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Fantasy Fiction Science Fiction

“UFO ‘which crashed millions of years ago’ found in Greenland, conspiracy theorists claim.”


 ~ ‘Daily Express’ (British Tabloid), 21 September, 2020


***


20/6/2025 - 1200 HRS (WGST): MID SHIFT REPORT. DAILY INSPECTION OF ALL INSTRUMENTATION COMPLETE. NO ANOMALIES OR EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTIONS DETECTED...


Hemming Sorenson stopped typing for a moment and reached for his thermos of rich, black coffee. He was about half a year into his twenty-six month assignment at the base, and in spite of the enjoyable nature of his stay at Station Nord, he could not shake the tediousness of government work. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Day in and day out. In the summertime, scientists and researchers outnumbered military personnel ten-to-one. Sometimes Hemming wished he could be part of the majority instead, but he knew that without him and the other five soldiers, the base could not function. He brought the thermos to his lips and took a slow, deliberate sip.

It had been a little over ten weeks since the sun came up, and it hadn’t yet gone back down. In this strange Arctic season, coffee was a necessity, and there was no use cutting its efficacy with cream and sugar. A few years in the military had allowed him to acclimate to the taste of pure black coffee; a far cry from the coffee shop foamy lattes he enjoyed throughout the latter part of his school days. Also, in spite of the fact that it was summer, the daily high temperature rarely rose above freezing, so every extra degree was welcome. He took one more sip, then set his thermos gently down next to the keyboard and finished typing.


...GROUND RADAR SHOWING NO UNAUTHORIZED AEROSPACE ACTIVITY. WEATHER REPORT - CLEAR SKIES, TEMPERATURE 4°C, WIND WNW @ 1.5 M/S, HUMIDITY 81%. HHS


Hemming closed the screen of his laptop and rose from the desk. He stretched and yawned. The momentary relaxation was punctuated with a brisk triple-knock on the door. Hemming gasped, then chuckled a little to himself. Opening the door, he saw the Station leader, Axel Nielsen grinning widely, accompanied by one of the two Station dogs. “I didn’t startle you, did I?” Axel asked.

“You heard that, huh?” Hemming laughed. “Only a bit. That third mug of coffee must have got right on top of me.” He motioned for Axel to enter the building. Once they were inside, he continued. “My noon report is complete, and I’m thinking of taking a stroll to burn off some of this caffeine. What are you up to?”

“Just checking in on everyone. You’re more than welcome to walk around with me, it’s a great day for it - the weather’s damn near perfect. Feels like we’re pushing five degrees.”

“That’s right, I’m reading four,” Hemming agreed, “but the clear skies and still winds aren’t hurting anything. Can I offer you some coffee?” He began to move towards the coffeemaker.

“Please,” Axel answered humbly. “And thank you.” Axel pulled his thermos off the carabiner on his utility belt and handed it to Hemming, who was preparing a fresh pot. “You looking forward to the annual pig roast tomorrow?”

“I can’t wait! One thing I really miss about the mainland is the presence of real food.” Hemming had heard stories about the Station’s pig roast. This being his first summer there, he was excited to take part in the feasting and gaming between the soldiers and the researchers. It was to be a time of camaraderie - good for morale, and even better for their stomachs, which were usually only kept full with ready-to-eat packets of dried meats, stale breads, and ‘just add water’ vegetable pastes.

Axel let out a strong, but friendly laugh. “Yeah, I have to admit - at last year’s pig roast, when I took that first bite of real pulled pork, a single tear rolled down my cheek. I’m pretty sure I heard a choir of angels singing too - though that might have been Björk on the radio.”

Now it was Hemming’s turn to laugh. Axel’s sense of humor was probably one of the reasons he ended up as station leader, Hemming thought to himself. A good leader has to inspire their crew to do their best, and in a place where it’s easy to become bored by routine, humor is a great way to take you out of that feeling. “Looks like the coffee’s almost done!” He opened up Axel’s thermos and filed it to the top.

“Thanks Hemming!” Axel said as he took the thermos from his fellow soldier. Hemming nodded, and then removed the lid from his own thermos and started pouring more coffee into it. “Wait a minute, didn’t you say that last mug got right on top of you?”

Hemming shrugged as he topped off his coffee. “I’ve got another six hours to burn it off.” He finished the pour, put the lid on his thermos, shut off the coffee pot, and squared up to Axel. “I’m ready when you are!”


