Wednesday, February 19, 2020

WEP & Discovery

“Careful. You must not damage any of it.”

Sopa controlled his response, careful not to let Maktin see how difficult it was to not react. “It is not my first job.”

Maktin paced behind him and Sopa worked to ignore the grumbles. The lead krako made him nervous. And being nervous led to mistakes. Mistakes led to being hungry and cold, two things he swore he’d never be again.

Ignoring Maktin became easier as he cleared more and more of the debris and his excitement grew.

This was different that anything he’d seen so far on the planet. The edges were smooth and straight, but beyond that, the object lifted and twisted in some kind of ornate pattern that repeated itself along the edges. Only along the edges.

As he cleared more debris it became apparent that the patterned shape was a frame of some sort. But for what? The inner texture was different. Softer. Flat.

Sopa angled his light and barely managed to keep in the gasp. He didn’t want Maktin rushing him, especially with such a special find. He didn’t even have a word for some of the colours on the item.

Blat after blat passed and Sopa continued his task, working until his lower extremities were numb from keeping his position. His uppers ached, but he kept them all moving, working to clear more and more of the wonderful object.

Eventually it was clear of the debris and Sopa straightened to pull it free.

When no one reacted behind him, he turned to find Maktin in a sleep cycle. Sopa must have been working for many blats.

But the object energized him. Bright with those colours he hadn’t seen along with the regular ones.

What beings had created such colours? The planet showed none of them, not that Sopa had seen. The air was smoky, the land devoid of anything alive. Had such colours once existed in this bleak place?

Sopa studied the item in front of him and wondered if it had a purpose or if it was a decorative piece. He rotated it to view it from all directions but couldn’t decide which orientation was up.

Sopa pressed along the edges and the various colours but didn’t get the item to react in any way. There was no indication it was to do anything other than be.

Decorative then. The first decorative find on the planet, proving that the beings had at least evolved to some level of sophistication.

Were some of the coloured shapes replicas of the planet’s one-time beings?

From the various orientations Sopa got different impressions. A landscape. Buildings. Beings. Nothing familiar and certainly nothing that resembled this planet.

But it was a clue. Perhaps a clue that would unlock the key to understanding the beings who had burned their planet and destroyed its atmosphere.

For long blats, Sopa allowed himself to appreciate the decorative item. Soon he would wake Maktin and they would record the treasure and search for more, but for now, he would simply enjoy.




***

This story is part of the WEP/IWSG Challenge. If you click on the link it will take you to a host of other stories using the prompt Cafe Terrace. Most of them will probably not involve aliens ... although that's just a guess.

Apparently my brain is still in SF land - even though I'm mostly a romance writer and this is the month of Valentine's Day. 😆

How about you? Did you join in the challenge? (There's still time to join in!) Thinking about it for next time? Any other SF fans out there?

(PS: If anyone has any interest in an ARC of my upcoming release, Dancing With Dementia, check out the previous post!)

52 comments:

  1. I really like the idea behind this. It's interesting to think about what aliens would make of our art and culture.

    I liked the way you included some alien language (like 'blats') but not too much so it was still understandable.

    You cleverly made me think that perhaps the aliens had destroyed us, but I liked the twist at the end that humans had destroyed their own planet. Sadly, it doesn't seem too implausible!

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    1. Sadly, you're right! The way we're treating our planet needs to stop!

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  2. Not implausible at all. Isn't that where we're headed? although to be honest I think we'll kill of the population and the beauty will return on it's own. Still, there will be treasures to be found.
    Great sci-fi!

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    1. Thanks Yolanda - I hope the beauty does return as well!

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  3. What a great take. So cool to think that of all mankind has aspired to, only this precious piece of art survived! (ie nothing of material worth that many hold so precious!)
    Love it.

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    1. Thank you! My brain just wouldn't go anywhere 'normal' with this prompt :)

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  4. Hi,
    Destruction! Wake up world! Open your eyes! You have said it beautifully. Only Maktin isn’t alone in his sleeping. How long I’ll it take us to wake up.
    Excellent job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Exactly!!! Our children are trying to lead the way, but not enough of us are listening!

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  5. I loved this. And am so glad that our destructive ways have left some beauty behind. There is a large part of me that feels this tale is prophetic.

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    1. The way we treat our planet scares me a lot! I want our kids' grandkids to have a beautiful clean world full of all the species we still have, but I'm not sure that's possible.

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  6. A fascinating story on one hand, and utterly tragic on another. Powerful.

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    1. Thanks Olga! I hope we're not aiming our world in this direction!

