The Message in the Moon

Author : Beck Dacus

My team and I came to the exomoon Talursa expecting to find extraordinary things. Every new world was an exciting adventure for science– life, evolving completely isolated from the rest of the galaxy, making completely new life forms. It was expected to change exobiology forever, but no more than any other world had.

Instead it changed everything.

We came to this moon and found an abundance of plants, ones that photosynthesize and some that eat other plants. The ecosystem was so intricate and balanced, that we worried our mere presence may cause an extinction. But as we looked further, none of us were worried. Our impact was minimal.

For the first two weeks, it was your standard exobio mission. We all walked around and examined the plants up close. One thing we noticed was the ubiquity of asexuality; none of the organisms on the planet copulated to make offspring. Reproduction was restricted to cloning moonwide. And any organisms that randomly mutated were swiftly wiped out by the members of their own species.

This alone was spooky. We all wondered why such a tyrannical system would evolve among a whole biosphere. All our questions were answered at the beginning of the third week, when Tamara brought in the results of her genome sequencing.

“I found a message,” she said.

“Hmm?” Rick grunted unsuspectingly

“I did the genome sequencing on five of this moon’s species. Each one is a different message.”

“What!?” Perkins demanded. “Whaddaya mean?”

“I scanned the genome of five species, and each one had a unique binary pattern. I–”

“Computer code? There’s computer code in their DNA?” I tried to clarify.

“Yup. I plugged it in, and only got useful data out of two of them.”

“Slow down!” Dana said. “You’re saying something intelligent made all life on Talursa, encoding a different message into each species?”

“Yes. Their way of storing LOTS of information for a long time. Terabytes for eons. I looked over five, like I said, and only two registered in the computer. One was a video, and the other was a recording.”

“Well, what did they say?”

“I don’t know. The video was just a bunch of wavy colors, and the audio was garbled noise. But I saw patterns in them. They had information. We just need to send this to Earth cryptographers to decipher.

“Do we know why the other three didn’t work?”

“Not for sure, but I’m betting it’s because our computers can’t display smells.”


“Or taste, or a tactile interface, or an electromagnetic field. The aliens that found this world could have had any type or combination of senses– they had to try everything. The two I could use probably had wavelengths of light and sound beyond a human’s range of hearing or vision.”

“So… we’re standing on a time capsule?”

“Carrying what?”

“Everything. All the information about, and ever collected by, some advanced race.”

“So, what do we do? Go back to Earth?”

“Right after we sequence the rest of the genomes on this planet, yes.”

“But that will take ages!”

“That is why you will all stop what you’re doing and help me.”


“Starting right now. There is no time to lose.”

“Hey, I’m mission command–”

“This is larger than us! This is humanity. Now everyone, to my lab. Lots of work to be done.”

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows

Let Me Tell You About Falling

Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer


“There was a man called Zelazny who wrote of a monarchy who could travel parallel universes at will, able to switch from reality to reality by the application of simple visualisation techniques and movement.”

“Relevance? I wish it was that easy. You have to exceed a certain speed and maintain it for a certain distance. Given that many realities cannot offer methods of exceeding the equivalent of a galloping horse, my life has been interspersed with episodes of mountain climbing and Icarusian descents from said mountains, or the casual hurling of myself into canyons and other clever ruses to invoke the assistance of gravity to enable my departure from that particular clime. The fact I have always had a fear of heights is something I have to live with, as it turns out that confronting your fear, in my case, does nothing to lessen it at all.”

“Wait a moment, I’m getting there. I nearly died leaving Cassander 450, which is an iteration of Earth so far removed from the now I speak in that I may as well say “blue chased me because I stole it’s whimsy”, for all that the situation that caused my abrupt departure would make any sort of sense to you. Of course, Cassander 450 has some very fast transportation devices. Exceeding the speed for departure and maintaining it was not a problem. Arriving here and caroming through an articulated trailer destroyed the device beyond redemption and you wouldn’t have recognised it as anything bar a fancy piece of glassware anyhow.”

“No, I was unhurt because the residual slipcharge field allowed me to pass through the trailer in a semi-gaseous state, reintegrating me on the other side, when the physics of this world came to fully apply as the passage effects faded. I was not testing ‘some new terrorist attack’ and certainly have no interest in causing mass death and destruction. I’m a traveller. The ultimate tourist, if you will.”

