A former planet
whispers red
across stretches of black
moving away from you,
away, away

If you squint well enough
you will see no sky,
it left with the trees,
but there might be
an indentation, some sort
of step lost in a crevice

Pull back,
and the dust
is almost done
finds home
in a new role
holding hands
with a deepening

Written for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt.

Image courtesy of Pexels and Pixabay.

12-Minute Tales – Moon Song

She basked in it. It felt like the universe gazed down at her, an intimate connection between everything. But, of course, she wasn’t really there. The moon had been destroyed in one of those ancient wars many, many years ago (you know how those things go.) But, she was experiencing what seemed like a pretty good approximation.

She bounced from crater to crater. Watching the dust poof from each step and then dissipate. People have asked her why, out of all of the realities she could occupy, she often chooses the moon. Her answer: she wasn’t really sure. Perhaps it was the fact that there wasn’t much there. Other virtual realities were often cluttered with aliens or gangsters or such nonsense. She wasn’t interested in such hooplah. She didn’t want to go on some adventure where she was the perpetual hero. No, she wanted to be alone.

But, when she was on the not-moon, she didn’t feel distant from anything. And sometimes she even felt sad as her gaze often settled along the desolate landscape. There was no life here. For the most part, it was just an unimportant wrock. But, a long time ago, it was a stepping stone for man. Humans projected an importance on it that she could only guess at. And now, it was gone.

This sadness that she experienced felt like a good thing, in a weird way. It was something that was her’s. It felt like a mirror. Something that made her feel, well, real. Oftentimes, in her day-to-day life, she didn’t feel like anything.

She stopped her bouncing and slowly sat down and watched the earth quiver in the distance. The earth, too, was gone. Her simulations of earth never felt real. They felt like silly cartoons of something that was once real. Maybe people didn’t want to experience what was real, but merely used the past as an anchor for their desires. Kind of like what she was doing.

She took off her helmet and the simulation dissolved away, the dull glow of her room piercing into being. “Hi dear, how was Mars?”

“The moon,” she corrected her holo-mother, the hologram that had helped raise her.

“Oh, same difference.”

Mindy sat down and stared out the window of their breakfast nook. Tall buildings aflesh with bright advertisements and faces clogged her view. Humanity mainly occupied these cities which wandered across the universe. Like lost satellites. After she ate her wonderfood, Mindy returned to her room and back to the empty, gray landscapes of someone else’s past.

Written for Daily Writing Prompt Feb #29.

12-Minute Tales – Mission Zero, Part II

Read the first part here.

Captain’s Log, Space Time 27107: The mission so far has been a success, and the crew is enjoying a little bit of downtime whilst we head back to the station. However, the engineers weren’t able to identify the source of the odor which seems to have spread from the lower quarters toward the western wing of the ship. This, of course, will have to be addressed when we dock at the station; however, only 3 people have passed-out presumably due to odious nature of the scent. Hubert signing-off.

Captain’s Log, Space Time 27112: OK. Um…Sorry, Captain’s Log. Wait already said that. Anyway, just to get right to it more than a dozen crew members have now passed-out. It’s been suggested to quarantine parts of the ship where the odor is at its strongest, but I cannot allow the crew to panic. We are almost to the station and…well, I guess I should admit that I’ve been feeling strangely as of late. Ever since last night I’ve been feeling light headedness, but not enough to contact sick bay. And plus, they’ve got enough on their hands. God, I can’t let my crew down. I can’t let them see any sign of weakness lest they never trust in me. Maybe I’m…um…Hubert signing-off.

Captain’s Log: I don’t know what’s going. 5 people have now fallen into deep comas, and several more have disappeared. And the odor…things have gotten a little out of hand. I have tried contacting the station, but there is something wrong with our system. Oh God…My head…No. I can’t. This is just a simple mission. We will get through this. We will.

