Another Planet in the Same Old Universe

edited June 2017 in Short Fiction

Planet in the Same Old Universe


Earth day 14 of the Mars mission. We wake in the middle of the
Martian night. It doesn't matter. When we started this we knew
everything would be relative and everything would be switched around
and changed. We were not people, none of us were, who loved our lives
on Earth so much that we couldn't just dump it. None of us had
cherished routines or even special food likes. None of us were
comforted that easily, that's how we were selected. The discomfort
test is one of the most valid psychological tests ever formulated.
Bless the Harvard professors who wrote it.

the same time, the big shots were a little disappointed with the
mission because things were not different or variable enough.
was hardly a challenge that tested any of us. There was
solid sand at our well-covered and masked feet. We never flew when we
jumped, even though we could jump pretty far. In the distance there
were things we still called mountains and hills. The same old sun
rose in the martian morning, even though it was so pale and small it
made most of us laugh, an emasculated sun god. Ha ha!

we going home? I think so. That's what they told us. Soon. I could
live with the fear. I like fear. It has a pleasant jiggle on my
heart. Anyway what could happen? We could just continue our journey
and travel to a lot stranger places.

rise. We check everything to verify that nothing really happened. We
nutrify; we expel; like the our microscopic
fellow citizens we so carefully pasteurized out of our lives,
ignoring what the gods of bugs wanted us to
do--currying their disfavor. We believed our god was bigger than
theirs and our god would defend us. But we ended up defending our god

is cold on Mars. We conserve heat and generate it slowly.

does this section of existence feel like home? We have never been
here, yet we feel familiar--as if it were another room in a great
house. It's subject to familiar rules--the rules we have followed
since we popped--were carried and expelled into this territory around
Old Sol.

the 18th day of the Mars Mission, our cynical crew learned
that the Archetype was coming. We were told that the being looked
very strange, but was very mild, and that, somehow we all knew him,
we had seen this being before. This being was the core of the

great orb of the Archetype rose in the west of the martian sky, just
as the sun was making its thin, frail appearance in the east. In
spite of the vacuum of space we could hear the song, as if it were
sung by a million voices. It had at least a million eyes,
surprisingly human-like with round pupils, Blinking in waves around
the face. Kindness suffused the moist surfaces of the eyes, the
sadness of eyes that could comprehend the limits. And somehow, we all
remembered that face. We had all seen it in the past, while we were
travelling from the space before.

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