Wednesday, June 21, 2023


Linca sighed when Jims entered the lab. He was such a pompous schmuck and she knew today was going to be a bad one because of her report from the day before.

Jims grinned at her. “How are your alien buddies today? Get any pings on the screens last night?”

She ignored him and kept her focus on her data. No one in the community wanted to hear her theories. They were all convinced she was ridiculous and gullible. Too imaginative for science.

She knew better. The data showed too many anomalies to be created by space debris. There were patterns she couldn’t ignore and those patterns weren’t random. Intelligent life had made them. Linca was convinced they were attempts at communication and that they were close.

Jims laughed loudly. “Nothing to say Linca? No incursions from little fuzzy blobs last night? Or maybe they’re slimy talking spheres?”

Linca’s skin flushed but she refused to be baited into a conversation that would only get worse if she responded. Instead she pulled up another screen and input the data she'd gathered from the bursts of light she’d spotted the day before.

Jims kept up his taunting, playing to the audience of other scientists in the room. Most of them refused to get involved, but a few snickered along.

Deciding to try something different, Linca copied the light burst data and sent it out through their own equipment on the top of the facility. Maybe she could record a reaction. When nothing happened immediately, she tried at a different angle. And again. Space was vast and even a 0.001% angle change covered a huge territory.

When her station beeped, it took her a moment to register that she had a response. Coincidence?

She input the data again, but this time she repeated it twice. It came back twice. When she changed it up again, the response changed as well. Was it some kind of echo? Had Jims played with her equipment?

A klaxon sounded and everyone in the room stilled. She sent out another light test. When it came back, Linca whispered into the room. “They’re answering.”

Complete silence greeted her until the klaxon sounded again. An automated voice announced. “Breach in the atmosphere above Quanta Station. Incoming object of unidentified origin and design.”

Linca leapt from her seat and out the door. She heard footsteps behind her as she raced to the lift. Jims squeezed in before the doors shut, his face flushed. “You’ve gone too far this time, Linca. If this is some kind of trick you've set up to make us believe your little theories, you're finished here.”

The doors opened and she didn’t bother answering as she raced for the final staircase. It was fifty steps up but she didn’t slow. At the top, she slipped on the protective breathing apparatus. A few steps behind her, Jims did the same. This time without sneering.

They stepped into the pressurized vestibule and waited while their cleaned air was exchanged for what covered their planet. No longer breathable by any of their species.

As soon as the doors opened, Linca raced forward onto the planet's surface. A huge shadow was the first sign, but it was quickly followed by an enormous shape dropping through the clouds. A huge cylinder surrounded by smaller cylinders on all sides.

She heard Jims muttering behind her but didn’t take her eyes off the enormous cylinder as it rotated and landing gear descended. It settled without a sound.

Linca approached slowly, watching for an indication of the beings that must be inside. Finally a section near the bottom slid away and a staircase lowered.

Three beings appeared. Taller than her species. Bipedal with two upper limbs as well. Similar to her own, but with longer limbs. Their faces in shades of brown sat atop their bodies and they had hair or fur on the tops of their heads.

They wore no protective equipment and didn’t seem bothered by the air as they descended. These beings could breathe oxygen.

Linca approached and stopped when she was close enough to converse. She’d imagined this moment so many times, she knew exactly what she wanted to say. She pointed to herself first. “Linca.” Then she added her species. “Trefalian.” Finally she gestured at the planet. “Trefalia.”

The being who had the most hair nodded and pointed at itself. “Hassan.” Then it pointed at its companions. “Chi. Karla.” Then it circled its hand to indicate them all. “Humans.”

Linca repeated the names as she pointed at each one. Then she used her hands to indicate them all. “Humans.”

The words were odd but easy to say, unlike some of the languages she’d imagined she might hear.

Each humans repeated Linca’s name as well as Trefalian and Trefalia.

Linca turned to bring Jims in on the conversation but he lay on the ground, arms flung to the side where he’d fainted.

With a grin, Linca turned to the humans and pointed backward. “Jims.” She refrained from adding schmuck, but it was a close call.


Tagline: Sometimes it's best to trust your gut, not your colleagues


This post is part of the June WEP Challenge: Close Encounters. I loved this movie when I was a kid but haven't seen it in years. I mostly remember the music they used to communicate.

I hope you check out the challenge and I really hope you join in. We're always excited to have new people join! It's so much fun to see where the prompts take people. The first draft I wrote for this prompt involved an unexpected encounter with a bear, but that story disappeared somewhere so you get this one instead

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

IWSG & Don't Stop!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 


June 7 question - If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?

I don't plan to stop writing any time soon. If I ever do, it will probably be because my hands are too sore to continue. I have some issues with arthritis and I assume at one point, the pain will be too much. Hopefully that point is a couple of decades in the future.

If Dragon dictation software ever integrates well with Macs and becomes available in Canada, I may try that. But dictation only does so many things, and the fixes it requires are currently more difficult on my hands than actually typing.

One of my other hobbies is playing piano, but if my hands can't type, they won't be playing either.

I'm not a big movie/TV watcher, so, I guess I'll have more time for reading!

My To Be Read list should only take me a dozen decades or so...

How about you? What other hobbies take up your time? What hobbies do you wish you had more time to enjoy? How big is your TBR list?