FRIDAY 29th JANUARY 2021
This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.
Which can be found by following the link below..
Prompt ~ELEMENTAL ORBITS
by John Yeo
The castle looked fantastic. We had arrived in orbit around a mysterious gold planet.
A massive fortress loomed up as we arrived and our spacecraft began to orbit around the planet.
‘Wow!’ exclaimed Palmer, the officer in control of the outer cameras. ‘What’s that? It seems to be shining like gold in the path of the light reflected from the twin Suns orbiting the planet.’
‘OK, Captain,’ shouted Palmer, ‘Remote surface readings, indicate an atmosphere that is identical to Earth’s. There is a solid surface, one mile away from the castle. The area around the castle however is reading as unstable, almost like a quicksand in the desert. I can only describe this as a dust moat. There is no indication of life anywhere at this time. The castle itself is certainly built of gold, it’s registering as element 79, on our geological instruments.’
‘I’m not sure but I think that is actually gold; or it could be a brand new material unknown to our science. We better get down there and take a look. Prepare to land. Take your places everyone in the landing party.’ said the Captain.
The Captain responded with the words, ‘Stand-by team! We are going down. Follow my instructions to the letter, we must be on our guard against all eventualities.’
The desert Suns were competing with each other to scorch the surface of the planet, as the landing craft set down as close to the castle as possible. Gold was the element that drew the travellers to this scorching, parched, planet. A solid gold castle that promised astounding riches. A strong whirlwind began to swirl the surface dust of the planet, covering everything and everyone. Visibility became poor, then impossible, the team quickly erected pods to shield them from the swirling, whirling, maelstrom of dust.
Some time later when the storm had abated, the team emerged from their shelters to an astounding discovery. The castle had completely disappeared, the Captain immediately ordered the mission to be aborted with a rapid return to the ship. As the spacecraft took off and entered into a searching elemental orbit around the planet using the geological instruments, the officer on the watch gasped as the gold castle was clearly visible on the planet once again.
‘Captain! Look a bridge has appeared across the dry moat, do you think this is a sign of welcome!’ exclaimed officer Mcquirter.
The Captain was dismissive and ordered the spacecraft to continue into space.
‘We will record this as alien science; an astonishing planet, I am not prepared to risk our lives by landing again. We narrowly escaped a strange fate, a dusty quicksand moat can suck the unwary into a painful death. Onward team!’
© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.