Mama Possum came out a few months back in December. It was commissioned by Cassandra Khaw as a contribution to her Jaeger Aunties universe, focused on older women piloting mechs. You can unlock her incredible story in the setting through her Patreon, or wait a while for the upcoming reprint in Apex Magazine.
Mama Possum's deadline was tight and self-imposed. I promised Cass four weeks and delivered it in six, mostly because the art and music were scope creep—Cass only asked for words. Because of that, I had little research time and had to draw from what I know, which is pretty much just the South.
So what do Southern mechs look like? I envisioned mine as rural, industrial, like heart disease, like domestic abuse, like a semi-trailer truck cabin, like a fatal run-in with a lathe. And of course, that sturdy animal that open-mouth hisses at me when I take out the trash, like I've come to carry off its hard-won dumpster.
Living in Arkansas, I drive through the Great Smoky Mountains every time I visit my mom in North Carolina. It's a breathtaking trip, so the prose describing that section of Appalachia in Mama Possum already existed in my head from past appreciation.
As far as the characters go, well, I have a sister and I'm a shitty sibling who never calls. Autobiography is easy at low word counts because I can use all that raw guilt without having to make sense of it. If she's reading this: I'm sorry I killed both of us with a malfunctioning neural spike, inside of a mech shaped like a marsupial.