Friday, 11 May 2012

Flash Fiction: Old Moon


“All we need is a new ship.”

Tevan rolled himself onto one elbow and looked at Helia with raised eyebrow.

“All we need?”

She smiled back at him. “And a crew.”

Tevan sighed and lay back down, cradling his aching head on interlaced fingers. He stared up at the Earth hanging in the inky black above them.

The tides of space had washed their broken ship up on old Moon. The third dome they tried still had a working atmosphere so they had cycled themselves in, cleaned up and checked the place out. It still had power and working maintenance, hence the food and the mown lawn; it just didn’t have any people. Or a working shuttle.

There were working communications, in-system, but no one was talking. No one was listening. Earth, Moon, Sol system, were as abandoned as law dictated.

Tevan frowned, “it’s green.”

“OK. And this episode of nursery colours was brought to you by...?”

“The Earth,” he carried on, ignoring Helia’s sarcasm, “it’s green.”

“Yes, green and blue with fluffy white clouds and... oh.”

“It looks like Earth. The Earth you see on the history casts, not the grey, stained, dead thing they show on the news.”

Helia’s voice was a breathy whisper, all traces of humour gone, “It’s alive.”

They lay in silence, staring upwards. Helia reached out and held Tevan’s hand.

After a while, Teven said, “And we’re stuck here. We can’t get there, and we can’t tell anyone.”

Helia shifted over and curled against him. He looked down in surprise, it was the closest they had been in months.

“At least we got to see it,” she said.

He kissed the top of her head, “yeah.”

“I mean, what are the chances of our busted stardrive spitting us out here?”

“Astronomical.” He smiled.

Now it was her turn to raise an eyebrow, “Really?”

“What, you’re the only one allowed to make jokes?” He hugged her and looked back at the Earth.

“Seriously though,” he said, “the odds are incredible. It’s a miracle we ended up anywhere near a star system at all, let alone the Earth. And travel here is prohibited, stardrive navigation is locked out from even setting this place as a destination.”

Tevan’s head jerked as he saw something flash in the corner of his eye.

“Look.”

Helia turned to where he was pointing.

Space flickered. A drop of fire hit the oil of the dark sky and rippled outwards. Then a ship burst through. From the flickering blue iridescence around the rear of the hull their stardrive was clearly damaged.

“Another one?” Helia asked.

Then everywhere above them began to erupt with a firework display of silent, coruscating explosions. Damaged starships were thrust into existence across the sky. They saw thrusters flicker into life as the ships began to guide themselves toward the Earth or the Moon.

“She’s calling us home,” Helia murmured.

“She? Who?”

“Mother Earth. She’s gathering her wayward children; she’s giving us a second chance.”



23 comments:

  1. Really rich story here, John, ripe for expansion. Who are these people, what has happened to them, from where have they come? Love the concept, too. Nice job!

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    1. Thank you, Jack. =)

      Not sure if this is one I want to expand. I just kinda like the 'moment'. =)

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    2. That's a fair point - it's a great moment. Guess I'm just a really greedy reader!

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  2. You're on a roll at the moment. Long may it continue!

    Great concepts here and I really loved "A drop of fire hit the oil of the dark sky and rippled outwards".

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  3. I like the way this captures an upbeat future, at least if we let nature heal herself. Sometimes, gremlins in the machine can get a pinch of help from mother nature.

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  4. Wonderful moment realised so well. Quite a breath-taking moment.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  5. This is really good, and good go on to be something so much longer. I love the futuristic element and the idea that the Earth has repaired itself and is willing to take another chance on man. You do sci fi really well John. A sprinkling of stars is called for I think ^_^ ☆‿↗⁀↘‿↗⁀☆‿↗⁀↘‿↗⁀☆ 。☆‿↗⁀↘‿↗⁀☆‿↗⁀↘‿↗⁀☆ 。

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    1. Yay! =D

      Thank you for the stars, Helen, and the comment. =)

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  6. damn my keyboard, I have a cat on my lap so that's my excuse as she leans her head on my arm the second good should be could ^_^

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    1. Ha ha, those mischievous felines... ;D

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  7. Beautiful. I hope that if mankind ever colonises the stars, and has to abandon a wrecked Earth, that fate would bring things around to this.

    The thought of the chance to begin afresh has always been attractive to me.

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    1. It's a nice thought, isn't it. =)

      Let's hope we get ourselves in gear and are never forced to leave the Earth through our own actions though...

      Thanks, Steve. =)

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  8. This is so lovely, I really enjoyed it!

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  9. This was a great premise, and executed well. Loved the ending especially.

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  10. This was wonderful and I'd love to read more! The ending was great, and not what I expected when I first started reading.

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    1. Thank you, I generally try my hardest to avoid the obvious endings (most of the time, anyway... ;) ). Glad you enjoyed it. =)

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  11. Hi there John -- For some reason, I love the concept of a mown lawn in space. That's the kind of comfortable sci-fi existence I'd sign up to. Works well as a story -- especially as our arriving characters are just the first of what happens next. A very forgiving Earth -- she could have chosen to call everyone back into a black hole. lol. St.

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    1. Ha ha, she can be vindictive, right? And it's not as if we haven't given her plenty of reasons...

      I think where opportunity presents itself we would take all of life's comforts into space with us, mown lawns, reclining chairs, chocolate milk... ;)

      Thanks, Stephen. =)

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