Archive | May 18, 2011

15-minute ficlet: Moving In

Originally posted here in response to this image prompt

The planet had been, to all of their sensors, bare of tool-using life. There was nothing there that showed up using anything more complex than a stone axe. No smelting. No radio waves. No large gatherings of populations.

(Not that it really would have mattered. They had nowhere else to go, after all).

They had landed in a place that looked clear, on a body of water their initial survey told them was potable, near some purple and green vegetation that, even if not edible, would be useable in building materials. They had landed… and stared, open-mouthed, at the landscape around them.

They had seen ruined cities. They had seen corpses. All of that, they had left behind. But the ruins on this planet, where nothing was left using tools; the corpses stacked by the side of the city, like someone had been trying to be tidy; the strange architecture, built to fit those strange shapes, those twisted spines… it was like stepping into their own nightmares, twisted into alien forms.

The worst of all wasn’t the vegetation growing over the things that could be houses, the purple flowers that they soon found were flesh-eating and blood-hungry, the buildings that would never quite fit them. The worst was the statues by the waterfront, and the others, tucked in every place where a god might look, the strange and creepy edifices seeming to beg help from gods who, it seemed, had turned a blind eye.

They slept inside the ship that night, but they could not go home, and they had nowhere else to go. The next morning, they began to dig graves for the remaining corpses, to brush out the biggest of the residences, to plan their own statues to gods they hoped had followed them.

I think it’s in the same world as “Dancing for Joy” and a couple others

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Siege, a story of Vas’ World

This is a story of Vas’ World – see here for a complete description; it comes immediately in sequence with the Vas Cycle, after Contemplating the Wall

From [community profile] dailyprompt:

“Stand here, by me,” Vas ordered, and was gratified although not too surprised to see that his team obeyed him. In a crisis, he was still the leader. This, he reckoned, definitely counted as a crisis.

The tentacled tree-like-thing was holding his senior xenobiologist Suki about six feet off the ground, not moving her anymore but restraining her. Other branches were stretching towards their group, while Malia and Paz waved their axes threateningly. They were surrounded on three sides by the wriggling trees, while the fourth side was bordered by a long, clearly-sentient made wall. At least one of the sentient species here, Paz’s wounded leg could attest, used ranged weapons. Somebody built walls. And the trees seemed aware of the threat of the axe.

“They look like snakes,” Malia muttered. “Some sort of boa or anaconda…”

“Fiddleheads,” Andon countered. “See the feelers inside? I wonder if they’re edible…”

“Last time I checked,” Vas interrupted, before Andon could get too distracted with xeno-cusine, “we didn’t eat sentient species.”

It was the wrong thing to say, which he realized the moment the words were out of his mouth. Malia had a pet peeve about…

“That’s not what you said about the Anjou tigers,” she complained, right on cue.

…the tiger-like ruminant creatures from Anjou Three, whose sentience was not up for debate by anyone other than a few rabid cat-lovers, and Malia.

Vas was saved from yet another discussion on comparative intelligence and the ethics of eating cows with stripes by Suki’s worried scream. Ah, yes. They still had to get her down. He didn’t want to lose yet another team member, even an obnoxious one.

“Guys…” Suki choked out. Apparently the tree-like tentacle creatures were, indeed, also constrictors. “Guys,” she tried again, coughing. And pointing behind them. “The grass…”

“I can hear the grass,” Paz muttered nervously. “It’s growing.”

Prompts included: Stand By Me, I can hear the grass grow, and anaconda

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