Escape Pod 795: Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right

Tiger Lawyer Gets It Right

By Sarah Gailey

Vladislav Argyle rested his head on the cool titanium surface of the plaintiff’s table. It dipped a little under the sudden weight of his skull, then hummed as the antigrav lifts adjusted their power to accommodate their new burden.

“Mr. Argyle? Are you alright?” The bandage-swathed tip of Argyle’s client’s primary tentacle crackled near his ear, and he knew that she was touching his temple in a gesture of inquiry. The people of Ursa Vibrania were very skull-oriented in their communications. It was sweet, really, how they wanted to know what was happening inside every other endoskeletal vertebrate creature’s head. How much they wanted to understand.

Argyle clenched his fists in his lap. The Vibranians were so kind, and they had trusted him to help them, and he was failing. As always.

“I’m fine,” he said through his teeth. “Just a little ritual I have after opening statements.”

Technically, the person sitting next to Argyle was a symbol. An entire planetoid couldn’t fit in the seat on the plaintiff’s side of the courtroom, so they’d chosen someone who they thought best represented their case: Nxania V, an adolescent of the most-developed sapient species on the husk of what had once been her homeworld. The optics were perfect. Nxania was covered in bandages to hide her weeping sores, and her growth had been stunted by the ruination of her planetoid, so her skull seemed just a little too big for her body. Her physique appealed to humanoids, who appreciated the childlike vulnerability of a big head wobbling around on a little body; and it appealed to Vibranians, who tended to correlate large skulls with trustworthiness and transparency.

The media loved Vibrania v. Blick. They loved the narrative of the corrupt, greedy corporation exploiting the resources of the vulnerable planetoid of empaths. All those images of Vibranian children with burns on their tentacles, little old Vibranian priests with their half-melted sceptres raised to the sky, orbital images of the exposed rift down the center of the Primary Continent — it played like a drama vid. And on the other side of the equation, there was Blick Media, Electricity, Gas & Capital, the louche ultramonopoly passed down through the hands of twenty generations of Blicks.

The Blicks could have swept the case under the rug. That’s what Argyle had expected would happen when he took the case on: a settlement big enough to evacuate Ursa Vibrania, but not so big that Blick MEGC would have to file for bankruptcy. Vibrania v. Blick was never supposed to see a courtroom. Argyle counted settlements as wins, and he had really hoped that this case would be his first win.

But of course, nothing could be that easy. The media and the public saw this case as Good People versus Evil Corporation, and the Blick family couldn’t stand to let that narrative go unanswered. It wasn’t enough for them to have more money than they could count; they wanted the public to love them, too.

That love was one of the only things they truly couldn’t buy. It was one of the only things that remained out of their reach — but they wanted it. So they’d let the case go to trial. Opening statements were over now, and Argyle could see the familiar silhouette of failure looming on the horizon. That silhouette was shaped a lot like opposing counsel, the representative for the defense: Astor Valentine.

And it was looming awfully close.

“You doing alright, Argyle?” Valentine’s voice was as silky as butter. His sharkskin shoes appeared in Argyle’s field of vision, just under the lip of the plaintiff’s table. “Deep breaths, buddy. It’ll all be over soon.”

Argyle lifted his head from the titanium and regarded his opponent. Valentine was everything Argyle wasn’t, everything Argyle had never been. He was smooth and polished. He was graceful and charming. He was good at practicing law.

“How do you do it, Valentine?” Argyle said. He used the arm of his threadbare suit to mop sweat from his top lip. “Is it true what they say? Are you really sharkmodded?”

Valentine’s lips twitched up into an effortlessly winsome smile. He seemed to have too many teeth for his mouth, and his eyes had a predatory gleam that lent a sort of terrifying sensuality to his appeal. It was common gossip that he’d been modded by the best surgeons in the business. At the sight of that smile, Argyle’s mouth went dry at the same time as his armpits went damp.

“I don’t need mods, my friend,” Valentine purred. “I’m just better than you.” He rested a heavy, well-manicured hand on Argyle’s shoulder. “See you tomorrow? I’m looking forward to it.”

“Yeah,” Argyle muttered, and before he could find a way to thank Valentine for humiliating him, he was overwhelmed by a fog of gin-smell.

“Why are you talking to them?” Leopold Blick appeared beside Valentine, his lip curled into a comfortable sneer.

Valentine closed his eyes for a moment. Argyle wondered how much Valentine must hate Blick — he’d never seen the other lawyer gather his patience like that. Usually, Valentine’s face was as serene as the ice rings of the Capitol Moons.

