Friday, February 26, 2016

Stepping Into the Craggy Maw

There was something here. We didn't know what it was. We didn't know who or what had made it. But there it was. Something seemingly so natural. Yet something completely unexpected.


Clean, well maintained stairs leading up into the mountains.

This might not be surprising. People build stairs all the time where they live.

But this was Madison. This was the fifth exclusively American settled. Only Eurynome, Franklin, Adams and Jefferson were settled before. We'd only been here for six months. And we were the first settlers. And it was 261 light years from Earth.

This had been our first day not merely working our tails off getting our colony set up. It was a new world. It was not entirely friendly. It was colder than Earth and wetter. It had a slower rotation than Earth, 30 hours for a day. It was in a multi stellar system with three stars.

Madison orbited the K dwarf, an orange star, cooler than the Sun. That star was named Abigail. The other two stars were small, faint red dwarfs, m dwarfs far away. One was at 300 AU, but looped in 'close' to 30 AU. The second stated far, far out at 600 AU.

And we were the first here other than the survey teams. We were the first wave of colonists. And were stairs.

Tobias and I marveled. It was an astounding discovery. If we'd been smart. If we'd been wise. We'd have gone back to Monteplier. We'd have reported it and told the adults.

But we were teenagers.

And teenagers were not noted for their discretion.

We climbed. We went higher and higher. Fortunately, we'd dressed for the cold. Madison is a cold world. Beautiful, but cold. We climbed for what seemed like forever. And then, and then...there was a cave. Encrusted in ice and craggy. Like some portal to another world.

Oh the amusing irony of that.

We peered in. It was pitch black. Yet the path seemed to continue.

Should we continue? Should we turn back?

We retreated a bit and conferred.

"If we're going to go all Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, then we ought to do it properly," Tobias smirked.

He reached down and picked up a branch from the native 'trees.' They broke off easily and they burned really well. The oils inside them. He made sure to rub the shaft with dirt like we'd learned. Then he whittled a little away at the top. He took out his torch, a LED laser lamp that could start fires if needed or act as a flashlight. He lit the top of the branch. The oils would be pulled to the top through capillary action: even in death, Madisonian life was...strange.

"Now, we look the part."

We marched up to the craggy, icy maw and grinned at each other with that grin that teens getting into trouble and not caring only could.

We walked in and the darkness wrapped us, embraced us and drew us in.

For what we knew not, but it drew us in.

But we were not afraid.

This artwork is what prompted the above writing.  It needs a couple rewrites, but I have thoughts on how to use this for elsewhere.

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