Shoe Size

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It was a chilly afternoon, the temperature had warmed since the blizzard that plowed through western Virginia, but the snow remained. We had arrived in the mountains an hour or so before sunset. It was just enough time to summit Spy Rock. We were hoping to catch the glimpse of a comet—or maybe it was a planet—visible on the western horizon after the sun fell from view.

A woman accompanied me, my new traveling companion, for a time. She was a beautifully stubborn woman and my new sudden and unexpected crush. I took a stab at building a romance with her; this trip was after my initial failure. I hadn’t entirely given up, but such a desire was put on the back-burner. She trusted me enough to spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods, so I would let the relationship grow as fate would have it. There was already a great friendship, and she was with in this moment, so there was little need to force it.

Spy Rock is quite the site. It is a large collection of boulders sitting on the mountain’s edge. The rocks sit precariously as if they could slide into the valley at any moment. The rocks grant a 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a deep blue or purple landscape in the failing light. It had been a clear day, but, as luck would have it, a blanket of clouds covered the lower western horizon, exactly where the celestial event we came to see would be. Still a fiery band of fading daylight, contrasted with long thin wisps of purple clouds was still a site worthy of the hike. And worthy of the company.

It was a fun, silly evening. In a moment, of exultation at being atop Spy Rock, she forgot which direction was west, which I kindly nodded my head in the direction of the setting sun. Her face contorted in embarrassment and laughter at her obvious mistake.

We were sitting and chatting in view of the setting sun when she took this picture, contrasting my giant feet next to her tiny shoes. Obviously, she was shorter than me. I had nicknamed her Half-Pint because of it. When I had first called her that was probably the time I realized how far I had fallen, because she shot an accusing glance at me and called me “Quart”. Such a small exchange, but that was when everything changed for me.

The picture displays the silliness of the moment and a fond memory, but it also symbolizes the miles we traveled together as our relationship grew and the goofy adventures we had. It is my favorite picture of her and our time together. Moments like these are ephemeral, and soon time and drive sent us on different paths. However, there is always something of her in my life from all we shared: music, a sunset, a mountain hike, or a nightly stroll on a bioluminescent beach. It is amazing how some people, or even moments, alter our entire lives.

Sweet

© 2018 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Chapter Seven: Debriefing

Start the Adventure from the Beginning! Chapter Links: OneTwoThreeFourFiveSix

Eric’s body rocked as the transport landed in the Charon’s hanger bay. His hands robotically unlocked the safety harness once the troops around him began to shuffle out. Eric was in a daze; his head was heavy with the events at the artifact repeating continuously in his head. Emb being shot out of the air, Jensen’s last moment, and the brutal grip of the Curtani that had captured him. Everything else was a blur.

He felt a calm, forceful pull on his shoulder. Eric stood and headed out into the bright lights of the hangar bay. The back of his eyes winced with pressure at the sudden change. He was surrounded by troops, humans. They had risked much to travel into the belly of the Curtani vessel to retrieve him. Obviously, a threatening posture of two human cruisers and a calm, forceful commander, engineered his release. But what about the others? What about every soldier who died on that wretched artifact, so he could live?

Not worthy.

That was the only thing the artifact articulated, in languages everyone could understand. Then it imploded? All that engineering to produce a massive floating installation just to have it collapse in a firefight it didn’t want. Was it looking for a more peaceful first meeting? Perhaps it should have said something earlier. Isn’t that what a more intelligent advanced species would have done?

Eric’s security detail rushed him from the hangar and into the cruiser’s narrow corridors. The lighting in the corridors was dimmer, the pain in his eyes eased. Only his body responded to those around as he kept pace with their march. Eric was still with the dead, with the artifact.

Not worthy.

Of course, a more intelligent and advanced species could just as easily decide that Eric and the others were not worthy of their attention. The artifact may have scanned everyone on that bridge as they fought and died, analyzed DNA sequences, and find every species inferior. Not worthy of further communication.

Not worthy.

And then, the programmed probe would remove all traces of its existence without regard for those dying inside.

Not worthy.

Doors slid open before Eric. A tall, lean woman with brown hair firmly grabbed his arm. The rank of lieutenant was emblazoned on her shoulder. The other troops stood at attention behind him.

A large table spanned the room before Eric. The center of the table was a projecting console that spilled three dimensional images of Forlorn, the planet below them. A failed mining operation had given the planet its moniker, and now a failed first contact scenario had cemented it.