It made sense that this Blick would be the one to test Valentine’s patience. He was the humanoid equivalent of an amphetamine hangover. Blick was not a young man, but he was heavily modded to look like one, and the ill-fitting skin of his face made him seem drawn and nervous. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, glancing around the room, twitching his mouth in and out of a smile whenever someone important caught his eye.

Argyle privately suspected that Valentine had not wanted Leopold Blick V to be the face of the family in court, but Nana Blick was on a private safari hunting moon-whales, and Alphonse Blick, the family patriarch, was confined to a financial detoxification facility by court order. So instead of either of them, it was to be the favorite son of the family and the acting Tsar of Operations and Finances who would sit beside Valentine, to try to convince the courtroom that his company had done the right thing by illegally splitting an inhabited planetoid in half.

And he would probably succeed. No matter how terrible and loathsome he was, he couldn’t make Argyle a better lawyer.

“I was just leaving,” Valentine hissed at Blick. He patted Argyle’s shoulder one more time, then pivoted smoothly toward his client. “Let’s get out of here. I want you rested up and sober for tomorrow.”

Blick looked past Valentine, his eyes narrowed at Argyle. “We’re gonna eat you alive, you little weasel,” he spat. “You’re a pathetic excuse for a lawyer. Pathetic.

Valentine stepped between them. He grabbed his client by the lapels, giving him a brief shake before smoothing out the crumpled fabric. “That’s goddamn enough. You’re twitching like an electrified catmod, Blick. Go home. Hydrate.”

The two of them left without so much as looking back at Argyle. They hadn’t felt a need to put on a good face in front of him. They hadn’t felt a need to pretend to have their shit together.

“Mr. Argyle?” Nxania’s soft voice was in his ear, and he realized that he’d forgotten all about her, that he’d failed to pretend to have his shit together in front of her, and he closed his eyes tight to shut out his pathetic excuse for a life. He felt a tentacle brush his forehead. “Can I help?”

“I’m supposed to be the one helping you,” he said. “I’m sorry, Nxania. I wish I’d told you to hire someone else. Someone better. He’s right,” he sighed. “They’re gonna eat us alive.”

She was quiet for a long time, gently brushing the wisps of Argyle’s thinning hair with her tentacles, reading the tiny spasms of his brain through the bones of his skull. After a few minutes, she spoke again, this time to ask a question. “What’s a catmod?”

Argyle was surprised by the question. But then he remembered that he was talking to a sick child from a backwater planetoid that had more mineshafts than health clinics. Of course she wouldn’t know.

“Mods,” he said, “are changes people make to their bodies, and on this planet — well, lots of planets — well, and off-planet, on special pleasure cruiseliners that are equipped with hospital facilities — wait.” He stopped himself, realizing that he’d gotten away from his original point, the same way he had during opening statements. “Um. People like to do animal mods, where they make themselves look sort of like an animal. They add things like whiskers, or tails, or little noses. Like a cat.”


Argyle didn’t know how to answer this, because there were an awful lot of factors involved in people’s decisions to do whatever levels of mods they did, and he didn’t want to seem judgmental.

But then Nxania added to her question, “Does it make them better lawyers?”

Argyle shrugged. He shrugged often — once a judge had called him to the bench about it, calling him a ‘depressing hillock.’

“I don’t think so,” he said. “It’s not really about the lawyering part of a person.”

Nxania chittered thoughtfully. “Does it make them better hunters?”

Argyle lifted his head up and looked at her, the twitching of his brain speeding up for the first time since the judge had called the court to order that morning. “I suppose it could,” he said slowly, “depending on how thorough you were.”

Nxania’s feathery pedipalps flexed in front of her mouth. “Interesting,” she said. “Well. I’ve transferred the credits for your fee, as well as a small gift of appreciation from my planet. It’s only a small percentage of the donations we received today, as a result of the attention you’ve helped draw to our cause. Thank you for taking on our case, even when we couldn’t pay you very much. We know it’s a hard job you do, Mr. Argyle, and we appreciate you taking us on.”

She brushed her tentacles over his temples one last time, and then she wafted out of the courtroom, looking as frail as a nitrogenated jellyfish. Argyle felt the buzz of his datachip and glanced down at the freckled flesh of his wrist to see a readout.

The credits had been transferred, along with what looked like an astonishingly generous gift. Too generous to simply be a thank-you. It was more money than he’d ever seen at one time.