***


Olivia and Ida Kristensen kneeled on the ice. A couple kilometers into the bay, they were digging into the still-frozen waters as they did every day until there was no longer enough ice to safely support them and their equipment. The Kristensens were guests of Station Nord conducting research into ice thickness levels and how those relate to certain aspects of climate change. On this very day, they also happened to be celebrating their five-year wedding anniversary. Their stay at the base was to be much shorter than that of the soldiers; only about four months. Both of them were ecstatic to learn their request to work at the Station had been approved, and they couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate their anniversary than doing the work that brought them together in the first place. Olivia carefully lowered the measuring equipment into the hole they had drilled, and read the numbers on the readout as Ida wrote down the information it conveyed.

“8-1-point-5-8-9 north, 1-6-point-1-4-1 west. Ice depth, 3-point-5-4 meters.”

“8-1-point-5-8-9, 1-6-point-1-4-1, reading 3-point-5-4?” Ida asked to confirm.

“Check, all clear.” Olivia rose to her feet and put her hands on her hips. “Help me bring up the stick.”

Ida smiled at her wife, “You’ve got it!” She rose to her feet as well and stood across from Olivia. Together, they pulled the device up out of the water, collapsing it as it came up. “That makes fifteen readings for the morning. Think it’s time for lunch? I’ll fire up the camp stove.”

Olivia smiled warmly. “I think it’s past time, honestly. I’m starving!” After they packed the equipment into the go-box, Olivia pulled their rations out. “Here you go sweetie,” she said, handing over a tear-open pouch of dehydrated beef stew. Ida had put a small pot on the stove and was already melting several small chunks of ice that had come up during the drilling.

“Thanks babe!” Ida took the pouch, ripped off the top, and put the trash in the big Ziploc bag in their go-box. As the water came to a boil, she very carefully lifted the pot and poured some of the steaming water into the pouch. Olivia did the same.

“Are you excited for the party tomorrow?” Olivia asked as she waited for her dehydrated rations to come back to life.

“I can’t wait!” Ida beamed. “Sounds like they just brought the pig in last night on the supply plane. I heard they’re going to start roasting it this afternoon, and all through the night.”

Olivia melted. “Real food, right!” she said, as she stirred up her subjectively unreal meat, carrot, and potato slurry. “And, I hear there are games and songs too - almost like a real party.”

“Almost,” Ida giggled, “but not quite?”

“Oh I’m sure it’ll be a blast.” She scooped a heaping spoonful of the stew out of the ration pouch and put it to her lips, blowing softly to cool off the bite. “And a good break for everyone. It’ll be nice to have everything shut down for the weekend.”

“Like a world set on pause.” Ida scooped up some of the stew and the two of them ate their first bite together. “Mmm,” Ida hummed, as she tasted the gently-seasoned grub. Olivia nodded to her and smiled, then Ida spoke again after she finished her bite. “I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend being uneventful, in the biggest way.”


***


20/6/2025 - 1800 HRS (WGST): END OF SHIFT REPORT. NO EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTIONS DETECTED. SEISMOGRAPH RECORDED EVENT @ 1627 WITH A MAGNITUDE OF 3.4 ORIGINATING ABOUT 100 KM W OF ICELAND (ABOUT 1700 KM S OF STATION NORD). GROUND RADAR DETECTED UNKNOWN MILITARY FORMATION OF THREE JETS ENTERING S GREENLAND AIRSPACE FROM SE @ 1734, PERFORMING MANEUVERS, EXITING S GREENLAND AIRSPACE TO SE @ 1743. DANISH DEFENSE COMMAND NOTIFIED, ADVISED NO THREAT, JETS FROM RAF LAKENHEATH, UK. WEATHER REPORT - CLEAR SKIES, TEMPERATURE 5°C, WIND W @ 1.2 M/S, HUMIDITY 82%. HHS


Hemming closed up his laptop for the last time today, and sighed. In spite of the base closing down for the weekend, he would still be required to pop in for his 0600, 1200, and 1800 day shift reports. The night shift command center operator, Solvej Hansen, would be here any moment. Hemming was determined not to let her knock on the door shake him up the way Axel’s knock had done earlier. He decided to wait outside for her. At the moment he was about to turn the doorknob, Solvej rapped on the door with her familiar double-double knock (it reminded Hemming of the Christian hymn “This Is, The Day”). Hemming gasped again. ‘Dammit,’ he smiled to himself, and opened the door.

When Hemming first saw her, a wave of concern swept through his mind. Her eyes were dark, and what looked like the unwiped trails of dried-up tears led down her cheekbones. She gave him a decidedly fake smile. “Solvej! Are you okay?”

She nodded, “I’m fine. How did your day go?” She seemed not to want to discuss whatever had happened, and continued. “I caught wind on the way here that we had a couple events this afternoon?”