Not worthy.

The room was filled with six highly decorated officers, two of them were corporate presidents, the other four were officers from the two vessels. A familiar, white-haired man at the head stood up as Eric was escorted into the room by the lieutenant at his side. His body did not resist. The older man wore the badge of a three-tiered step pyramid just above his row of medals, the insignia for XenoTech Expeditions, Eric’s employer.

“Eric,” the man said with an uncertain nod.

This was the first time Eric responded. “Jim.” Eric’s voiced cracked and struggled as if he hadn’t spoken in months. “Or is it, President Marsen here?”

President James Marsen managed a weak smile. “After what you have been through, Jim is fine.” Jim presented his hand toward an empty chair closest to Eric. “Please, have a seat.”

One of the younger men to Eric’s left, a captain, spoke once Eric was guided to his seat. “We need your contacts removed.”

“Pardon?” Eric stammered.

“Your contacts, Eric,” Jim repeated with less abruptness than the captain. “All the information they collected can help us come to the bottom of this situation.”

Eric nodded. “Yes, Jim.”

Eric carefully pulled the contacts from his eyes. Although unseen to the human eyes, each contact was a computer, which relayed and stored probably nearly as much information as the human brain. They were used on nearly every human endeavor. They had little intelligence installed on them, but they had a host of testing parameters and sensors for collecting data and linking communication with the people on the ground. Hell, there was enough bio-metric information to tell whether Eric suffered from gas due to disagreeable food.

The captain to his left collected the contacts in a rose quartz tube and capped them. He then turned to Jim. “This could take a few days to go through. Nothing on this vessel, screams research or intelligence vessel.”

“We have some time, until we figure out its next move,” Jim replied.

Its next move? Eric looked up. He was probably slack-jawed. “Pardon, Jim?”

Jim smiled.

The young captain continued. “This is not our first run-in with the artifact.”

Eric was suddenly awake. His stupor broken. Adrenaline poured down his legs like he was a faucet. “We were not told this!” His voice was still weak, an angry stammer.

The captain was undaunted by the outburst. “Stephens knew, he was the only who needed to know, but you are now our point man. Apparently. For the all good it will do us.”

“What?” Eric stood up.

The young captain stood in response. He was taller, Eric could only stare at the captain’s decorated chest.

Eric’s adrenaline failed him, tremors weakened his knees.

Not worthy.

Eric collapsed into his chair.

The captain kneeled over Eric in his chair. “What did you see? Those men who died out there—” he pressed into Eric’s chest with an index finger—“for you, got you further into that construct then any squad before.” The captain twisted his head to meet Eric’s downturned eyes. To Eric, it almost looked like the captain had a serpent-like neck. “What did you see?”

Not worthy.

Eric matched eyes with the captain. His voice was weak, but he said, “Death.”

“Captain Holland, that is enough.” Jim’s quiet, stern voice broke through the tension. “We have all the data we can collect. We will add it to our current library of knowledge.”

Captain Holland stood at attention with a hiss at the word “data”.

“Which isn’t much,” quipped the captain.

“You speak out of turn, captain,” Jim continued.

Captain Holland’s body went rigid at the realization. “Apologies, President Marsen.”

Jim took a breath and nodded to the captain. “At ease.” He gazed around the room. “It is too soon. Dr. Eric Lancer will need some time to recuperate from the experience before we can continue. Everyone is dismissed, except Eric.”

Eric watched as everyone left. The other corporate president eyed locked eyes with Marsen, an accusing glance. The officers stood abruptly and walked passed Eric, the heads held high above him, eyes full of cold disdain. Two gentle taps on his shoulder from the lieutenant behind him was his only connection with humanity in the room before even she left. Marsen remained, tapping his fingers on the back of his chair until the door slid closed. Then the room was silent for an unbearably, yet short, time. Marsen breathed and walked over to Eric and sat on the table. He looked at the repeating images in the center of the table and snapped his fingers. The images went dark.

Eric managed a chuckle. “No need for the snap, Jim. The neural connections of your contacts also connect with the computer systems of the ship and—”

Jim laid a hand on Eric. “I know. I still like a little spectacle. A little flair. Little too stuffy on these vessels.” Jim passed his eyes over the briefing room. “I still miss it sometimes, though.”

Eric chuckled again. “I never knew you then. Good thing, probably. So, this debriefing, your idea, a quick gauge of my fitness? Or was this someone else’s idea?”