Argyle’s brain thumped hard against its own folds, and for the first time that day, the thing extruded by that poor beleaguered organ was not dread or despair or defeat.

For the first time that day, Vladislav Argyle had a good idea.

Astor Valentine truly did hate his client.

He hated the man’s ultrafashionable suit, which fit his entire body like a wet sock fits the swollen foot of a corpse. He hated the man’s voice, which was artificially high and sweet, modded to sound like the voice of a twenty-year-old who had never tried a designer drug. He hated the man’s shifty eyes and sweatless brow, his habits and his manner, his very soul.

But he did not hate his client’s money. And Blick had so much money.

“Do you feel bad about it?” Valentine murmured to Blick out of the side of his mouth.

Blick flinched at even these soft words, his hangover clinging to him with palpable malevolence. “I just didn’t drink enough water,” he snapped. “Why should I feel bad about having a little headache?”

Valentine grimaced. “I meant Vibrania,” he replied. “Do you feel bad about sucking the middle out of Vibrania? Destroying all those people’s lives?”

Blick let out an elaborate, irritated sigh. “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” he hissed. “As if I don’t get enough of this from the papers? Those people — listen. Their planet had so much zinc in it. Do you know how hard it is to find zinc in that quadrant? They wanted jobs, we gave them jobs. Aren’t you supposed to be on my side here?”

Valentine didn’t reply. He simply looked across the courtroom at the little Vibranian girl who was sitting alone behind the plaintiff’s table, waiting for her terrible lawyer to arrive. Three of her tentacles were folded on the titanium in front of her. Her bandages looked tattered. He wondered when they’d last been changed.

The judge and jury filed in. Court was called to order. And yet Argyle was nowhere to be seen. The judge asked Nxania, in a stern but gentle voice, if she knew where her attorney was.

“He’s on the way,” she said sweetly. “I anticipate his arrival within the next several minutes.”

“Do you know that because he told you, or because you…” the judge paused, unsure of how to finish their question without offending. They waved a hand at Nxania, then gestured at their own head.

“No, I haven’t mind-bonded with him,” Nxania said. “That would be terribly unethical. I simply…know his habits, and he tends to be late,” she finished.

The abundant hair on the back of Valentine’s neck prickled the way it always did when a witness was lying. She wasn’t wrong that Argyle was often late to things — the man seemed incapable of catching his intended train. But something wasn’t right. Something in Nxania’s voice snagged his attention.

Before he could speculate, the door to the courtroom slid smoothly open. The attention of the room swiveled toward that open door, like a full church turning to watch a bride walk down the aisle. A murmur began to build among the gathered journalists, activists, and spectators, and Valentine’s skin began to crawl with dread.

“I believe that’s him now,” Nxania piped. She did not turn to look at Argyle as he entered the room.

But everyone else did, because it was not a slump-shouldered, bedraggled, defeated failure of a lawyer walking up the middle of the courtroom.

It was a tiger.

Not a man with tiger stripes tattooed across his face; not a heavily-modded humanoid with functional whiskers and artificially inflated haunches. Valentine had seen more than his fair share of those, clients with a lot of money and a desire to walk the line between what they were and what they might be.

This wasn’t that. No, this was a tiger, in form and in function, unadulterated by any DNA that had not originated in a jungle that was ripe with prey.

The tiger padded toward the bench, unhurried, unselfconscious. He moved like liquid, but there was a terrifying and undeniable solidity to him; the very air parted around his seething muscles, and every twitch of his striped ears felt like a portent of violence. He paused beside a row of reporters and regarded them. He yawned, his enormous maw gaping wide to reveal teeth that were made for meat, a tongue that was rasped heavily enough to strip flesh from bone, a throat that could accommodate a human hand without too much effort.

He blinked slowly at the reporters before returning to his amble down the center aisle of the courtroom. Valentine was a cat person; he knew, intellectually, that the yawn and the slow-blink had been a sign of affection, of appreciation, of camaraderie. But that knowledge could not remove from his brain — nor, he imagined, from the brains of the reporters — the understanding that, to a creature like a tiger, everyone in the room fell into the category of prey.

The tiger’s friendly overture could not undo the length of his teeth. Valentine’s bladder suddenly felt very full.

The bailiff took a hesitant step toward the tiger, his hand drifting toward the stunner on his belt. That stunner was not calibrated for a tiger, and Valentine had no idea whether it would have any effect on the beast other than to annoy it. He felt briefly as though he were in a childhood nightmare; this was absurd, a tiger in the courtroom, a wild animal from a far-off planet coming to interrupt his case.