Hemming continued, reluctantly avoiding asking her about the tears. “Yes, seismograph showed we had an earthquake off the southeast side of the country around 4:30, and then about an hour later, we had a scramble of jets in that area from England - likely U.S. owned - but outside of that, it’s been a fairly routine day.” Hemming watched her face as he spoke, and the smile she was trying to force had been fading ever since he began speaking. There was a moment of silence between the two of them, and then Solvej opened up a little.

“Hemming, I’m really okay, I just woke from the strangest, most real dream I might have ever had.” She waited a moment, not sure if she should keep talking, but having already come this far, she decided to press on. “I had a dream...that there was an earthquake.” Hemming’s eyes widened. “I was standing near the coast, looking east off the south side of the country. There was a loud rumbling, and then something happened.”

Hemming was fully engaged. “What kind of ‘something’ are we talking about?”

“Well, I don’t really know how to say this - okay, so, out in the water, there were a couple little icebergs floating. And one of these icebergs, at the moment the earthquake began, started glowing. Like, really, really brightly; and I could actually feel heat coming from it. And then the iceberg started melting - but very quickly - and something was inside the iceberg.” Hemming’s muscles tensed up on behalf of Solvej’s trepidation. “And then, I saw it.”

“Go on,” Hemming encouraged her.

“Okay.” She took a deep breath. “It was a craft. Triangular. It rose up out of the water and pivoted to face me directly. And then...”

“Go on.”

“...and then, I had this overwhelming sense of...being lost. Not lost, homesick. Homesick for a far away place, something so deep I’ve never experienced it before.” At this time, Solvej began to tear up again. “I could tell the feeling was coming directly from the craft. Hem, it was the strangest thing, but I can’t help but wonder - with the earthquake this afternoon - with the scrambling of fighter jets...”

He knew where she was going with this, and her sincere emotion was starting to convince him of the same. “You think maybe, it wasn’t just a dream, is that it?” Solvej nodded somewhat embarrassingly.

“It’s dumb, I know. Or maybe crazy? These nights without darkness must be getting to me.” She sniffled back her tears, and recomposed herself, this time wiping her cheeks. “I’m okay, it was just so weird.”

Hemming took a moment to digest all of this. Part of him was concerned that maybe his fellow soldier had lost a marble or two.

Part of him was concerned that she hadn’t.

“Don’t worry about it for now. Defense command said everything was on the up and up, and whether they were covering their own asses or not, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything we can do either way. Take it easy tonight, okay?”

“Thanks, Hem.” Solvej smiled a much purer smile than the artificial one she had given him upon their meeting this evening. “You’re a good man, and a good friend.”

Hemming’s lips bent into a half smile, but his eyes still showed traces of concern for his workmate. “You’re a good woman. Again, take it easy tonight. I’m sure you can rest your eyes a little between reports; maybe that’ll help.” Solvej took a deep breath, and let out a measured exhale.

“Sounds good. Get some sleep tonight yourself, and I’ll see you at the roast tomorrow.”

“You got it.” Hemming reached out his hand and shook that of Solvej, then left the command center for his bunk.


***


21/6/2025 - 0000 HRS (WGST): MID SHIFT REPORT. NIGHTLY INSPECTION OF ALL INSTRUMENTATION COMPLETE. NO ANOMALIES OR EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTIONS DETECTED. WEATHER REPORT - CLEAR SKIES, TEMPERATURE -1°C, WIND W @ 0.5 M/S, HUMIDITY 80%. SUMMER SOLSTICE WILL OCCUR IN 41 MINUTES. SJH


Solvej read back her brief report. She had taken a short nap earlier in her shift, as per Hemming’s request, and it did seem to help her mood a bit. However, in the post-nap fuzz, she wanted to be absolutely certain the report came out right. The part about the solstice wasn’t necessary. In fact, as she reread the report, she wasn’t entirely sure she remembered typing that part. No matter. She must have been sleep-typing or something. Nodding to herself, she closed the laptop and rested her hands on top.

Coffee was the next item on her agenda, so she got up from her seat and went over to the machine. The night shifters were usually up from around 1600 to 0800, and especially in the stark silence of the Arctic evenings, the hours just after midnight seemed to last forever. Coffee helped with that. Stark silence - that was the norm. Suddenly, she realized that phrase did not describe the atmosphere right now. There seemed to be a hum in the air, for one thing; for another, she could hear the sound of people talking, many people talking. She went to open the door. What she saw when she looked outside froze her solid.

