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A Night On Bios

By , Mason, OH
A Night on Bios
By DaBunny

It was sunset. The sky was ablaze with brilliant oranges, pinks, and rich, deep purples. On the horizon, the dual moons of Bios cut silver through the fiery light. The planet’s symphony of night sounds filled the air, accompanied by the rustling leaves of the jungle. This was a young world, all but untouched by the destructive force known as the human race.

The humans had destroyed their own native Earth in their endless, maniacal quest to satisfy any hunger that had ever occurred to them. Their oceans, black and toxic, hadn’t seen a single fish in centuries. Their atmosphere, grey and ashen, was riddled with holes. Their forests… well, there weren’t any forests. There had been once, but they had long since been mowed down in favor of monstrous cities, sprawling industrial areas, and burning mines. The ground, buried beneath generations of discarded trash, was radioactive and charred. Ah, but not here. Here, lush jungles dominated the landscape, dwarfed only by vast blue oceans, teeming with life.
As Eric Lord sat on a rocky ledge above one of the planet’s many rivers, he ran this over in his mind. Just as well that the first human mission to Bios had been a catastrophic failure. Of the 13-man crew, he was the only one still living. The flight had gone smoothly enough; the trans-spectrum light speed generator had worked perfectly, reducing a journey of thirty-thousand years to about five minutes, but the landing was not so comfortable. This was, he suspected, why he and the others in particular had been chosen to come. The passengers aboard the ship, including Eric, had all committed crimes and been sentenced to death. On Earth, the scarce resources meant that only government personnel would be allowed clean water from the last remaining source, a spring in Alaska. Eric, in a time of need, had once tried to steal some off of a sleeping police officer. When the officer woke, startled, Eric had hurt him. Charged with assault and theiving, Eric was condemned to execution. He had been excused on the condition that he be one of the explorers on the Bios mission, along with thirteen others. If the mission failed and the crew were killed, no great loss. It wasn’t like they were people or something. Upon entering the atmosphere, the ship split in two. The cabin, containing 10 of the members, had come free of the cockpit and storage unit and detonated in midair, along with the engine. The cockpit containing Eric and another man, whose name Eric had never bothered to learn, came down in the jungle where the impact of striking trees had torn Eric’s partner out of his seat, sending him plummeting into the jungle floor below. At this point, however, Eric kicked out the glass window, stood on his own seat and leapt out of the cockpit, just before it smashed into the ground. He was suspended in midair for a moment, then was slammed into the river. The water, cold and clear, swept over him like a blanket, enveloping him in its cool, refreshing folds. He floated downstream awhile in a half-sleep state, then pulled himself ashore by a rocky ledge where he dizzied and passed out.
When Eric woke, was momentarily disoriented, but the evening soon came flooding back. He looked to the horizon and immediately noticed three thin lines of smoke rising in the distance. One of them would be the storage unit containing food, water, and tools. It would also contain the crew’s limited personal belongings, including his book. The book had been his dream, and this planet would make a good setting . It was foolish to think such things at a time like this, but Eric could not help himself. If he was lucky, perhaps even a means of communicating with Earth had survived the crash. Judging by the sun, a different sun than the one that shone upon the Earth, he realized with a strange sense of amusement that he had about three hours before nightfall. The closest smoke spire, likely to be whatever was left of the cockpit, would probably be as far as he could go today. He clambered up onto the rocky ledge and began to mentally record a map of all he could see. The cockpit, in what Eric arbitrarily decided was North, was probably about three miles away. The other smoke pillars, one of which would be the storage unit, looked to be about that distance apart from each other. The Armed with only his “map,” and his will, Eric set off into the wilds of Bios.
Eric had been walking for about two hours, following the river, when he finally began to find scraps of burnt, twisted metal lodged in the ground. After about another half hour, he found the remainder cockpit. It was truly a sight to behold. All of that unstoppable, amazing human technology spread out in pieces that were, by themselves, no more high-tech than a 20th century toaster. The various joysticks and control panels were smashed and strewn across the ground. The trees, which were similar in shape to forty-foot tall palm trees that had once inhabited the Earth’s tropical regions, seemed to sway in the wind in an almost dance-like way, lay fallen across the ground, snapped like twigs beneath the spacecraft’s massive weight.
The air grew cold, and the black, freezing fingers of night time began to stretch their way into the jungle. The sun was no longer visible – it was just a hazy purple line on the horizon, and the two silver moons, interlocking crescents, were now high in the sky. Eric walked to a place by the edge of the area that the falling ship had cleared, and pulled a few of the long, smooth leaves over an arc formed by the fallen trunks. He lay beneath it on the spongy, warm soil, where he drifted into a dreamless slumber.
The alien sun of Bios woke Eric. It also woke a strange creature that had appeared near the largest portion of the wreckage overnight. He sat up rubbing his eyes and looked around. It didn’t take long for him to notice the creature which resembled a monkey, but a monkey with large red-orange eyes, and sleek, raven fur. It stared at him curiously for a few moments, then stood up. It was roughly two feet tall but possessed wicked, curved black claws. Eric recoiled, expecting to be gutted and eaten on the spot, but the creature just sneezed and sat back down, never taking its eyes off him. Despite its claws and startling eyes, this creature had a strange innocence about it. The eyes were a fiery red but showed no sign of malice. The claws, on second glance, looked more like tools than weapons. The creature suddenly jumped to its feet and bolted up one of the trees. A moment later, bulbous yellow fruits dropped down. Eric picked one up and bit into it. Sweet, tangy juice - not unlike that of a mango - flooded out. The creature came down moments later, its arms full of fruit. It dropped them in a pile in front of Eric. Perhaps he would survive. Perhaps what seemed like a nightmare the previous day was really a dream come true. He ate another fruit, and the creature did the same. The pile disappeared in minutes, and was quickly replaced by another. Soon, Eric was full to the point of bursting. He lay down on his back and rested his head on his hands, which were now covered in sticky juice. The creature looked at him quizzically. Eric laughed.
“What?” he asked. “Don’t you ever sleep?” Eric was vaguely aware how silly he must have looked, talking to this alien-monkey creature, but the sun felt so good and the ground was so comfortable, he just didn’t care. He lied there for what must have been hours, until clouds began to gather in the sky, and a light rain fell. The creature fled into the forest. He stood up and stretched, and looked to the treeline. The smoke spires were barely visible against the grey sky, but he could still make them out. Eric stretched again, flexed his arms and started off. The rain began to pick up speed, and one of the large droplets landed on Eric’s hand. He recoiled in pain, as the rain was boiling hot. Practically diving beneath a nearby shrub, he huddled and waited beneath his shelter.

By the time the blistering rain had ceased to fall, it was quite late in the day again. So Eric began to run toward the spire. Even at full speed, it took him nearly an hour and a half to reach the site. He burst into the clearing panting, and dropped to his knees. Before him, in a fairly large crater, lay the smoking metal cylinders that would contain the supplies . He crawled over to them and placed his hand on the nearest one. The smashed metal caved in beneath his hand. Inside, nothing was to be found except debris and dead embers. He opened the other one, his eyes frantically searching for his book. Nothing. Just as he was about to leave, he noticed a brown leather corner poking out of the ash. He grabbed it and pulled the object out. It was the leather cover of his book, the subject of which he had just thought up. It would be about his adventures on this new world. Eric checked the spine for the pen he always kept. It was still there. He would survive, this was now. Not only that, he would prosper. If the humans ever sent another mission to Bios, they would find him there, “prospering,” adding the finishing touches to his book. In fact, he had just thought of the title for the first story. Uncapping the pen, he paused for a moment before writing: A Night On Bios.

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