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   The pancake-shaped spacecraft careened to a stop, up against an uneven hump in the middle of a stretch of featureless fall tundra of a foreign planet. Blag finally let his long-held breath out in a sigh of utter relief. It had been a timeless, harrowing descent to the planet with no sure outcome at the end. It was fortunate for Blag that this particular planet had been sensed by the few instruments left functional when the warning lights were the only illumination left in the cockpit after the explosion. Blag had read the most welcome presence of a Nitrogen/Oxygen mix atmosphere, of water and some vegetation on the spectrometer, just before it also perished, adding its warnings to the cacophony of buzzes, alarms and whistles; a tragic Greek chorus signifying the imminent demise of the ship.

Blag put his head back and gave a Prayer of Thanksgiving which, if there had been human ears within in the sound of it would register it as a single low monotone note, “Muuuuu.” Blag unbuckled his harnesses and pushed open the airlock, sucking in his first breath of alien air. It seemed to be adequate for his purposes. He stepped out and stood upright on the grassy plain.

As far as the eye could see, were hillocks of dumpy grass. In the distance, in the direction that Blag had descended, were the twin peaks of a lonely mountain, remembered as issues of deep concern, whether he had had enough altitude when he saw them from the other side. The thought triumphed in Blag’s brain, “I guess I did.”.

“Muuuuu”, he said again, thankfully and out loud.

Blag cast his eyes around the space craft, so out of place sitting on alien soil and so remote from its usual hangout between the stars. It was unusable in its present state but Blag was confident in his ability to affect a repair, given enough time in the midst of this desolation. There was plenty of food, if the greenery was edible but Blag knew that he must gain shelter for what he believed to be a cold night, coming.

           Blag threw his attentions around at the immediate location of his downed vehicle. Nothing close by volunteered for the making of a shelter; no trees, no change of topography, no protection from any elements that may happen on this unknown place. Nothing but featureless grasslands as far as his eye could see. “It looks like I’ll be sleeping in my jetter until I am finished the repairs”. Blag thought to himself.

He cautiously sampled the greenery around him. It WAS edible! And actually tasty. Again, the trumpet of thanksgiving sounded from his mouth. Blag took a short break from worry to stuff a number of mouthfuls of the grass into his maw. A full stomach was a welcome feeling, for sure! The drowsiness that came from it soon began to invade his head. Blag stood very still and, in the manner of his kind, took his nap, standing there under heat from the foreign yellow sun.

           A short time later, Blag jerked his head up. While the nap was very needed to settle his agitation from the crash and quite restorative to his equilibrium, Blag had no idea of what predators could be lurking around. “I had better pay better attention to protection when I sleep”, Blag chastened himself in his thoughts. “Next time I will go inside.”

Retrieving the binoculars from his cabin, Blag began a survey much farther afield, out past his natural sight. Still cautious but optimistic, Blag could not see any other animals, friend or foe, as far as the binoculars took him.

WAIT!! Out in the horizon, far towards what passes for North, Blag spotted a small structural bump on the prairie, obviously not naturally formed and immediately a serious argument sprung up in Blag’s mind. “Are these friendly’s or would I find them violently opposed to me being here.” There was no reconciliation to be had in the debate as there was not enough information to know. It was with some discomfort that Blag considered the possibilities that stemmed from the disturbing discovery of that single piece of evidence of other sentient life on this rock, in the middle of Space.

The sight of the structure in the distance sent Blag back into his vessel. It may not have been any safer from the visions in his head but Blag did feel a little more comfort from the familiarity. He started to busy himself by gathering the materials together out of which he would repair the more important instruments and drives of his vehicle. He piled them in the centre of the small hold of the ship. It had never been Blag’s intention to be far away from the Greater Herd Ship and he soon saw that, with what he had on hand, some of the instruments would have to wait until he limped back. It was clear also that there was a need for more wiring to make the jetter in shape to do even that.

Blag knew what he needed and where to get it. He came to the only momentous choice he actually had. It was going to be a beg, borrow, or steal the stuff of his repair and there was only one place that had even a remote chance of having anything close. Blag set his face resolutely to the unknown and started slowly moving in the direction of the building.

With ninja-like stealth Blag approached the building. Looking around, he noticed on one side there was a part of the wall that was different to the rest of it. It seemed to be a transparent panel for looking through the wall and Blag stole up to it and looked in furtively.

Inside was a table with several chairs, all populated by bi-peds, similar but just not the same, sitting and talking about what they saw out the transparent panel. They were all writers, given a task by their power-that-be to record their impressions of the view out that portal. With pen in hand, they had stared at the vista for the better part of an afternoon, looking for inspiration with little to show for it.

The surprising imposition of what they thought was a common sight in cattle country, sent their ready pens to paper to describe this new development, happy that the formerly featureless view had been broken up by the visage of Blag, mistaken for an inquisitive cow because of the happenstance similarities of countenance. They had been directed away from the commonplace, almost blank, landscape …for a distance of which they had no idea. They were poised to discover how far in the next moment.  

A white cow standing on top of a lush green field

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May 28, 2020 21:45

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1 comment

A.J Blink
12:59 Jun 09, 2020

You write very beautiful and I like the narrative streak most especially. Your grammar is also spread out beautiful. I was really enamored by the story. We get the idea of the world you placed Blag in all the way. Smart writing. And well done Ian. Love love!


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