There, hanging above the base like a chandelier, was a stunning, triangular craft, beautifully adorned with iridescent neon-like tubes which shone brightly even in the midnight sun. They covered the exterior in a lattice-type style. Most of the station’s inhabitants had already been awoken by the strange vibration that permeated the atmosphere. Among the first who had been roused from their slumber were Olivia and Ida, who clutched each other fearfully. From the soldiers’ barracks came Hemming and Axel, awestruck, but as stoic as soldiers could be. All of the residents maintained a marked distance from the craft as its lights flowed smoothly in between all the colors visible to human eyes. Then suddenly, Solvej broke rank.

She started to move towards the craft slowly, but purposefully. Hemming was the first to notice this, and her conversation with him from the previous evening flashed brightly in his memory. To his eyes she appeared to be floating, but he knew that wasn’t possible. Was it? Then he saw that though she continued on towards the craft, her arms were no longer swinging in rhythm with her stride. Rather, they were lifting outwards from her torso.

“Oh my god.” She was floating, Hemming realized. He looked around to see if anyone else was seeing what he was seeing, but everyone else’s eyes were transfixed on the heavenly apparition. He tried to shout to her to no avail. His vocal cords simply wouldn’t allow him to make a noise. As he attempted to take a step forward to stop her, he realized that his other muscles had been similarly paralyzed. Suddenly, Hemming was overcome with emotion which seemed to be emanating from both the craft and from Solvej. Was it homesickness? Longing? Rejoicing? There were no words for this. He began sobbing quiet tears of pain and joy as he realized that Solvej’s ascension into the skies signified more than just the loss of a friend, but the return of a consciousness that had persisted throughout eons to a place beyond the comprehension of its current vessel.

Solvej looked more at peace than he had ever seen her as she entered the underside of the craft, the floor seeming to melt together after her entrance. And then the craft was gone. The lights were gone. The noise was gone. Solvej was gone.


***


“Danish Defense Command says mysterious ‘UFO’ spotted in Arctic Circle just a meteor of abnormal speed.”


 ~ ‘New York Times’ (American Newspaper), 22 June, 2025




March 20, 2022 21:46

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12 comments

Eva Bernal
10:43 Apr 03, 2022

I liked the angle of homesickness. I feel like you work less on the coffee angle and maybe talk a little bit between the two characters so you get a bit more attached to her.

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Jonathan Sadler
18:36 Apr 03, 2022

That's an excellent observation. I didn't realize how much coffee talk was in there until I just reread it - probably fine for a longer book where I'm trying to fill pages, but takes up space in a short story that could be used to further/deepen the plot. Thank you! Very helpful criticism!

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Bob Faszczewski
13:40 Mar 31, 2022

Although the main point the story is trying to make is a little tough to follow in places, I love the way the suspense builds up to the surprise ending.

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Jonathan Sadler
19:07 Mar 31, 2022

Thank you for the feedback! If I may, I'd like to ask - what point did you think I was going for? Or if the answer is "there was no point," do you have any tips or suggestions? I'm new at this, and willing to accept any and all criticism! Thanks again, good human!

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Michał Przywara
22:01 Mar 27, 2022

This was a good read. It's a slow burn, and I think you establish that feeling that there's so much more to life than what we see on a day-to-day basis. I also like the newspaper headlines you couch the story with. Thanks for sharing!

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Jonathan Sadler
17:25 Mar 28, 2022

My pleasure, thanks for your kind words! I especially like throwing some factual information (there *is* a Station Nord, for example) into my creative writing. The first headline is a real tabloid headline - the second? Purely conjecture ;-)

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L.M. Lydon
17:31 Mar 27, 2022

Fun story. You know they've jinxed themselves when they start talking about how "uneventful" everything is. You have several amusing moments before things start getting serious. My favorite line was: “Yeah, I have to admit - at last year’s pig roast, when I took that first bite of real pulled pork, a single tear rolled down my cheek. I’m pretty sure I heard a choir of angels singing too - though that might have been Björk on the radio.”

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Jonathan Sadler
18:24 Mar 27, 2022

I feel like Björk is underrepresented in the science fiction genre. Just doing my part. :-D

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Brendan Sanders
03:05 Mar 27, 2022

Awesome read! 😊

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Jonathan Sadler
04:25 Mar 27, 2022

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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Kendall Defoe
00:49 Mar 27, 2022

Wow. I really liked this one. Have you read a lot of sci-fi? This puts certain authors to shame... Good work, sir!

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Jonathan Sadler
04:26 Mar 27, 2022

I grew up on sci-fi of multiple decades - my parents had books from the 1950s to the 1990s. I draw a lot of influence from a wide variety of sources, but I'm happy you were pleased with the read. Have a great week!

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