He was gripped by a wild flare of indignance. Reality could not contain a tiger. Not here. He wouldn’t stand for it.

“Get out of here,” he said, and then he stood up out of his chair and he said it again, louder and more certain. “Get out of here, tiger! You’re…you’re in the wrong place!” It was ridiculous, what he was saying, and he knew it, but he put the weight of his closing-argument-voice behind it, and he managed to make the words sound authoritative. He pointed to the animal with an accusatory finger. “This is a court of law, and it’s no place for a tiger!”

The tiger stared at him with unblinking amber eyes, his tail flicking idly. Valentine stared back for as long as he could bear it. But then the tiger lowered his head and took two slow, silent steps toward the defense side of the courtroom, and Valentine’s blood shivered, because the posture was unmistakably a stalk.

Valentine sat down hard. The tiger paused before returning to a more casual posture. The message had been sent: the proper place for a tiger is anyplace that a tiger wishes to go, and this tiger wanted to be in a court of law, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop him.

“Good morning, Mr. Argyle,” Nxania said. She spoke softly, but the silence in the courtroom made the air thin, and her words echoed throughout the space.

“What. What is the meaning of this?” the judge asked. They, too, spoke quietly; they were very still, in the manner of any creature who is trying hard not to be noticed by a tiger.

“My attorney has arrived,” Nxania replied. She alone seemed perfectly calm. She approached the tiger and rested a tentacle across the stripes of his enormous head. The tiger closed his eyes and leaned his head into her touch.

A low, resonant purr filled the room.

Valentine knew this judge; they had a short temper and a strict sense of courtroom discipline. In any other circumstance, they surely would have been furiously demanding answers. But there was a tiger, and apparently that was what it took to inspire patience in the typically brusque judge.

“A tiger,” they said, “cannot be an attorney. And even if he could,” they added quickly as the tiger’s eyes snapped up toward the bench, “I’m afraid that you can’t change your representation without telling anyone. There are certain protocols that —”

“I haven’t changed my representation,” Nxania interrupted, her tentacle still resting on the tiger’s head. “And I think that you’ll find a tiger can be an attorney, if he’s passed the bar exam. Which of course, Mr. Argyle has.” Her pedipalps fluttered in an expression of contentment. “I believe if you check your dataset, you’ll find a correspondence from Mr. Argyle indicating that last night, he went to an ultramod salon and had his consciousness transferred into the brain of this animal. So, really, everything is in order.”

Valentine stared at the tiger. He stared hard. This had to be some kind of bizarre joke. No way Argyle could have afforded so much as a toenail repair at an ultramod salon, not with the kinds of suits he wore — and consciousness-transfer procedures? Those were as expensive and risky as mods got. And where in all the rotten stars in the void had Argyle gotten his hands on a goddamn tiger?

“Are you trying to tell me that’s Argyle?” he said, incredulous. “That tiger? Right there? That’s Vladislav Argyle?”

The tiger settled back onto his haunches, looked Valentine in the eyes, and nodded.

The courtroom erupted into sound. Reporters climbed up onto their benches to see the front of the room more clearly. The snap of a hundred mediadrones turning on their transmitters was drowned out only by the incomprehensible wall of questions, all of which essentially boiled down to how?

The judge activated a mutenet throughout the room, dimming the cacophony to a low hum. “Order,” they said in a clear, carrying voice, and they did not have to say it twice; the room settled quickly under the weight of the imposed quiet. “Do you confirm that you are, in fact and in truth, Vladislav Argyle? I would remind you that you are in a court of law, and if you lie to me, you will be held in contempt.” The tiger blinked once, slowly, at the judge; then, he nodded. The judge returned the nod before continuing. “Mr. Argyle, can you speak in a manner that is comprehensible to our ears?”

The tiger — Argyle — shook his head. The gesture was unquestionably human, and Valentine experienced a kind of sublime disorientation at the sight of a tiger performing the movement.

“We can’t continue, then, can we?” Valentine asked. The judge glared at him, and he realized how much he’d been speaking out of turn — but he supposed he could be forgiven, under the circumstances. What with the tiger. “My apologies, your honor, I don’t mean to interrupt — I just…” he trailed off, then lifted his hands helplessly toward Argyle, who was licking one of his enormous paws and running it over his velvety black ear.

His tongue was very pink.

