Monday, February 23, 2009


"How's your signal, Captain?"

"Some interference. Radiation levels are green."

"How's the weather out there?"

"Sunny day at the beach, Control. I should've brought my sunscreen."

"Remember. Binary star system. Two applications."

"Ha! I'll keep that in mind."

"Are you making good headway?"

"Fair. The surface is less rocky here. Sand-like."

"Any concerns?"

"No. I don't think so. I'm deflecting the material maybe two centimeters. It's not even up to my toes. Just a little tiring."

"Don't take chances. If you get in trouble, nobody can get to you very quickly."

"Roger that. Too bad we haven't explored this quadrangle. The rock formations are beautiful."

"No mountain climbing, Captain."

"I'll try to restrain myself."

"Are you reading static, Captain?"

"Affirmative. I'll tap my helmet to clear it."


"Maybe. I'm passing through a channel in the rock. The surface here has formed long, low dunes. Kind of pretty. Oxide layers are exposed. It looks like yellow and reddish rainbows."

"Very nice."

"I'm through the formation. Entering some kind of circular plain. Ahead, I...."

"I'm losing your signal. Did not copy that. Please repeat."



"...stand by...."

"What's you're status, Captain?"



"...wait...not right...."

"Captain, I'm losing you. Are your biometrics elevated?"

"...intermittent radio in this the middle of the...."


" to get out...not right...."

"Captain, do you need assistance?"

" life here...."

"You heart rate appears to be--"

"...not right...I'm...."

"Captain, recommend you abort the survey. Abort the survey."



"...a rhododendron...just like on Earth...."


Catvibe said...

It does look a little unearthly doesn't it...Nice shot, look at that succulent rhody flesh.

Glad you mentioned binary star systems. ;-)

Karen said...

Your imagination seems to be boundless! I love seeing how you can take an object such as this and create something so unexpected from it.

Aniket Thakkar said...

Huston, we have no problems with this one! A perfect piece again...

PS: I have been working on your instructions too. Have cut down on adjectives... Try to capture through the first line... and saving the best for the last! All you preach is so expertly used out here! You are thr master of dilogue fiction!

May the force be with you, Master!

Sarah Hina said...

Previously unexplored places yield the most profound surprises and connections.

The photos are marvelous and mysterious. I can easily envision this strange, strange plant existing on another planet. Between two stars.

I loved the scratchy dialog here, and the captain's fading in, and out. Bridging two worlds. Wonderfully conceived and executed, Jason. :)

Aine said...

You are really whetting my appetite for a new, brilliant sci-fi film! Something that would rival 2001!

The idea that a life form from Earth is just peacefully thriving on foreign soil has so many possibilities....

And Aniket is right-- your skill with dialogue is truly unrivaled.

Just one other thing...I can't help myself. Two words came to mind when I saw the photo. In the voice of Levi Stubbs playing "Audrey II": FEED ME!

Hoodie said...

I echo the sentiment of others. I'm a sad sucker for some good scifi so was immediately drawn in, but the fact that something familiar was made to become alien was a great twist.

Stunning photos as well.

Charles Gramlich said...

I always have to take one more turn on the trail, always wanting to see what lies ahead. Exploration is the way to go. So many wonders, here or there.

Meghan said...

Love the sci-fi element. Very cool!

The Preacherman said...

Return of The Triffids!!!!

Love it!!!!

bluesugarpoet said...

This was a fun read! (i must admit, thought, that the photo immediately reminded me of _Little Shop of Horrors_...")

Anonymous said...

I want to read the rest of the story! Very intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Catvibe, binary star systems are best! And thanks regarding the photo. It was the best I could do handheld and without stacking the photo. Not bad with the depth of field. (Of course I want it better. :) )

Karen, that's what is so freeing about blogging. I love being able to craft a complete piece on a whim. Any genre. Any approach. It's a wonderful freedom.

Aniket, I'm really looking forward to seeing more of your writing! Especially in the next contest here. I think it's very noble to truly embrace a path of progress in writing. I never want to stop learning.

Sarah, it struck me how something so accepted, and even beautiful, on Earth could become terrifying when completely taken out of context. The fear that builds in that disbelief was palpable to me. I'm glad you felt that disquiet too!

Aine, you seem to be leading the charge on the Little Shop channeling! :) Thanks for all the encouragement and guidance you give me with writing dialogue (not to mention all the other story elements!!). Folks don't see all the improvements that get made by you before these pieces are posted. I trust your intuition to steer me right.

Hoodie, thank you! This piece completely came from the picture. The feeling of fear in the astronaut really hit me.

Charles, I have a rule in the forest. I never go back the way I came. Unfortunately, that rule has gotten me into more than one sticky situation.

Meghan, thanks for coming along for a little extraterrestrial exploration. :)

Preacherman, thanks!! (Now I have to go look that up.)

Bluesugarpoet, that munching plant seems to be in lots of people's minds!

Aggie, yeah, I could see this one being larger. But then again, it's nice to imagine it any way you want. :)

Vesper said...

It's interesting how many earthly things or beings can become immensely alien when looking at them from very close.
Great photo and vignette!