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Earth, Meteor, Moon, Shuttles, Space,
Jupiter, Europa, Earthquakes, Orion, Cassiopeia, Sci-Fi

Read a few pages. - Enjoy!








“Tess! Wake up! Wake up! It’s just a dream!”

Tess’s eyes popped open at the sound of her name, but those eyes weren’t the soft brown eyes she was complimented on as a young girl or swooned over as a young woman. They were dark haunted stones filled with fear, sadness, and something else: unforgiving remorse.

“I…uh…hey…okay. I’m o…kay. Oh God…sorry about that. I didn’t mean to scare you,” Tess said, the words sounding strange and distant to her ears.
“No problem, Tessy,” said Reynald. “You have another nightmare?”

Tess thought about the fading dream and was amazed that it was already losing its sharp edges and hard reality. She knew from before that all but the worst part of the dream would be gone before she was even fully awake. But not the emptiness. The guilt. That would stay. What always stayed in her conscious, awake mind was the sound of her husband Stan and their son Lenny, screaming hysterically as their bodies were shredded into hot strips of bloody skin and bones and hair.

She debated whether to tell him the truth this time. That she was having the same recurring nightmare. She used to think that her internal debate of whether or not to share with him was mostly because of her, because of her past. But the fog in her mind had been clearing lately, and she finally realized that the source of her struggle was because of him and an intuitive sense that she couldn’t trust him. Usually, when she had this dream or one similar, she just lied to him and said she didn’t remember. Today, she was curious, “Yeah, same one. I don’t know why I keep having it,” she lied.

Reynald looked at her with a mixture of tired patience and maybe a little bit of annoyance. “I know it takes time to get over things,” he said patronizingly, “and it’s not easy to lose someone you love, but you’ve got to get over this or you’ll never be able to move forward with…your life.”

With me was how he wanted to finish the sentence, and Tess knew it. She also knew that Reynald was not an empathetic man and was extremely selfish. Why was she with him? He wasn’t half the man Stan was and never would be. The answer to that question was right in front of her. It was in her life now, in her work, in every goddamn thing she had to do these days. Rey was there because he was one way of coping with the shit that she and everyone else here had to deal with. He used her for sex. She used him for coping. It was a win-win solution, or at least she hoped it was. It was one way of being able to move forward one step at a time, one day at a time.

But today, she saw through his fake concern as easily as she could have seen through the innocently wagging tail of a dog, waiting to be petted and praised, while a steaming pile of shit sat simmering in the corner. “Rey,” she said with a hint of bitterness on her tongue, and then she stopped. Did she really feel up to arguing with him today? Their arguments always ended the same way; he would tell her how much she clung to the past and she would tell him to go to hell. No, she decided. I’m done with him, and I’m done with his bullshit. “Forget it. I’m late for work.”

Rey watched her as she slid off the bed (a bit unsteadily he noticed). He eyed the brown skin of her buttocks greedily as she threw on her jumper. He was tempted to ask her if she had time for a quickie, but he could sense that she wouldn’t be interested even if she had time.

He remained in bed with his arms crooked under his neck. Ages ago it seemed, when their relationship was just starting out, he thought that he might be able to control her. But more and more, he began to realize that Soren was right; he couldn’t control her, and if she began to get suspicious, she would fight them every step of the way.

Grabbing her boots and suit, she palmed open the door and stepped out, “Lock up when you leave,” she announced. She didn’t look back.


Tess’s gloved hand gripped the wheel of the Rover as her mind replayed bits and pieces of her nightmare. Despite how horrific it was, she was finding it hard to remember it. Only general impressions and feelings remained; the things that would stay with her forever. Tangled within these thoughts and memories like poisonous vines in a field of crabgrass was Reynald and her general distrust (and dislike) of him. He was very secretive these days and seemed to always be running errands for Soren. She’d seen him hand-carrying reports from the astronomy lab, showing an active interest in the maintenance bay, even joining in on the weekly food count. He was really the man about town these days, and he did all of it in the name of Soren. “Soren needs me to check on this” or “Soren needs to know the status of that”. And speaking of Soren, where was he? The more Reynald seemed to be everywhere, the more Soren seemed to be missing in action. She thought about this and then laughed bitterly. Maybe Reynald is planning a coup?

She powered the Rover over a small dune. The floorboard vibrated as the underside scraped over some hidden rocks in the dune. She took the Rover this morning, because she didn’t feel like walking to the observation area even though it would have only been a 15 minute walk, which she usually enjoyed. And she purposely took the long route, speeding along the rutted road; it gave her a chance to clear her head and think, even while she put the Rover through its paces. Although she was familiar with the route and knew where the tricky turns were, she still forced herself to take it slow on the bumps, lest she have what they jokingly called an out of body experience.

Her mind turned to Rey again. His attitude toward her was getting uglier and uglier. If she had real feelings for him, she would have been worried he was about to break up with her, but she almost welcomed that. He was becoming increasingly more difficult to talk to and when he did talk, he avoided answering questions about his activities. At first, Tess simply thought that it was just one of his weird nuances, like answering a question with a question. But one day it dawned on her that he never, ever gave a direct answer to anything related to his meetings with Soren or why he was so interested in maintenance these days. When asked, he would spend a great deal of time talking in big, loopy circles. By the time he’d finished, you were either lost in the minutia, or you wanted him to shut up. One time Tess let him drone on about nothing, and when he finished, she said, “So what? That still doesn’t tell me what you’ve been doing.”