Captain’s Log: Floating ducks. That’s all we are. The ship isn’t moving. Most of our systems down. Can’t! But, the odor is gone. But so is most of the crew. And the remaining crew. They aren’t like themselves. They see me, but don’t acknowledge me. They keep walking. I tried following them, but it’s so hard to go long distances without my head shrieking with pain. Pain. Maybe I should have stayed in research. Maybe I should have never joined academy. Wait. There is someone knocking. I don’t trust them. I’M NOT LETTING YOU IN! GO BACK TO YOUR STATION! THAT IS AN ORDER! They’re still knocking. They’re still. I–

Captain’s Log, Space Time 27204: Well, this will likely be my last log, at least for awhile. The station had sent us a couple of recovery ships and they were able to adequately abate the situation. Basically, a parasite had hopped from the planet onto our ship, causing the crew to go mostly insane and start sabotaging the ship, turning against one another. But, there have been no major injuries, though we do not know the locations of some of the crew members. However, we are, including myself, are getting proper medical treatment. Once everything is considered OK we will be allowed entry to the station…these things happen, I guess. However, overall, this mission was a success. Not only were the samples recovered, but now the Alliance can study the parasite that infected our ship. In the meantime, the crew and I will be receiving some well-deserved rest as we await our next mission. As captain, I am looking forward to the opportunity to showcase all that I have learned from this mission. Hubert signing-off.

12-Minute Tales – Floating


It’s big, and black, and empty…Man has long gazed at the night sky and wished to soar into the boundless abyss…but now that we are up here, exploring, it’s kind of boring…cold…

The name is Una, and I’m one of the space custodians here on this station. My job is simple: keep the outside of the station clean so it looks nice for visitors. You wouldn’t think space stations would get dirty too often, but you would be surprised. Dust, space debris, people’s garbage. It all manages to cake the hull of the station.

But it’s also an issue of safety. You don’t want someone’s plastic toy they got at McDonald’s fucking around with some of the equipment. So, it’s my duty to ensure that there isn’t any stuff that isn’t supposed to be there.

I don’t like my job. The hours are long, and everyone treats you like shit because you’re a lower caste, but I don’t bitch about it. I see visitors all the time from higher echelons of society who are so full of angst. They are about to launch themselves toward another cosmos, but they’re too fixated on themselves. It makes me feel almost bad for them. But then they dump a bunch of shit outside their ship and all my sympathy is evaporated.

I sometimes wonder though. We have advanced so much, but have we ? Technology has launched us beyond our origin planet which once trapped us, but it’s like we haven’t really caught up. We’re still the same simians we were 500 years ago. The richest of the rich and the smartest of the smart are still dwelling on the same, navel-gazing stuff that humans on earth used to obsess over. It’s like we can find some new stars, but we’re still trapped, somehow, by what we’ve always been.

I guess that’s why I don’t bitch about my station. Because it’s silly to bitch about things you can’t control. Maybe that’s what the higher-castes don’t realize because they’re so used to having freedom, but their simians brains don’t exactly know what to do with it; as a result, a void nestles in. They worry and wonder and dread. All the possibilities the universe has opened to them only brings misery. But maybe I’m the one who is delusional.

I see myself, floating again. I hover over the windows. Usually the windows are blackened, but sometimes I can see them in their colorful clothing and surroundings. Unity. That’s what humanity has preached ever since leaving earth. But earth is long gone. And all there is is us. But do we really want unity? These thoughts disperse as I hover to the next window, another ship sitting in the belly of the station, readying itself to puncture a distant galaxy that has yet to be named.

Are They Out There? A Small Animal Opines

Today, we’re going to do something different. Instead of posting a weird poem or story, I’m simply going to be answering a couple of questions provided by Fandango. They are:

“Are we alone in this vast and expanding universe? Do you believe that intelligent, alien life exists? Defend your answer.”

As you can probably tell from my posts I’m no scientist, philosopher, nor have I ever had an “extraterrestrial experience.” So, I’m probably incredibly under-qualified to answer this. So, here we go.