The judge considered Argyle, considered Valentine. They steepled their fingers and furrowed their brow. “I’ve been a judge for sixteen years,” they said, and Valentine suppressed a groan: whatever was coming, it wasn’t going to be the thing he wanted. “I’ve heard thousands of cases, Mr. Valentine, and I think that I and this justice system can handle hearing arguments from a lawyer who doesn’t speak. Frankly,” they added tartly, “it might be refreshing.” They rang the silver bell that indicated a final decision from the bench and said the three words Valentine least wanted to hear: “I’ll allow it. Mr. Argyle, we concluded yesterday with opening statements; I believe the floor is yours, if you’d like to begin presenting evidence.”

“This oughta be good,” Blick muttered, his breath a warm wash of stale ethanol. “He couldn’t handle this case when he had the ability to talk. What’s he gonna do when it’s time to question me? Meow at me until I slip up?” He giggled sharply.

The tiger’s amber eyes turned to him.

Valentine kicked his client hard on the ankle. “He’s a fucking. Tiger. You idiot,” he said through gritted teeth. “He can hear everything you’re saying.”

Argyle’s pupils were slowly expanding, the yellow glow of his eyes vanishing into the satin black of a hungry, hunting void. He stood on all fours, his spine straight, his tail lashing hard from side to side. That pink tongue flicked out to wet his nose as he stared at Blick.

“What? What’s he gonna do? It’s still Argyle in there,” Blick hissed, glaring at Valentine. “He’s still a sniveling little coward. He’s just got stripes now, that’s all.”

Valentine did not glare back, because he could not bring himself to look away from the tiger for more than a few seconds at a time. Argyle sank low to the ground, his chin very nearly resting on his front paws. It almost looked as if he were lying down to rest — except for the snap of his tail, and the coiled tension in his haunches.

“Mr. Argyle, would you like to begin?” the judge said, their voice between worried and warning. Argyle flicked an ear toward the sound of their voice, but did not take his eyes off Blick. His tail went still, and his back legs began to straighten. His hindquarters lifted into the air and swayed, ever so slightly, from side to side.

“He’s just a stupid cat,” Blick sneered, not bothering to keep his voice down anymore. “We’re still gonna eat ‘em alive.”

At that, the tiger pounced. He poured himself through the air like water being thrown from a bucket, a long white arc of orange and black muscle leaping from the floor to the table on the defense side of the room, knocking the young scion of the Blick legacy to the floor. His paws landed on Blick’s chest with a crunch Valentine felt in his own gut.

Valentine was out of his own chair before he could think, a shout of terror fleeing his mouth entirely of its own volition. He landed on his ass and scrambled fast, not thinking of any direction other than away from tiger. He didn’t stop moving until his back was pressed to the base of the Judge’s bench.

Blick was shrieking, a high, piercing whistle of a scream. Argyle’s ears were pressed back flat against his head, his fangs bared in a gleaming snarl. A low noise came out the tiger, a noise that sent a jolt of white-hot adrenaline surging through Valentine’s belly. Then the noise built into a thundering, vicious roar.

Valentine immediately soaked the fabric of his suit with sweat. His lap grew hot with a flood of urine.

Blick was still screaming.

And then, with a single swipe of his paw, the tiger made the noise stop. His claws unzipped three stark lines of flesh on Blick’s face, revealing the raw red meat underneath.

“Mr. Argyle, stop this immediately!” The judge rang their silver bell, but the tiger did not appear to notice. Valentine felt a scrabbling next to him, and turned to see the bailiff sitting in much the same position he was in, his face bloodless, his uniform dark at the crotch.

Valentine forced himself to look at the bailiff, so that he would not have to look at the tiger. There was a wet crunch and a gurgle from the table where he had been sitting just a few moments before. The bailiff looked back at Valentine, and his eyes were blank with terror.

“Shouldn’t you get backup or something?” Valentine hissed. The bailiff nodded, but did not move.

“Is this not how it’s done?” Nxania said, and Valentine realized that her sweet, tender voice had a note of steel in it he’d never noticed before.

He was wheezing with panic at the thing that was happening in front of him, the deconstruction of a man whom he’d truly loathed but who was, in form and in vulnerability, much like himself. He could not have formed words if his life had depended on it.

And yet Nxania, for all her empathy and childlike innocence, sounded entirely unfazed.

“I believe Mr. Argyle is simply returning the promise Mr. Blick made to him,” she continued. “Vis á vis, ‘eating us alive’.”