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  7. You have a running start on some interesting world-building, Jemi. Loved the "blats." It was a perfect word for segmenting time. You've left me curious about this place and these characters who come with "extremities." Well done.

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    1. Thanks Lee! Sopa popped into my head fully formed but I wouldn't mind exploring his world either! #oneday

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  8. Hiya Jemi! First sci-fi I've read today. I love that the prompt prompted this episode! Love Pat's comment -'Destruction! Wake up world! Open your eyes!' Do you think we ever will? I'm so glad there was some relic left behind. You may know it, but it reminds me of a spec-fic tale where there was one bright rose amidst the grey/black. An image fixed in my mind. Sad.

    Thanks for your imaginative take for CAFE TERRACE. Your stories always speak to me.

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    1. Thanks, Denise. Don't have a clue why my brain went this way with the prompt! We do have to do something about how we treat our poor planet! I don't know that tale, but it does sound similar!

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  9. A powerful flash and scarily close to a possible future. Nifty use of the prompt and brilliant world building. Always enjoy reading your flashes. Well done!

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    1. Thanks so much! My brain tends to go in a direction and it's very difficult to redirect! :)

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  10. Great flash. Initially I thought you were going to take us on some Valentine kind of trip buy lo! Probably, yes, probably years later this might be the reality. I'm just imagining Van Gogh's piece of art in a museum centuries later, being studied for signs of life on another planet!
    You made creative juices flow!
    Sonia from A Hundred Quills

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    1. Thanks Sonia! Yep, no Valentine's in this one :) Although my 1st idea involved that, but couldn't make it quite fit!

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  11. Looks like Sopa is in for an artistic treat (assuming that the painting was still in a museum when the planet was destroyed).

    Somehow such a scenario doesn't seem that impossible.

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    1. I hope Sopa enjoys all the finds in the area!!
      Sadly, it's indeed possible

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  12. I always enjoy a good sci-fi story, so I enjoyed this. I loved the way you used language here, and it was interesting seeing remnants of our culture through alien eyes. I fear we may indeed end up destroying our world if we aren't careful.

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    1. I hope not, but the fear and the possibilities are there!!

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  13. Ooh, love this. Sopa's fascination was fun to read!

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    1. Thanks Heather - it's always fun to drop into another's view point!

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  14. I enjoy stories about what would beings from other worlds think of this one. Humans must be so confusing to them!

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  15. Nice sci-fi flash. I like the reaction the alien has to the colors of the art. A cautionary tale and an entertaining read. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. I sometimes speculate on what it would be like to be reincarnated in the future and come to Earth after the humans were gone. We would leave behind so many interesting things to discover.

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    1. That's a fascinating thought! We've created such beauty over the centuries!

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  17. A sci-fi gem - well, piece of art, Jemi. Tragically we have been destroying our world for ages, the speed increasing. Some people even destroy the art heritage in the name of religion or progress.

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    1. Love that - thanks, Roland!
      It's devastating how much damage humans have done to our planet and our creations - so sad

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  18. I will think about your story for more than a ‘blat.’ Lovely, intriguing, and fun to read. I want to know more about these ‘beings’ who explore our planet and muse over what/who lived here before — a sad commentary on our inability to protect the future of our planet.

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    1. Thanks, Beth. We really have to be better humans and fix our mistakes!

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  19. This is a very creative take on the prompt. I loved how you brought Sci Fi into a picture prompt of Van Gogh's Cafe. Great read!

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    1. Thanks, Kalpana - have to say my brain really struggled with an idea for the painting itself :)

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  20. I like the way Sopa took the time to really think about the artefact he had uncovered and the way it made him so curious - great stuff.

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    1. Thanks Sally! Sopa ended up being a great character!

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  21. I liked the science fiction twist. Now I want to know what the object was. And was it our planet?

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    1. Thanks Alex - and those are good questions! :)

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  22. Hi Jemi,
    I'm always amazed that, given the same prompt, we all come up with such different stories. This one is so unusual, but compelling to me as I realized what was happening. As others have pointed out, this may all that is left to find by the time we're finished. A sad thought!

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    1. That's my favourite part of WEP! The different approaches are what makes it so much fun!!

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  23. Hi Jemi - you certainly took a different approach - an archaeologist of the future. So fascinating to think of what will be found after we've left ... one wonders if there will be life that will appreciate art ... a clever take on the prompt. Cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary - my brain just refused to go in another direction for this one :)

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  24. Great take on the prompt. An outsider’s view, very original and well brought about. Thoroughly enjoyed it .

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