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A Pilot and Her Pet

A Pilot and Her Pet Gargoyle

Illustration of a fantasy animal with large ears and a densely muscled body. Illustration by Adrian DKC.

In “Stellar Drift,” my novella in the Pets in Space 8 science fiction romance anthology, the heroine Sairy has a pet gargoyle named Kyala. A pilot and her pet… what?

 A gargoyle, you say? Yes. In the worlds of the Central Galactic Concordance, it’s all kinds of illegal to genetically engineer humans. But not pets. The whole pet-trade industry grew up around creating designer pets for people who can afford them. The designers take inspiration from Earth prehistory, mythology, and their own fertile imagination.

Gargoyles look like real-life versions the fearsome creatures on the top of gothic castles in northern Europe. At one meter tall and densely muscled, they appear to be terrifyingly efficient killers. Maybe some are, but Kyala would love nothing more than to be a pampered lap pet. I took inspiration for Kayala from my friend's two pitbulls, who, despite the breed's horrible reputation, are two of the sweetest, lovable dogs you would ever want to meet.

Sairy lives in the vast Makaan Nature Reserve on Qal Corona. Her home is deep in the rainforest part of the reserve. Sadly, there will aways people who dump unwanted pets in the wilderness, even on a civilized planet in the far future. Here’s a brief excerpt that explains how Sairy found and rescued Kyala:

Singing always pleased Kyala, so Sairy hummed a nonsense tune as she checked that the harness was tight and the rope carabiners were securely hooked in place. Kyala responded by licking the air near Sairy’s nose. 

“Thank you,” said Sairy.  It had taken two years to convince the gargoyle not to use her wide, blood-red tongue to slather Sairy’s face with slobber.

When Sairy had found Kyala injured and abandoned in the rainforest, the gargoyle’s sharp teeth and oversized claws had made her wary. Gargoyles were expensive hybrids that mixed whatever mammalian lines the genetic designers could get away with. Rich people enjoyed owning dangerous creatures that looked ready to eat the faces of their enemies. But Sairy couldn’t ignore the waves of need and hope coming from her. Helping her, healing her, was the best decision Sairy had ever made. She couldn’t ask for a better companion.


 Kyala likes most people, once she gets to know them. She really likes the ranger named Houyen, especially since Sairy rescued him, too. Kyala thinks it would be fantastic to have two humans to adore her. If it takes a wilderness trek to identify the source of a mysterious illness to bring Sairy and Houyen together, Kyala is up for the adventure.

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