Jim looked at his friend in sincere earnest. “No, this whole scenario has made them all anxious. And now with the Curtani involved . . .” Jim shrugged. “Eric, you know why I asked for you?”

“Not certain, because I’m so damn brilliant.”

“Yes, but minus the sarcasm.”

Eric managed a weak smile.

“You are an enthusiastic discoverer. That is the job you chose. You have traveled to dead worlds and found evidence of past life, past civilizations. The blowhards here are looking for a new threat, my fellow presidents—and even I—are looking for another paycheck.”

“You, chasing after money, never.”

Jim raised an eyebrow and shrugged. “I’m simple. Profit is my nature. But not you, your lust lies in discovery. I know how you work, what can you tell me that the data lenses that just left this room cannot?”

Eric casts his eyes at the carpeted floor. “Not much. The motivations behind that artifact are inscrutable. It could be an old device still following some directives given to it by an extinct race or it is some sort of first contact probe. That is all anyone knows. I don’t even know how the Curtani got it opened.”

Not worthy.

“What has got you so somber?”

“Wasn’t expecting a firefight and to lose everyone that was out to help me.”

Jim stood and walked back across the room. “Risks of the trade.”

“Not my trade. Firefights have never been in my line of work.” Eric’s eyes narrowed. “What about the other times? The other times you’ve encountered this probe?”

Jim looked up and leaned his hands on the table.

“You still in this?”

Eric leaned back, his shock beginning to subside. “Depends? Do I get to know everything Lieutenant Stephens knew? I can’t move forward with only a piece of the story.”

Jim smiled. “Indeed.”

© 2018 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

Inscrutable

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Weathered By Time

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Usually when we think of something as weathered, we see it as being old, worn out, a relic of some past greatness. Maybe, in some ways, this is true, but if you look at the natural world, weathering is a simple another process that connects many aspects of the world. It’s one more process or piece of the earth system. The picture above I took while traveling across the country. I was heading from Virginia to Oregon. I did this for many reasons: an old friend was there, I was going to talk to a professor about a research project, and I just needed to clear my head from life’s small difficulties. I was deep in graduate work and the stress was building. I had made an ill-advised attempt at romance as well. So, I was mentally weathered as well and looking to bleed out my frustration. Driving across that country was that remedy.

The picture was taken from a rest stop in the mountains of Utah. The rugged, carved layers of rock you see are undergoing physical weathering eroded by the high winds that blow through the dry region. You can also see bands of broken debris and even sand or dirt, where the eroded material is deposited. Here the ground is soft and has enough nutrients and water for the small shrubbery to grow there. Over time the root systems of these shrubs dig into the cracks in the rock and further weather the mountain by breaking the rock into soil. They are carving a home for themselves right into the rock. Over time, more plants and animals will begin to call the place home as the mountain is weathered.

Who knows what this place could look like many millions of years from now. The mountains and shrubs will change. The landscape could be vastly different all because of natural weathering processes. The identity of the entire landscape could be altered. Clues will be left behind in the strata of its geological history, but some of it could also be washed away and eroded by climatic changes or suddenly. The point is through all of this changing, these weathering processes, the land doesn’t look back. It can only move forward bound to the relentless forward pace of time.

I am also a time traveler and also bound to only one direction: forward. Time weathers us all, but it is an inevitable process and the desire to fight this process is not worth the pain of your assured failure. In some ways, the influences here are different. The mountain is weathered through natural external forces, while I typically feel mentally weathered due to some connection my mind has with an old memory or a past event, using those moments to define me. Time and age make me feel less weathered than when my mind is filled with perceived failures, past and future. I cannot define myself by a series of past moments and attempt to predict the moments ahead of me. Change doesn’t, thankfully, always bend to my ill-informed will. It just changes. So, I will flow with it. After all, we are but a series of moments connected together by neurons in the brain to make some semblance of a whole. The whole, the self, may even be an illusion, a way for the mind to interpolate a series of events as a linear life to make sense of the complexity. While this may not give many great comfort, it does work for me. So, when I look at something weathered, I see a sense of the fading past, the present, and the possible future. Something new always seems to rise out of the rubble of a mountain. That is a wonder of this world and our short lives.

Weathered

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November Writing Month . . . Again

Hey Everyone,

I am planning to get involved in NaNoWriMo again this year. I hit just over 23000 words last year (although the goal is 50000). The ultimate goal may be hard to hit this year. I have conferences and other science stuff to get through, so we will see. However, I have learned that I can still add the word count of my stories that I post here, so I should be working on bit on my posting schedule as well. Exciting things are on the way. Stay awesome!

