The Lone Egg: Flash Fiction

Photo from Lee's Birdwatching Adventures Plus. Check out her informative blog.

Archival photo of eaglet and parent, before the extinction (from approximately 2014), by Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus.

Levant Davis gently rearranged the simulated nest but wasn’t having much luck with the lone egg. As lead researcher for the Lorax Project, even he could do only so much prodding of natural processes. The recovered eagle DNA from which he’d helped create Phoenix, first of her kind in 22 generations, was rebelling in her parthenogenetic offspring.

“The sim-nest isn’t adequately insulating.” The bio-console picked up his pique. “We must maintain a core temperature of 99.67 degrees from now until pipping.”

He blew out a long breath, then muttered. “One time when cool is not cool.”

“Bio-con, erase previous statement.”

He hid his hopes. Emotions aren’t data.

Flash fiction written for the Light and Shade Challenge of 19 September 2014. My gratitude to the Raptor Resource Project Blog and the American bald eagle resource unit from The Learning Technology Center at Vanderbilt University, which provided invaluable data in which to “ground” this flash.

“Cool is not cool.”
– Matt Smith in Doctor Who, written by Steven Moffat





10 thoughts on “The Lone Egg: Flash Fiction

  1. That is such a cleverly balanced piece of writing with so much packed into a few words. History. Science. The future. And a little slip of emotion on the part of the scientist: hope that may or may not be realised.

  2. I loved reading the line, “One time when cool is not cool.” So much is going on with that line that I even stopped to think about it for a minute. Great job with the whole piece as well!

  3. This is so wonderful! I especially loved that you linked to the Raptor Resource Project Blog, and The Learning Technology Center at Vanderbilt University. That was amazing to see her laying eggs. I wanted to throw a blanket over her though, that wind sounded pretty merciless! 😉

    • Thank you for your compliments, Swoosieque! Yes, it was really interesting reading about eagles for research, made more so because of the contrast of how hardy [bald, and other] eagles are (fishing icy waters, living in really cold climates, though not all raptors do) and then how sensitive the eggs are to (cold) temperatures. Apparently they have to be kept around 99.5 to gestate properly, and some eagles (moms only, presumably) develop a brood patch to help keep the eggs closer to the skin and, therefore, warm enough. Fascinating creatures; of course I hope the world never loses eagle (or other raptor) species, as my flash story “predicts.” Then we’ll need another Rachel Carson or two to get people to care about all the species loss (even what some consider “ugly” species like toads, worms, etc.)

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