to their source… the undulating coils of the anemone-like thing she had previously assumed to be a plant.
And after that story?
Well, you'll just have to wait and see.