Uninhabitable

The following post contains an original short story about a small alien invasion.  Feel free to comment, criticize, or suggest. 

      Three men stand, naked, on the rocky shore of a mountain lake. Each man stares in a different direction, gazes flitting here and there. Mountain peaks enclose the small lake, reflections of the snow-capped peaks so clear that it is hard to tell where the mountain end and the lake begins. The sky is blue and cloudless and the erratic warbling of loons fills the silence. The underbrush joins the birds with a chorus of insect chirps. A wall of evergreens encircles the clearing like pillars of a great hall. The men seem to be surveying the land around them. Admiring it, maybe. Their bodies and stances give them away. They are stark naked despite the cool mountain air and their shoulders are back, bodies completely exposed without care or shame. They stand awkwardly, skeletons arranged as if they were wearing them for the first time. They moved around the clearing like physical therapy patients, stilted and halting. Although the wind blew cold and they were miles away from the nearest town, there was no fire or camp in sight. Each man changes the direction of his gaze methodically, no man’s gaze crosses that of another. All at once, without a word or sign of communication, the three of them turn and walk towards an outcrop of boulders. They disappear suddenly and are gone.

Moon Phase I – Star Rise 1


We have landed and established a base camp. The Syndicate’s instructions stressed the importance of establishing a base in isolation of the planet’s inhabitants. They are an aggressive race with a dislike for difference, even among themselves. I have spent most of my adult life studying this planet, and still I am in awe of its beauty. We have chosen to land in a northern quadrant. We are surrounded by white-capped mountains on all sides as if we rest in the mouth of some great beast. There is a water source nearby and we were amazed by the clearness of the water. We were prepared for a planet plagued with pollution but so far we have not seen much evidence of this. The air is hotter than I was expecting. I must review my climate logs.
We are spending this first moon phase acclimating to the environment and getting used to our disguises, and learning the language. This planet is the last of the known humanoid races that has not yet implemented a universal language. The climate is not what I was expecting from my studies. It may take us longer to acclimate than expected but I remain optimistic.

         The three men are seated around a small metal table in the middle of a large windowless room. Their bodies are limp, as if they are asleep. Thick wires protrude from the back of their heads into the chairs. Behind the comatose men, three figures stand around a small pillar protruding from the metal floor. The first figure is simian. It is of short stature, covered from head to toe in fine silver peach fuzz. His long arms gesticulate frantically at the figure across from him. He speaks in harsh, angry syllables. His body is animalistic but his eyes are clear and intelligent. The figure across from him tall and silent. Hairless and sleek. He is more humanoid in stature than his simian friend. The skin is the same colour as the angry simian’s hair, silver and metallic blending in with the wall behind him. The face could have been a human face, painted silver, except for the eyes. The eyes are large and grey, blank spots in an expressive face. They betray nothing. The figure stands calm in the face of the simian’s anger. The final figure is also humanoid in stature although she stands as short as the simian. Her skin is dark blue, like the night sky, with an hourglass torso and short powerful legs. Long hair, as dark as her skin hangs down over one shoulder in an intricate braid. She remains quiet awhile, but soon joins the simian in its protests towards the tall, sleek one.

Moon Phase I – Star Rise 15


Rhea-Thip-Xan, codename Cleo, and Thyrallegian, codename Ajax, are infuriated. They wish to abandon the mission immediately, claiming they were led under false assumptions of the climate of the planet and the difficulty of adjusting to the disguises. Cleo is unable to leave the ship without her man suit as her natural skin will absorb too much of the star’s energy. Ajax complains one moment of being too hot and the next too cold. I am not sorry for them. They were briefed with plenty of information and paid a large sum of money to accompany me here. I will not tolerate any more complaints, we have barely skimmed the surface of our objectives here.
There was a hailstorm last night and much of our outer communication equipment was damaged. We were unable to move it inside the ship on time. One minute the sky was blue, the next we were pelted by hail the size of small rocks. I remain optimistic. I will have to be more prepared in the future. The equipment and accessories can be repaired and my companions will soon grow used to their suits. Once we are experts at functioning in our suits and masters of the environment we can begin the journey towards inhabited lands and make contact.

