Background: Writers group assignment. Topic given was “Lost”. Words required: About 500 used 570. The story is a bit technical because it is written for sophisticated Sci-Fi readers
In the faint silver sunlight of the day that goes on forever, the pale landscape was a water colour – still and serene. Tasheewa’s eyes scanned the horizon for any sign of impending attack, but she saw none. How could she know that the small white dots all over the sky were anything but part of the clouds?
When Tasheewa and Borrett had arrived on this tiny exoplanet with half a dozen other explorers, they had expected to stay only days whilst repairs were completed. Since the late 21st century Euro-NASA had started pushing out beyond the borders of the Sol system. The giant Maunakea had been the last Sol planet scrutinized. The astro guys had worked out that it had to exist long before they could see it. Nothing else could be affecting the orbits of the other 8 planets so much. Finally though, Maunakea had been found and visited and made to yield its secrets, and ever-inquisitive man had set his eyes on new frontiers. There were now regular expeditions launching in all directions from earth’s moon-base. Each consisted of several small craft in convoy and each craft carried 6 to 10 crew members, depending on its purpose. Tasheewa and her crew had started picking up nav problems somewhere out in the rocky wastelands of the Kuiper belt at about 15 times the Sun-Neptune distance from SOL. There were too many rocks out there to dice with, so they’d dropped out from the fleet in search of a lay-by. Eventually they settled on the moon sized planetoid known to astronomers only as WW 2077 QQ3. It orbited a pale old sun that had locked in a motley cluster of small planets. They had no clue when they landed there, that it was the most prized ball of rock and chemicals in the local universe.
Whilst the ship’s engineer – Eggan , worked on the navigation system, other crew started analysing rock samples. That’s what these little explorer craft were equipped to do so they figured they should do just that whilst repairs were under way. The results were startling. The little world turned out to be half covered in water ice, but because this side always faced its weak sun, it was warm enough to have some liquid water on it too, and even some water clouds hung in the small sky. Even more surprising was that the rocky ground consisted mainly of rare chemical elements. All this of course made “invaders” out of the earth people, and when the shock-wave from the sky killed all the others in an instant, Tasheewa and Borrett, standing some distance away, were the only survivors. Borrett had only basic engineering skills but repairs had almost been completed by the experts before they were blown away. Borrett just needed to finish all the settings and he was doing that slowly. In the meantime, Tasheewa went out to fetch water in the ice-fields and to scan the skies for any hint of returning attackers.
As the day wore on the overhead clouds bellied down into the valley, and unseen by Tasheewa or Borrett, thousands of tiny white dots separated off and scurried towards the stranded space craft. The intrusion from deep space had to be understood and the threat annihilated…