February 20th, 2013
Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer
“Donovan, anchor the antenna atop that formation, mother says it’s the only place high enough.”
The mountain jutted up at an odd angle. But it was only more of the non-descript surface of this desolate, lifeless rock. His captain looked at him sternly and he knew there would be no arguing. He grabbed the antenna and slipped it into his belt.
As he trudged away, his spacesuit protecting him from the almost non-existent atmosphere, the hill loomed threateningly. He picked a reasonably flattish path to start his ascent, but the trail quickly became near vertical. He clambered further, using his hands, finding it difficult to get his gloved fingers into many of the cracks.
At one point he found a small plateau and turned around to see the team in the distance. They were tiny white specs. His earpiece crackled. “Everything okay up there? You gotta keep moving son. Mother is reporting meteor activity nearby and we want to blast off ay-sap!”
“On it sir.” He turned and began moving to the left, sweating bullets. Soon enough though he rounded a bend and saw that he had picked the wrong route. Part of the ledge on which he was standing had broken away, leaving nothing but sheer vertical rock. On the other side of the gap the ledge continued. He thought he could probably make the jump without incident yet the consequences of a misjudgment were unthinkable.
His earpiece crackled again. “Can’t see you Donovan. Are you almost there? Mother says we’ve gotta move. Apparently we’re about to get hammered by a major shower. This piss-poor atmosphere won’t help us. You hear me? You moving your ass son?”
Donovan knew he had no other choice, so he took a deep breath and he leapt. And the distance was farther than he had thought, and for a split second, as he hung there in empty space, he knew he had failed, and he closed his eyes tight.
But he thumped down onto solid rock. Surprised he opened his eyes and was shocked to see that the gap in the ledge had somehow repaired itself. Again his captain screamed in his ear. He snapped to and scrambled forward confused.
A few minutes later he crested the summit and there he quickly anchored the antenna. Then as he turned to make his way back he saw a far off glowing streak followed by an explosion. Meteors began to pelt the planet’s surface in the distance. Donovan started to run, a bad idea when descending a steep mountain in a bulky spacesuit.
As the shower thickened and drew closer he ran faster, and then he tripped and spilled headlong out over nothingness, and this time he saw the mountain move. A sudden protrusion of rock jutted out, catching him gently, and then began lowering him toward the stony plain below. He stared wide-eyed, thinking the mountain was collapsing, but then quickly realized to his utter surprise that the whole mass was actually lurching forward!
In another moment he was deposited gently alongside his wild-eyed crewmates. And then as another meteor exploded just meters away, the liquid mountain reared up, and before anyone could question a thing, they found themselves and their landing craft under the protection of a vast stony ceiling. There were muffled explosions above, yet they remained completely unscathed.
And then as quickly as it had started the onslaught stopped, and the rocky ceiling lifted away with a whoosh, revealing the clear dark sky once more. And they all sat stupefied as the living mountain slowly lumbered back toward the horizon.
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