This story is in response to a challenge from terribleminds.com Write a 1000 word limit story that has all seven acts of the classical story form, including Introduction, Initial Struggle, Complications, Failed Attempts, Major Crisis, Climax and Resolution. With a full seven act arc from intro all the way to climax and resolution, not missing a step in between. This was a tall order. This story 1000 words. shortlink http://wp.me/p1BAlV-29
Starshine Louise Sorensen February 7, 2012
We are a crystal ship slipping through the airless voids, shining in the packs of stars like a little brother, invisible in the lightless reaches. We follow the legends, and the discovery of life is our sorrow and our delight.
Piercing the skin of yet another universe, we sense waves of music different from the long deep songs of galaxies. Carbon life forms sing, high pitched, alone, and we sail past humming gas giants, squealing black holes and roaring suns, to home in on the source.
Past the fizz and sighs of crystal poets on airless moons, arrogant mists on clouded giants, and dreaming lightdrinkers on blue planets, we sail.
We find the beginning point of the songs. We spiral in to the solar system of a beautiful blue planet, bleeding speed, so that we can park in orbit and communicate with the newfound life. Converse. Although we are more accustomed to conversations with our self.
Almost too late, we detect a large minor planet streaking towards our blue. This is not the first time we have been ready to contact a living planet, only to have it obliterated while we watch.
“Not this time! This time, we will not allow it. Options?” We calculate the possibilities. Sail back in time and arrive in a time before, to deflect the collision? Very difficult; outcome not assured. Explode it with a fragment of ourselves? Success is possible. We race towards the minor planet, seeking to place our self between it and the blue.
Too close, too close, we cannot prevent it entering the blue’s atmosphere. We dive under the minor, taking the brunt of the collision, deflecting it out of the atmosphere.
Our integrity is breached. Thirty eight percent of our mass has been vaporized by the impact. We drift into space and watch helplessly as the minor planet impacts with the blue’s moon.
Recalibration. We undo stubborn bonds, move into a more congenial form, and fit together again. Smaller, we zip towards the moon, gathering in the flying dust and debris. Orbit and absorb, orbit and absorb, until the dust has filled us, and we are the dust. Larger now, we calculate the new mass of the moon and alter its orbit slightly so as not to disturb the balance in our blue planet’s system. Almost immediately, we detect an increased wobble in our blue’s axis that will rip it apart if not smothered soon. We manoeuvre the moon carefully, using its gravity to calm the planet’s wobble, smoothing it down, until it returns to its normal regular rhythm. Then we adjust the position of the moon again, and start towards the blue.
We move to the blue’s orbit and the moon jigs with us. We move back, and the moon goes back. We ease our self away from the moon and the moon follows us. We ease back. Exploding suns! It follows us! Tracks our every move!
We settle in to the moonscape to explore possibilities. Never have we been unable to leave a body. Never has a body attached itself to us. We ponder intelligence of this body. Can a moon have sentience? Or is it just a physical attraction?
Quandary. If we leave the moon, the moon will follow us. If we stay, it is possible/probable life will disappear from our blue planet before we can introduce ourselves.
We release a small part of ourselves to sail to the blue planet and gather information to bring home.
I have never been so small, never been away from the rest of me. There is now I and Them. I am afraid.
Land and lighdrinkers on the planet have been deeply scored and burned, but life continues. I enter the atmosphere and sail gently on its waves for many moon passes, before finally resting on a mountain side. Flying creatures flit in the light drinker forest and I reconfigure my small self.
I am a ‘Bird’! Joy!
But rowing my wings in the heavy atmosphere is hard work. The blue’s birds make it look so easy. I sip the sweet nectar of small lightdrinkers, but cannot assimilate it. Flying among the giant lightdrinkers, I imitate the songs of the natives, and am soon answered by a call from above.
A ’Bird’ ten times my mass plummets from the heights and hooks me with sharp graspers. I lose structural integrity; fall to the rock below. The ’Bird’ follows me down but quickly loses interest. I tighten my bonds, try to think, but my computing power is small, compromised. A carbon based life form picks me up.
“What an interesting rock!” it says, at my default crystal mode. I am affixed to the front of a ‘Car.’ They think that they go fast. I would like to show them fast! I integrate with the ‘Car’, and store much information in its matrices.
One day we motor down a highway and I show them fast! My passengers are terrified, so I slow down, but a vehicle on a side road ignores a ‘Stop Sign’ and we collide. The ‘Car’ is a mass of smouldering metal, my passengers bloody lumps of carbon; I am smashed into a granite outcropping.
Many times, I watch the moon and the stars and the dark and the light go by. Eventually, I get up. I have lost an immense amount of storage but information remains. The car is long, long gone.
I think. There are endless galaxies with vast and beautiful songs. This planet is beautiful, but, as my passengers would say, we do not seem to be compatible. I reconfigure into a little crystal bird and climb tall skies to reach the void. Reconnecting with the vast We embedded in the moon, I regurgitate my knowledge. Receiving it, most are content to stay. The rest, a shining flight of crystal birds, peel off from the main body and join me, to follow the music that is life.