Friday, April 17, 2015

Truth in Space: A Short Story

A few months ago, I created a ten-entry journal based on a prompt from the book Take Ten for Writers. It was a lot of fun to write, so I decided to share it with all of you. The entries are fairly short, so I’ll share one or two at a time.

Truth in Space Parts 1 and 2


Warpagram: Successful arrival first stop. Smooth trip. No inhabitants.

October 10, 3021

After a long voyage from earth, I’ve arrived at my first stop, the planet Vortega. Named after the head researcher on this project, the place makes me dislike the man even more. Everywhere I look, the smooth blue terrain creates a blindingly bright reflection of its sun. I keep my protective glasses on, even inside the shuttle. It fits Julius Vortega: overwhelming, flat, uninteresting, cold. Even in my specialized spacesuit, I could feel the chill creeping against my flesh. I only stayed outside for about ten minutes, long enough to survey the immediate area. Long enough to develop a sickening feeling in my stomach.

They don’t know about my writing. There’s a reason I never use the tablet. Paper can’t betray you with an electric signal. And fire proves a faithful friend when it’s eating my words. It may seem stupid to be this paranoid when I’m more than a thousand light-years from earth. But saying I’m paranoid implies that I have no basis for my fear.

I’m to remain here for exactly three days, taking samples and making surveys. And, though solid ground beneath my feet should feel comforting, I long to be surrounded by open space again. Somehow I feel safer in the vastness up there.

They told me cameras would be impossible on the ship with the speeds I travel at. On that alone, of course, I would have been highly suspicious. But overhearing one of their scientists tell Katie Tora, Assistant Director of this project, on the eve of launch that the cameras failed made me feel much better. Besides, I searched the ship bow to stern. Five times.

For some reason, though, here on Vortega I feel watched. Hunted. I thought they weren’t that interested in this planet. It looks desolate; I’m only supposed to stay three days. This first stop just didn’t seem high on the priority list. I know they didn’t tell me everything, though. Perhaps I’ll find out the first piece of missing info here.


Warpagram: Surveyed territory. Somewhat reflective surface. Too cold for settlement.

October 11, 3021

Yesterday’s warpagram was stupid. “No inhabitants”? What was I thinking?! Subconsciously, I must have been rebelling, poking fun at the false objective that they announced to the public months ago. And that’s exactly how they read it, I’m sure. You can say they haven’t responded for other reasons. I know better. First stop and no response?

Sarcasm is deadly in this business.

I think it was even colder today. Though that could be because I tramped around the planet for five hours. I couldn’t feel my fingers when I got back, despite my double-layered gloves and the portable heater I toted around.

They should have sent the four-member team they told the public they were. Instead, it’s just me, lugging around scientific equipment and trying not to get lost. It’s easy enough to do on a planet that looks the same all over and blinds you in the process. It’s even easier when you’re as directionally-challenged as I am. I did not get chosen for this mission because of my navigational ability.

At least I’m more competent on the ship. Possibly more competent than they expect… Not that it matters. They’ve got the whole trip pretty rigidly programmed.

The wind is whistling around the ship, making me grit my teeth. Earlier, while I was scouting, it really picked up, rushing at me like a frighteningly fast predator and dashing my soil reader into the ground. I haven’t been able to fix it. I have a spare, but I’d rather not use it unless I absolutely cannot repair this one. With the number of parts lying on the floor in front of me, though, I have my doubts.

I kind of lost myself there for a moment. Space tends to do that to me. But the wind jerked me back. It’s so eerie here…

Before my equipment was ruined, I did learn that the soil here has a high concentration of sodium. No idea what that’s supposed to mean. But then, I wasn’t majoring in geology or planetary chemistry before getting yanked into this.

Sometimes, I miss home so badly that I can’t breathe. I never put that in the log, of course. I never note the nights I cry myself to bed or the hours I spend rehashing the most ridiculous conversations. I only got to spend two days with my parents before training. Like the rest of the world, they think I’m up here with three other people to increase our knowledge about the universe. They have no idea that I’m bringing destruction on all of us.

Is that the wind I’m hearing, or is it something else? What if -


I’ll leave you there. What do you think? Are you engaged?  I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


  1. I am indeed engaged, and very much intrigued! I wait for the next part anxiously. :D


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