        A massive brown bear stands in the clearing. It stands on its hind legs, batting its powerful forearms against some invisible barrier. The force of the bear’s forearms creates resounding metal bangs. The lake and mountain line flicker more erratically with each bang until there is a piercing metallic screech. The bear tears a sheet of metal from the hull of a large ship that now sits in the clearing. The bear tears packet after packet from the compartment, gorging itself. After ten minutes of eating it begins to roar and wobble on its hind legs. It drops to all fours and tries to run. It doesn’t make it out of the clearing.


Moon Phase III – Star Rise 3


A bear caught a scent of our food storage through a ventilation shaft and managed to tear down one of the ships compartment doors. It was already damaged by the hail but the strength of this creature is astounding. It died of course, and we are unable to move the corpse because much of our electronics are still down. The smell of rot assaults us each time we leave the ship. My companions are not happy. They have already tried to start up the ship while I slept but the damage has grounded us here until we can repair it. We have almost depleted our supply of food. The bear took much of it. We have attempted to eat some of the local foliage but there is no telling how our digestion systems will react.

        A fire blazes in the middle of the clearing and acrid smoke fills the air. Two men stand near the fire holding their noses. They are clothed in thick white jump suits with hats and gloves. They stand more naturally now than they did before, at ease with their bodies and dressed for the weather. The third man sits on a boulder near the edge of the clearing. He is doubled over, grasping his midsection. The seat of his jumpsuit is stained a dark colour and vomit stains the chest.

Moon Phase IV – Star Rise ???

It is cold. The kind of cold that chills through the body and seeps into one’s very being. We are trying to stay inside but we must leave to hunt and fish. The meat has proven to be easier on our digestion than the plants. The animals are scarce and the lake is frozen. If only I could have foreseen this. Communications still down, there is some feedback here and there but it boils down to a bad connection.

       Another fire blazes. Only one man stands before it. A filthy white jumpsuit is barely visible under a cloak of animal skins. He is alone.

Moon Phase V – Star Rise ???

Rhea-Thip-Xan and Thyrallegian are dead. I don’t know how long I have. I spend so much time ensuring that I will live, hunting, insulating the ship that I do not have enough time to spend on repairing the communication satellite. Some days I think it would be easier to give up. I am trapped in a frozen wasteland. At first, the animals were easy to catch, they approached the ship out of curiosity. But now the last of the curious creatures has abandoned me, they learn quickly. If I could just make it until the change of the seasons I might have a chance to get home.

        A lone figure stumbles out of the ship. The tall silver captain without his disguise. All caution and secrecy lost. He stands out blatantly against the landscape. Even the ship, battered and dull, has been claimed by nature, just another rock in the background. He trembles violently. The wind drives snow and sleet through the clearing. He stoops over to fill a steel bucket with snow but drops it several times. Poorly prepared animal skins and scraps of clothing hang from his body in disarray. He manages to fill the bucket with snow and hobbles back into the ship with his prize.

Moon Phase ??? – Star Rise ???

I do not have much time, and I do not care. This mission- my life’s work- is failing before it begins. I need more time.

       The captain sits before an electrical panel. The outer panel is cracked and discarded. He fiddles with this wire, then that wire. He works intently but erratically, frantic. Chairs are scattered. A mattress covered with filthy blankets lies near his feet. He looks up to a light bulb above the panel. It is dark. The ship is dark. He works until exhaustion and falls onto the mattress. He writes something in a stained notebook and then is still.

Moon Phase ??? – Star Rise ???

Uninhabitable.

     The lightbulb above the panel blinks red. Once. Twice. It glows steadily, casting a blood red lens over the motionless figure on the dirty mattress.   

Thank you for reading!

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