Valentine could not stop himself from glancing over at the tiger. Argyle held one dinner-plate-sized paw on Blick’s motionless chest. His teeth were buried in the dying man’s throat. Blick’s feet spasmed wildly, his heels leaving long black scuffs on the floor.

Between his clenched bladder and his quaking hands, Valentine’s body was no longer under his control. A low, shuddering moan emanated from somewhere in his belly, and although no other sound had broken Argyle’s focus on Blick, that moan seemed to catch his attention.

His ears twitched toward Valentine, and then he turned his face to assess the source of this new noise. A tendon was caught in his teeth. It stretched, horribly long and elastic, between his maw and the open mess of Blick’s throat. It stayed taut and trembling for several seconds before breaking with an audible snap.

The tiger licked blood from his muzzle, his paw still resting on the spasming man who had once been Valentine’s client. Argyle was looking at Valentine with naked assessment, and the weight of the question in his eyes was crushing: What are you to me? Are you a colleague? A friend? An opponent?

A meal?

Valentine’s chest heaved with the shallow breath of panic, and that panic finally triggered something inside of him that could function. He was used to this kind of assessment. Not from Argyle, and not from tigers, but certainly from other attorneys, ones who were competent in the art of the trial.

He had never met someone who was better than him before, but he knew what he had to do. He had never inhabited this role, but he’d watched the play a thousand times. He was certain that he could pull it off.

“Well played, old man,” he said in a tremulous voice. He knew he didn’t sound nearly as brave as he would have liked, but it would have to be enough. “I believe you’ve got the upper hand.”

He raised his hands, carefully, smoothly. The tiger’s eyes tracked the movement. Then — slow, soft, don’t startle him — he began to clap.

The tiger looked around at the rest of the room, and as his blood-spattered face turned, those he regarded began to imitate Valentine. Soon, the room was filled with muted applause. The judge rang their silver bell, and, in a weak voice, pronounced the matter of Vibrania vs. Blick settled in favor of the People of Vibrania. Damages, they added, would be awarded in the amount of the tiger’s choosing, to be determined at the tiger’s leisure.

The tiger, satisfied by the adulation of the crowd and the outcome of the case, settled onto his belly to concentrate on his meal. Calculations would come later. Future cases, other clients, perhaps a revisitation of past losses that would need to be re-examined in light of his newfound skills of persuasion.

Argyle was not concerned with consequences. There are no consequences when one is a tiger. There is only justice. Justice, and rich blood, and tender meat, and all of it was his for the taking.


Host Commentary

Host Commentary

By Mur Lafferty

You can always count on Sarah Gailey for something super weird. I first bought something from them years ago, a story that featured a demon who ends up adopting an old dog. Gailey also captured the internet’s heart when they live tweeted their first time watching Star Wars. I’ll never forget “Space Voldemort.”

Stories like Tiger Lawyer remind me that not every story needs a lesson. Love conquers all, be true to yourself, learn to trust others, blah blah blah. No, wait, I did learn a lesson. The lesson of this story is Tiger Beats Rock, Paper, and Scissors and you might as well just accept it. If you don’t accept it, Tiger will not mind spending some time with you.

I like to picture fans in the future, drunk at barcon, arguing the Ouroboros of “what is fantasy and what is science fiction?” I’d like to think this story would come up. People hear “talking tiger” and think fantasy, but is it magic or body modification? Pern was fantasy until Anne McCaffrey said they were all descended from Earth and the dragons were genetically modified from local fauna. Considering we have a sister podcast, Podcastle, which you totally should check out, we try to keep our side SF, and their side F. But if we ever collide like peanut butter and chocolate, the result can be fun.

About the Author

Sarah Gailey

Sarah Gailey

Hugo Award Winner and Bestselling author Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe. Their short fiction credits include Vice and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 Hugo and Nebula award finalist. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published in 2019. Their most recent novel, The Echo Wife, is available now. You can find links to their work at and on social media at @gaileyfrey.

Find more by Sarah Gailey

Sarah Gailey

About the Narrator

Trendane Sparks

narrator Trendane Sparks
As a mascot performer, one is often seen and not heard. As a voice actor, one is often heard and not seen. At some point, the universe will balance out. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tren usually records at night when things are the most quiet and edits during the day. You can imagine what that does to one’s sleep schedule! But, BattleTech and Shadowrun audiobooks aren’t going to narrate themselves…yet.

Find more by Trendane Sparks

narrator Trendane Sparks