“Are we alone in this vast and expanding universe?” Well, no one really knows, of course, but if the universe is vast and expanding, then surely there has to be some form of life elsewhere, beyond our solar system. So, statistically, it’s very likely. However, the second question is a bit trickier:

“Do you believe that intelligent, alien life exists?” This goes back to the point I just made, which is that, statistically, it’s very likely that there is life beyond what is known; it’s also likely that at least some of that life might be “intelligent.” However, such lifeforms might be trillions of miles from us, and it make take millennia for contact to be made.

But, the fact that we ask such questions is interesting, and the ways that we answer them are revealing.

Brian Cox is an English physicist and well-known television personality who once tried to answer a similar question to the ones above, which is, “if intelligent alien life exists, how come we haven’t had contact yet?” His answer:

“It may be that the growth of science and engineering inevitably outstrips the development of political expertise, leading to disaster…”

Basically, the reason we haven’t heard from alien civilizations is because they have destroyed themselves, and that we could be, according to Cox, “approaching that position.” This makes sense. Human life, despite all of its technological and cultural progress, remains self-destructive. And maybe life, as it becomes more intelligent and complex, inevitably leads to its own censor.

But, isn’t it possible that we haven’t seen aliens yet not because they self-destructed, but because space travel is extremely difficult and resource-heavy? Perhaps, there are some civilizations that have managed to crack the code, but we are simply in too far a quadrant for them to reach. Or, alien lifeforms are already here, but merely exist on a different plane from us. It is possible that extraterrestrial life could be non-corporeal, non-carbon based. Perhaps, we simply could not perceive them, and they cannot perceive us; two universes, maybe even more, in overlap.

But Cox isn’t the only physicist to opine on this. Stephen Hawking once speculated on the nature of intelligent alien lifeforms and what the scenario might be if we ever crossed paths:

“Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well.”

If extraterrestrials are advanced enough to traverse whole galaxies, it could be akin to Europe colonizing distant lands. This also makes sense. Humans, once we became advanced enough, used those advancements to oppress and use each other. Progress, like a parasite, feeding itself to growth.

But, due to the near-infinite variables granted by a vast and expanding universe, isn’t it also possible that aliens may not even know the concept of slavery or property? Perhaps, such things could be so distant and, well, “alien” to them that they could barely comprehend it? Maybe, if aliens ever meet us, we may not even register a second look. We could be merely a worm writhing in the mud and aliens, a child who may give us a gander for a minute, but has more important things to do.

So, you’ve probably noticed the thing that girds their speculations. Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking are far more intelligent and accomplished than I; however, while their answers make sense, they are also based in the assumption that all intelligent life is/would be like us–human. They are reading the unknown through a human lens, projecting upon the universe thousands of years of human progress and suffering. But this shows that the only universe we know so far is the one caged in our skulls. 

Though I might be being too harsh on Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking. They may have been using the question of alien life to reflect on/warn of ourselves. They knew that there is simply not enough evidence yet to answer the question of intelligent life without speculation. So, they tried offering something practical. Something that we can use in the meantime so that we might actually be around when alien life ever decides to show. Though, this could speculation as well.

You know, I just realized that I didn’t really answer that second question myself. “Do you believe that intelligent, alien life exists?” Well, yes…I guess so. Again, I’m no expert, on anything really. So I don’t know there is intelligent life (then again, who does?) but I do believe that there is, out there; it’s just hard for me to speculate on its nature. Despite one of my counter argument against Cox, I doubt that intelligent life would come in a non-corporeal form, but…it’s always possible that at least some entities might be. After all, while there is much we know of the universe, there is a lot that we likely don’t. As advanced as we are, I sometimes feel like we’re just getting started. 100,000 years from now, historians may lump the current Internet Age with the Hunter and Gatherers in terms of advancement/progress. As far as we’ve come, we’re still animals clinging to our humble speck, with our eyes occasionally gazing upward at slightly more distant specks, and dreaming.