“No, my mention of heights is not due to some post-suicide paradise belief.”

“Guantanamo? You’ll fly me? Then, quite frankly, it’s your only option. If you get me there, you can do your worst.”


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows

White Marble

Author : Phil Gagnon

Our destiny was to spread from our cradle, to go forth and tame the universe. Our motivation for this was simple; pandemic, mutually assured destruction, cometary impact, the thousand ways that humanity could die. Whether by fate, chance, or its own hand being bound to one planetary sphere pushed us to leave our wrecked Earth.

For half a century this was the drive of the preeminent governments. War, catastrophe, opposition parties axing budgets when they came to power, and the multitude of events were but a sideshow. The progress we made was astounding.

Another decade or so is all that was needed. A hundred habitats hung in a delicate necklace around the world, the assembly points for the massive starships whose hulks had begun to arrive from planetside piece by piece. In our drive to escape our crèche, we pushed too far.

We had known for well over a century of our irreversible effect on the climate. Sea levels had stabilized just shy of the worst case predictions. The modeling of category six and seven oceanic storm systems was less a guess and more a hard science.

Nature, in its creativity, knows how to escape the perfect algorithm. Two years ago, a quintuplet of category six storms threatened landfall. Highly unusual to see more than two raging at any time, four was unheard of. Outside of statistical probability, but there they were.

From the habitats, the spearhead of colonization, we watched the storms intensities increase. Reports claimed that they had surpassed category seven, into the newly created classes of eight, then nine, and eventually ten.

In our industrial might, our ravenous consumerism, we pushed past the saturation point for a true greenhouse effect to take hold. One of the last transmissions from the ground indicated sustained winds over 450 knots, 830 kilometers per hour! The death toll had reached into the billions.

A year had passed since the last radio signal had been detected from the surface. The Lunar H-3 Facility had gone dark shortly after. Last night, I watched yet another habitat blaze through the atmosphere below us. We are alone, the sole habitat left perched above our homeworld.

From my perspective as station commander, the talk amongst the crew of deorbiting was too much to bear, so I sabotaged the manual controls. I refuse to let suicide by fire be the ultimate end of our miscarried race.

I float in the microgravity of an observation blister tidally locked with the planet below, sequestered from the enraged crew. I watch the billowy blanket of the global storm. I muse on this station becoming a headstone for the lifeforms of earth, hung high above as a marker and warning for whomever may visit in the flung future.

I long for a view of the coasts, of the world spanning oceans I know lay beneath. With a snick and a pop I depress the emergency vent switch. As I shed a tear, my last thought flashes in the silence of vacuum… A White Marble.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows

Live With It

Author : N. R. Crowningshield

Vanessa let the shower water flow over her hand. The old pipes moaned and shrieked as the shower head spewed into the white pedestal tub. The temperature of the of liquid changed from cool to warm to hot. Steam pillowed out of the tub.

Gingerly, she stepped into the hot shower and pulled the curtain closed. The warm water blanketed her body in a warm sheen. Her auburn hair clung to her neck and shoulders. Inhaling steam she let out a sigh of relief.

“Sunshine Scent,” Vanessa read out loud to herself. She flipped the cap open and picked up a citrus essence with a light touch of honey. Squeezing out the bright pink shampoo into her palm, she brought her hair to a thick lather. Vanessa closed her eyes and submerged her head in the water. Creamy pink bubbles ran down her body and swirled at her feet. Wringing her hair clean of the soap, she brought her head out of the water and wiped her eyes clear. Steven was standing in the tub.

“Steven!” Vanessa shrieked. “We talked about this. We had an agreement!” She covered breasts and womanhood as best she could.

“I’m sorry. I just… I dunno.” Steven looked down at his feet. He wore red sneakers and blue jeans as he always did.

“I need you to respect my privacy if you want this to work.”

“What about when I needed you?” Steven snapped.

Vanessa expression darkened. She stepped out of the tub, and attempting to keep herself covered, she wrapped a seafoam green towel around her torso.

“What’s bothering you?” Vanessa questioned as she reached in the tub and silenced the shower. She grabbed a matching towel and wrapped her hair in a makeshift hat.

“Why were those kids so mean to me?”

“It’s because you’re different.” Vanessa made her way into the adjacent bedroom. She took a seat on her bed and patted the mattress. “Come take a seat.”