CJ

 

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Terror By Sunset

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Very little can get my feet moving quickly across the deck of a ship as when someone says the word, “Shark”. I’m was the kid who grew up with the movie Jaws stuck in my head at a very young age. Most of the people I talk to you (maybe all of them) inform me how that film still makes them frightened of the water. Not me. That movie hit me at the age when I was fascinated by the idea of sea monsters. Jaws was a monster movie to me, until I realized that in terms of the white shark, monsters were real. That started my spiral into the sciences as I devoured every book I could find about sharks and then the ocean.

Which brings me here, on the NOAA vessel the Delaware II. It was June and we were on the last leg of a grueling 25 days out at sea. I worked long house and slept little. The weather had been phenomenal, with fog being the worst weather we experienced on the trip. I was lounging on the back deck, enjoying that last night with absolutely nothing to do, when one of the crew called me over to the starboard railing to look at what he said was a shark. I had seen dolphins and whales a plenty on several trips, but never a shark. The sneaky bastards were always just below the surface, out of my eyesight.

However, this one was not. It was on the surface lazily moving through the calm sunset seas. Its dorsal fin was tall and triangular. A distance behind the caudal swung back and forth in the sea. It was a sizable shark. Something was off though; the dorsal fin was flimsy. Rather than being the resolute dagger breaking the water to bring fear to all who saw Jaws, the fin flopped around in the wind more like a sail than a terror of the sea would have.

This shark wasn’t alone, I soon picked out one behind our vessel and others near the original. An entire school of sharks were soon visible. They were basking sharks. Large sharks to be sure, but only terrors to plankton. They sail through the water, mouths jaws agape, to filter the water and swallow the microscopic bounty the sea offers. And our ship just sailed into a school of them. There were even four that swam next to the hall of the ship. Sadly, this happened before I had a chance to grab my camera.

Soon we also heard and saw flocks of pelagic bird diving into or just above the seas waves to collect their prey as well. A pod of whales soon appeared as well, near the ship and just along the horizon. There was a buffet of plankton awaiting these hunters. For me, it was the perfect last day from a long cruise of 18-hour days, and I got a nice picture of lazy basking shark’s dorsal fin in the glow of the setting sun.

That was a good day.

© 2016 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

Glow

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Story Updates

Hello!

So I’ve taken some time when my current my work schedule allows to revise the first two chapters of The Artifact. Since they were originally written as a improvised story–and I didn’t expect to write a Chapter Two–I went back and revised the story and characters a bit more. I plan to work on the other chapters and continue the story by using word prompts. Eventually a final product may find its way to Amazon or another outlet, but you, dear readers, get to see the process from the beginning. Hopefully, that is just as exciting as where the story goes.

Until the next update, enjoy the revisions:

Chapter One: Metamorphosis

Chapter Two: A Threat Born from Isolation

 

 

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Update: Hurricane Harvey

I was writing for a bit and work was a beast this summer. However, now a real beast slammed through Texas in the form of a Category 4 hurricane. I had power issues for awhile, but I was pretty much spared the full force of the beast. I will no doubt be helping people recover when and where I can, so I will my hiatus on the site will last a little longer.

Take care, everyone, and if you are on the Texas coast, be safe and help where you can. If your in northeast Texas, Houston, or southern Louisiana, hunker down for a bit. The rain is on its way.

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A Bridge Into Prehistory

Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls, Oregon, is a gorgeous overlook at one of many spectacular falls in the Columbia River Gorge. It is also a glimpse into the ancient world. In geologic terms, the glimpse is fairly recent, mammals were the dominant vertebrates when the Earth laid the groundwork for the tourist attraction. However, it is amazing to be reminded that the world was still a frightening display fire and ice even when mammals dominated the Earth.

Multnomah Falls has carved the rock around it into a curved amphitheater-like structure, displaying the relentless power of water over millions of years. The lichen and moss-covered rock—all 662 feet—is basalt, an igneous rock formed as lava cools. Basalt is more commonly found in ocean basins when lava mingled with the deep ocean waters along the ocean floor.  Island chains, like Hawai’i, are also formed from volcanic basalt. So, what is a basalt canyon doing in Oregon?

The basalt that Multnomah Falls cascades down is part of the Columbia Plateau. This rock formation was formed between 10 to 15 million years ago. Lava poured out across present day Washington, Oregon, and Idaho through cracks in the Earth’s crust. Over millions of years uplift in the region rose the basalt flats, and the Columbia River cut through the area creating the Columbian River Gorge. More recently in geologic history were the Ice Ages. The freeze and thaw cycles during the Ice Age supplied the water that would erode through the basalt to create the spectacular Multnomah Falls. Melting snow and a natural spring, still feed the falls to this day.

This is what you are truly looking when looking at these looking at these pictures. This one post was 15 million years in the making. This is the slow, but relentless, dance of our Earth.

In 2014, a year after I took these pictures, a large piece of rock broke free from the falls and damaged the railing and bridge walkway. It was repaired, but it is a reminder that these processes will continue and everything will be unrecognizable in another 15 million years.

Bridge

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Benson Bridge just above the base of the Falls.

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Looking over Benson Bridge to the Falls below

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Looking out at the main Falls and the basalt canyon behind it

© 2016 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Chapter Six: Hairless Rats

Older Chapters can be found here: OneTwoThreeFour, and Five

“I can smell them through the hull.” Mendin growled just loud enough for the soldiers and the Terran prisoner near him.

He especially wanted the soft human prisoner to hear it. He was still a prisoner for a few more minutes. Mendin stared down at the soft male, not a pinnacle of the species, if there was such a thing. His eyes did not sparkle with the pride of battle or the defiance of a man who wasn’t afraid to die. No, this Terran rat was a coward, a peasant. He did not have the courage or the fortitude to chart the stars like those who fell before him at the artifact. For some reason, though he was important.

It was unlikely that this whelp fought up the ranks to earn this prestige, unless the humans also promoted through subterfuge and treachery. Maybe poison or assassination while his target was defecating rose this puny example up through the ranks. Whatever it was, this man would hardly last moments in the Curtani labor camps. The most wretched of the Curtani probably had more fortitude than this human, maybe any human, did. Perhaps it was good to be rid of him so quickly, he would have been a waste of resources for so short a stint. Probably not even worth a petulant sacrifice to an Eater.

The soldiers grunted humorously as the Terran shuttle slid into the hangar bay. Mendin watched from the hanger control bay as the back of the shuttle opened and several squads of Terrans scampered out from the vessel like vermin. They surrounded the vessel with weapons lowered. Mendin knew they were reflexively ready for any trouble. Mendin glanced at an Curtani ensign who operated the hangar magnetic fields and its security system. A touch-holo panel two meters away from Mendin controlled defense turrets within the hangar.

Mendin grunted. The Terrans would be unprepared for that. All he had to do was push the ensign aside and press the glowing ephemeral control switch. Lots of dead Terrans.

“Mendin?” Captain Firehoon asked, stepping before him.

Mendin raised his head slightly to stare at his superior. This was a Curtani deserving of respect, taller, stronger, and smarter than him. Only his betters deserved a command rank. He glanced back down at the fragile Terran chained to his wrist. No soft Curtani would order Mendin around, ever.

“We have our orders,” Firehoon said. His unflinching stare made Mendin feel that he was shrinking.

Mendin held himself at attention. “Of course,” Mendin said. His tone was submissive and he refused eye contact.

“You have a doubt.”

Mendin nodded slowly.

“Speak!”

“This human rat could give us more information about the artifact than we know.” Mendin’s hands clenched around the metal link that held the prisoner close to him. “It would not take much to make him talk.”

“We have our orders. The crew of this vessel is at risk. The Terran vessels outnumber us and we have difficulty matching their firepower in an even firefight.”

Mendin lowered his head again. “The good of the people.”

Captain Firehoon said nothing else and took the lead. Mendin followed behind, tugging at the chain holding the victim one last time. The prisoner tripped and shouted a curse at the treatment. Mendin smiled.

The troops followed behind.

At the entrance to the hangar bay Mendin and his squad met three more squads of troops. The doors opened and Mendin began the long march to the Terran shuttle. He counted thirty armored Terran rats trained and ready for betrayal. The shuttle boasted three particle turrets that could lay waste to everything within the hangar bay in a short time. Probably even the defensive systems he had fantasized about using. This whole situation was a loss. He had lost his squad, the artifact, and, now, his prisoner.

What had Inagrin said about the Cetus 3 incident? A misunderstanding? Terrans involved themselves in an affair they had no control over. The Eater Sacrifice, a holy ritual where a lottery chose members of the lower castes to be sacrificed to the higher castes. It was a competition, a hunt, to prove that the strong held power over the weak. If there was any doubt in the sect’s leadership the weaker caste would not suffer at the hands of the stronger as the gods decree. The Terrans involved themselves and upset the order’s power structure. It will take decades for the turmoil to subside.

“They had not been invited to participate!” Mendin growled aloud.

Firehoon stopped and turned slowly, giving time for Mendin to realize his outburst and lower his head in repentance.

“Is there something you wish to add to the coming exchange?”

“No, Captain.”

“Do not speak further until this affair is finished.”

Mendin only nodded.

Mendin moved forward to keep pace with the Captain. His eyes locked on to one Terran soldier. He focused his ire and hate toward this nameless, mammalian rat. The soldier locked eyes with him. A mistake.

Captain Firehoon stopped 3 meters from the Terran shuttle. He stood erect, imposing and clasped a fist to his chest in a salute of honor.

Mending winced inside: of honor. Reluctantly, he followed suit pounded his chest with his fist while staring at the one soldier he had picked out. The Curtaini troops behind followed with the salute.

A uniformed Terran walked through the mass of armed soldiers, placing an open hand on the right side of his temple. He was shorter than half of the men he commanded. How soft was his flesh to be a leader? Mendin thought. How many soft humans commanded the strong to die? This is why the Terrans needed an alliance, they were weeding out the strong among them.

“You will release our man to us,” he said.

The captain nodded respectfully. He presented an open hand to Mendin, never taking his eyes of the Terran officer. Mendin, still holding a Terran’s attention, passed the chain to Firehoon. A smile pursed Mendin’s lips. He picked up a murmur among the Terran troops around him. It was working. He had frightened doubt into their minds.

Just fire one shot, Mending thought. Let me mistake a move for a threat. Any move.

“Silence, soldiers!” the Terran officer shouted.

The troops went silent. To Mendin, it was like a slave controlling his masters. Inconceivable.

Captain Firehoon passed the prisoner to the Terran leader. Three soldiers released the prisoner from his bounds and escorted him through the throng of soldiers and into the shuttle.

The Terran leader locked his hands behind his back and said, “The Terran Alliance is grateful for your cooperation. May we begin to have friendlier relations after this show of good faith.”

Mending was livid, though he did not show it. The Terran was patronizing the captain on his own ship.

“Unlikely,” Firehoon replied, “you have guns aimed at my ship and my people. There is no good faith here.”

In unison, the Terran leader and Firehoon turned from one another and walked through their prospective troops.

The Terran troops scampered back into their shuttle and it soon departed.

Mending returned to the control room of the hangar bay, still angered. Terrans were all vermin. He wanted another chance at them. Not a simple skirmish that ended in a tense diplomatic arrangement, but a brutal war that ended in unconditional surrender.

© 2017 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

Scamper

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The Myth of Permanence

My philosophical side attempts to welcome change, knowing that nothing is permanent, especially within of a mere human or even the lifespan of human civilization. I was wandering at Big Bend National Park when I took this photo. Right on the trail is the fossil of spiral shell that once housed an ammonite. An ammonite is a mollusk, closely related to a squid or octopus. The entire line of ammonites (though many families and species) existed from the Devonian period up until the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs in the Upper Cretaceous. This group of mollusks existed for over 300 million years. It’s incredible to think of an order of organism surviving that long. That’s many order of magnitudes longer than Homo sapiens have existed, let alone human civilization. Come to think of it, we are the last of our line. There are no more hominids like us in the world. Yet, we seem to have this notion that we understand eternity, that we can contemplate forever. I do not believe we can, nor do I think we were ever supposed to. Everything in this universe changes, everything is transient. Even the fundamental elements that make up the universe are created in massive supernovas and altered within our nuclear reactors.

Just take a moment and let it sink in that this fossil was of a creature that lived in the open ocean. I stumbled upon it while hiking a desert trail on the border between Mexico and Texas along the Rio Grande Valley. At some point in the last hundreds of millions of years this creature died, was fossilized on the seafloor, and then the seafloor uplifted for the fossil to be left near a river bed in a desert.

Play your verse and play it true, but you are only a snapshot in the grand interplay of the universe. Perhaps, if you are as lucky as this mollusk, you can leave behind a good-looking fossil.

Transient

And to cheat a little this also works for this weeks challenge. 🙂

Delta

© 2017 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

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