Writing Contest #17
Posted 04 May 2010 - 04:20 PM
Deadline: Monday, June 14th
No word limit.
Posted 15 May 2010 - 04:14 AM
If you haven't heard it, you are weird, but here it is. Actually, it might even be cooler if you read the story first and then listened to the song. I dunno. Your choice, but everyone's probably heard it before.
Try not to think of all the dialogue spoken by David Bowie. I think it has a much better effect if you read it like you're listening to an old news reel or something.
Title: The Oddity of Space
The space shuttle was perched at an almost 90 degree angle from the dry ground, standing as an obelisk to mark this momentous occasion in history. Within the cockpit, a lone astronaut prepared himself for the turbulent ascent that awaited him when a voice crackled across the radio.
"Ground control to Major Tom, ground control to Major Tom. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on."
Tom swallowed a blue capsule and fastened the white, bulbous helmet over his suit. He checked quickly to ensure that it was fastened properly before signaling that he was prepared. After a few moments, the voice spoke to him again in a calm tone.
"Ground control to Major Tom, commencing countdown."
He heard the muffled countdown being broadcast from the exterior of the shuttle.
"Ten… Nine… Eight… Seven…"
"Engines on," said the radio, and he could feel and hear the rumbling of the readying propulsion systems.
"Six… Five… Four…"
"Three… Two… One…"
"And may God's luck be with you," the voice concluded.
Intense vibrations shook him, and gravity pressed him into his seat with tremendous force. After a short time, it lessened, and lessened, until he was free of its constraints. Tom quickly glanced across the instrument readouts in front of him, and everything was satisfactory. The radio spoke to him again.
"This is ground control to Major Tom," it said with a hint of pride. He could hear applause and whistling in the background. "You've really made the grade. And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear," it added with a laugh. Tom allowed himself a grin, the jubilance of the mission controllers and the enormity of the situation filling him with joy.
Time passed quickly, for Tom was kept busy. After a few days or so of drifting, reading back numbers, statistics, and the status of the instruments to ground control, he floated through the shuttle when the radio voice spoke in his ear again.
"Now it's time to leave the capsule, if you dare." He responded in the affirmative, eager to experience a space walk. Going through the motions that had been drilled into him in the months of training, he put on his suit and checked and rechecked the equipment. Finally, he attached the tether and went through the airlock, emerging into the emptiness of space.
"This is Major Tom to ground control," he said in awe. "I'm stepping through the door… and I'm floating in the most peculiar way."
The white exterior of the shuttle drifted slowly away from him, and he glared at the black depths of space, the myriad stars shining at him in a beautiful, cosmic display that he had never seen from the planet. All was silent save for the sound of his breath.
"And the stars look very different today."
Tranquility overtook him. He felt that he could float here forever, and be at peace.
In Houston, the Mission Control Center monitored Major Tom's status vigilantly. They had calculated and recalculated every equation, and tested and retested every scenario, and they believed they were prepared for any eventuality. But the fate of the mission ultimately did not rest on their shoulders, though by far they were the most important cogs in the machine.
Major Tom had informed them of his return to the shuttle when a red warning light flashed, and then another, and another. Something had gone catastrophically wrong. Major Tom's voice echoed around the room.
"Here am I, sitting in my tin can, far above the world. Planet Earth is blue." There was a grim serenity in this voice, a finality, as if he had learned of the systems failures even before they had, and had accepted his fate.
Mission control radioed him frantically. They tried to explain that if only he followed their instruction, he could still salvage the flight.
"There's nothing I can do," came the response.
These brilliant men were ready for any cataclysm, but they had not prepared for an uncooperative pilot. A feeling of helplessness invaded the room.
"I've passed 100,000 miles," Tom said, his voice crackling with static. "I'm feeling very still, and I think my spaceship knows which way to go."
They pleaded with him to no effect, and white noise had almost entirely drowned out his transmission. They were able to make out one final, hissing sentence:
"Tell my wife I love her very much."
"She knows," assured the radio man.
Silence overtook the room as the transmission died. The man spoke to Tom in vain.
"Ground control to Major Tom. Your circuit's dead; there's something wrong."
There was no response.
"Can you hear me, Major Tom?"
Only static answered him. He repeated himself after ten seconds.
"Can you hear me, Major Tom?"
"Can you hear me, Major Tom?"
He began his despondent repetition once more, but was cut off by a hand on his shoulder. Placing his fingers on either side of the bridge of his nose, pushing his glasses up slightly, he took off his headset. The entire room was silent, their faces downturned in sorrow.
A few kilometers from the white craft was the small figure of the man in a space suit, tether having been detached as he launched himself further into the stillness of the cosmos, a smile on his face as the voice in his ear, the final thing that attached him to the Earth, faded.
Edited by Apocalypse, 15 May 2010 - 09:41 AM.
"Oh, come on... be reasonable. You can't destroy everything; where would you sit?"
Posted 14 June 2010 - 11:19 AM
Long ago, life began. Then, life grew and multiplied. Then, life evolved. And it kept evolving.
Over countless millennia, life spread across the face of the world until it was everywhere. And all the while, it kept evolving. It evolved into a thousand different shapes and forms, and each of those forms evolved further, creating yet more new creatures and beings.
Eventually, one breed of creatures evolved to the point where their physical senses became unnecessary, and they perceived the world with their minds. Hungry for knowledge, their minds spanned the globe, learning everything that could be known about their home. But eventually, they answered every question. They knew all their was to know about their world. They stagnated in their one tiny corner of the universe.
Then, one of them turned its awareness up toward the stars, and everything changed. Here was a place unknown to any of them, unconceived of. They launched their consciousnesses into the depths of space.
Their knowledge increased exponentially as they hurled their awareness through the dark voids and brilliant nebulae, around countless stars and across the faces of innumerable worlds. As they traveled through space, they gained a greater knowledge of the fundamental laws of the universe, and for the first time in eons, they evolved. Soon, they traveled not just the spaces between stars and galaxies, but also the spaces between realities and dimensions.
Their knowledge grew, and kept growing.
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