The flash of anger that had crossed his face was brief, but it was there. He probably didn’t even realize it had happened, but it did. Tess could clearly see that this was the real Rey; the face under the mask. The face that skirted the edges of insanity. The mean, hateful look was only there for a fraction of a second and then it was gone, replaced by the smiling and affable Rey. He squeezed her on the arm and then said he had to take care of some reports for Soren and was out the door. After that incident, she made it a point to never ask him about what he was doing. That had happened only a few days ago, and it was then that she told herself she was done with him.

His lack of sympathy this morning bothered her more than she wanted to admit. And the more she thought about it, the more she realized that her feelings of distrust was not just a symptom of this morning, but was how she felt all the time. They had been together for six months, and she was now starting to realize (maybe now finally accepting the fact) that she didn’t really trust him.

She knew of course, that her current situation had initially blinded her to this realization. She couldn’t blame herself though, not really. Everyone here went through some sort of an adjustment. You had to. The alternatives were either suicide or insanity, of which they already had a few of both. Some did quite well here. Others seemed to draw up inside themselves like turtles retreating from the outside world.

As she drew close to the huge silver radar bolted to the observation deck platform, she slowed down and prepared to pull the Rover into the Vehicle Recharging Station. She untethered the Rover’s cable and plugged it into the power outlet. Through her gloved hands, she could feel the slight vibration of the electrical current flowing into the Rover.

She turned her microphone on and heard the familiar beeps in her earpiece telling her that her microphone was now “live”. “This is Tess at Observation Point Two. Checking in…over.” There was a slight pause, and then a voice responded in her ear.

“Well hey Tess, you’re out there early today, huh? I was wondering if you were going to check in or if you were just taking the Rover out for a spin.”

At the sound of Henry’s voice, Tess couldn’t help but smile, despite how depressing the day started. Henry was not a very outgoing person. He was studious and always serious and prone to using extremely dry humor. Occasionally, he would make a statement during their meetings, and they wouldn’t even know he was joking until he burst out laughing at his own joke. This little eccentricity made others feel uncomfortable towards him, but not Tess. She was a serious person too, and she knew enough about Henry to know that he was extremely reliable. She liked that about him and was always able to confide in him.

“If I had known it was you on duty Henry, I would have dressed for the occasion,” Tess replied. 

There was silence on the other line and then Henry guffawed. Tess raised her eyebrows and shook her head.

“So what brings you out here so early Tess,” he asked. “Your shift doesn’t start for another two hours, give or take.”

“I couldn’t sleep,” she admitted. “Old nightmares are still plaguing me I guess. So, I thought I’d come out early and get some extra readings from this observation point. I don’t come to this one much.”

“Roger,” Henry replied. “Actually, I’m glad you’re up. Yesterday, I picked up some odd, very faint signals that I’d like to talk to you about.”

“Sure Henry, no problem. Maybe we can talk later this evening, after tonight’s meeting. I’ll meet you at your station directly after the meeting.”

“Sounds good to me. Just ring me up when you’re ready,” Henry responded. There were a series of beeps and chimes and Henry spoke up again, this time a little more seriously. “I need to go Tess. It looks like one of the servers is acting up again. Call me if you need anything, I’ll be right here.”

“Thanks Henry.” Oddities? She thought. What kind of oddities? Over the past two or three years, damn near everything you saw, heard, felt, and sensed out here were oddities. Well, she figured she’d find out soon enough when they met up this evening. She unpacked her equipment and connected them to the observation port outlets. After booting up the Navi-Computer, she typed in her location coordinates quickly, despite her bulky, gloved fingers. She watched the program on the screen run through its process of establishing its physical location. The boot-up process finally ended. Next to the cursor a green line blinked in the darkness, waiting for her to type her query.  With a heavy heart, she typed in “E-A-R-T-H” and reluctantly aimed the receiver upwards towards the smashed remains that was the planet Earth.


Her breath always got caught in her throat whenever she gazed up at the place that used to be home to humankind. What remained of the earth couldn’t really be called a planet in the real sense of the word. It was more like a planetary asteroid field in Tess’s opinion. When Lycos smashed into Earth in the fall of 2051, the resulting impact left a gaping crater in the earth the size of Siberia. Over the past two years, Tess had observed that the massive earthquakes, tidal floods, and increased volcanic activity had transformed the earth into a deformed and broken sphere that looked barely connected.

North and South America appeared to be intact, but Tess could see that there was significant flooding. The European landmasses were reduced to a group of islands in an ill-formed archipelago and further southeast was nothing but a gaping hole where Tess could see huge jets of bright orange lava being hurled miles high from the crater.

Her weekly readings were never the same. It seemed to her that the entire planet was winding down. The earth itself seemed to be getting physically longer as if connected only by a memory of a gravitational field. Even the planetary rotation of the earth was erratic. The normal 24-hour rotation had increased from 24 hours to 30 hours and then from 30 to 40 hours. Over the past several weeks, it had crept up to 48 hours. Tess had a feeling that eventually, the entire mass would stop rotating altogether; permanent daylight for one part of the world and permanent nighttime for the other parts.

Held together by the weak gravitational pull of the planet was a grotesque asteroid field that circled the planet. She hated seeing that field. It was wrong and made her feel ill and somewhat disconnected from reality. She would always turn away quickly, breathing hard while trying to get her heart to slow down.
As she looked through the high powered telescope on this day, she could see that the North American continent still resembled what she remembered of the United States and Canada. But as she tracked east, it looked as if the entire east coast had been swallowed up by water. The rest of the planet had been so jumbled up, that sometimes she wasn’t sure what landmass she was looking at.

She pushed away from the telescope and closed her eyes, certain that she was about to pass out. She came very close to calling Henry to let him know that she might need some help, but slowly she brought herself under control. Her mind was still going in a million different directions, and she was sweating profusely inside her suit, but she wasn’t going to pass out—at least not this time.

Oh Stan, she thought. Stan...Stan...