“Is it because I’m albino?” Steven appeared, sitting on the bed beside her. He watched his feet as he bounced his heels off the side of the bed frame.

“Unfortunately, yes. Kids have a hard time looking at what matters on the inside. They can’t get past the surface.”

Steven stopped his feet and looked Vanessa in the eyes. “Why didn’t you stop them?”

“Believe me buddy, if I could go back and do it again, I would have.” Vanessa’s eyes filled with tears. A single drop streamed down her cheek. Steven reached a hand up and failed to dry her face. His hand went through her cheek. She felt nothing and wiped the tear for him.

“Alright, I’m heading off to work. Behave yourself. We’ll finish up your physics lesson tonight.” Vanessa sat on the bench in living room. She slid on a pair of black heels over her nylon covered feet.

“Okay. Can we play a game or two of chess after you eat?” Steven blurted in excitement.

“Absolutely.” Vanessa smiled as she watched Steven’s quiet celebration.

The apparition of Steven walked through the living room wall into Vanessa’s bedroom. She knew he would watch her pull out of the driveway as he always did.

She reached for the front door. Before turning the brass door knob, she paused as she always did. There on the white door written in marker read, “Live with it.” Underneath her hand writing a news article was taped in place. In bold print, “TEACHER TO BLAME FOR STEVEN ST. CLAIR SCHOOL SHOOTINGS.”

Vanessa took in a deep breath and stepped through the door.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows


Author : Henry Peter Gribbin

Most of us have been home alone late at night when we heard a strange noise coming from downstairs. Clutching a baseball bat or a golf club we proceeded slowly down the steps, all senses on alert. Finding nothing we felt a sense of relief and headed back upstairs. But how many of us have come face-to-face with an intruder? If this happened to you, then you know what real fear is.

I never knew this feeling of intense fear, that is until one night this past October. It was a cool, clear night. I was sitting in my backyard on my picnic table. I had been working on my car, and I was enjoying the autumn evening with a cigar in one hand and a can of beer in the other. Suddenly the trees were bent as if a gale force wind had blown through. I found myself swept off the picnic table and thrown hard to the ground. I was thrust almost back to my feet as the earth shook violently. This was followed immediately by a very loud thud. Then all was still.

I picked myself off the ground and steadied myself on the table for a moment. A strong odor, like that of sulfur, caught my attention. Smoke was coming from a vacant lot right over a small hill from my house. I hopped a fence and cut across my neighbor’s yard. When I reached the lot I came face-to-face with a rather large object halfway imbedded in the ground. Smoke was coming out of an opening, but at a steadily decreasing rate.

I walked over to the opening. There was a light coming from the object. The light shone upon a body lying halfway inside the object. I thought it was a child’s body, but as I looked closer it looked alien. It had incredibly smooth and shiny skin. There was a clear fluid coming from a gash in its back. It was dead. I had come this far so I proceeded into the object. Because of the crash everything was at an angle and walking was difficult. Every now and then I would come across another body like the one I found at the opening.

From the time I had been thrown off the picnic table up until this point I had felt like I was on an adventure. I felt like an archeologist uncovering an ancient tomb. When I turned a corner that feeling turned to fear. What I came across was a clothed human woman strapped to a table. Overhead of the woman was what looked like a x-ray machine, only this one had a small drill feeding out of it. It was inches from the woman’s rib cage. There were several dead alien bodies in the room. I looked back at the woman on the table. I thought she was dead, but suddenly she opened her eyes. This gave me a jolt, and for one moment I wanted to run. But I undid her straps. She immediately sat up on the table, braced herself for one moment, looked up at me and reached for some kind of an implement that was laying on a stand next to her. She proceeded to hit me in the head with it. I staggered backwards, and as I did so she bolted from the room. For a moment I saw stars. Then I followed her lead. I bolted out of that room and out of the object as fast as I could. I cut through my neighbor’s yard and reached the street. From the first impact of the crash till now a matter of only a few moments had passed. I just kept walking and did not return home for two days. By that time all evidence of the crash was gone. The local news mentioned a small airplane crash.

I used to enjoy science fiction books and movies. Now I avoid them. They only serve as a reminder of that horrible day this past October. I never did find out what became of the woman I found. I hope she made it home, wherever that may be.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows