The biting winds brought him to his senses, an unwelcome return to this frozen Hell. He could feel its touch through the woven fabrics of his suit, could taste the methane breeze on his tongue, bitter like the airline-inspired orange juice held in reserve within the suit’s life support modules. His suit was desperately trying to keep him alive, he could hear the servo-motors’ high-pitched whine as they fought Europa’s cold night. Jupiter blazed, filling the universe with its bulk. Bearing down on him from the heavens.
He tried again to stand, desperately fingering his comms unit – the titan above his head still forbade contact with the orbiter. Surely they were searching for him, for signs of life on this icy rock. His lander, smouldering somewhere in the shadowy valley behind him, melting through the methane snowdrift and into the oceans below. He should never have left the crash site; the lander could handle the pressure twenty thousand leagues under the ice with ease.
The monolith stood before him, a stone finger scraping the thin atmosphere, directing his attention to the behemoth in the sky.
He hadn’t sent the robots to the surface. Hadn’t followed the Agency’s directives. Fucking droids, he thought to himself, aware that they would scan his memory log when they found his corpse. It was only fitting that humans reclaim the mantle of the Explorer, of the Discoverer. Once he reached it he would just check out, make the final cut to his support systems.
He was shaken, not stirred by the implications of an alien intelligence infiltrating humanity’s home system. The deep space scanners had picked the incursion as soon as they entered Jovian orbit, had dispatched his ship from Lunar orbit within seconds of identifying its non-Solar origin. They had fled from his approach – leaving behind this pedestal on the ice.
The monolith! Slowly he forced himself upward, climbing toward it. His gloved fingers reached out for its jagged surface.
The router turned on at his touch, the blind processes automated, sending out a greeting across the Internet.
“Greetings, sentient species! I am Sxoao Lsjink, Head of Operations with the Andromeda Central Bank. I had the intent to contact you over this financial transaction/transfer – I believed that you will be capable to handle this fund transfer project. I have the opportunity of transferring a left over funds the sum of $8.500,000.00 Millions US Dollars to an inter-system account, which I was opportune to see the deposit file bearing this huge amount of money here in our bank, when I was inspecting the dated and current customers files in other to sign and submit to the entire bank management for an official validation / re-documentation against the statement approval to the account holders for the year…”
A quick little story for BeKindRewrite’s InMon prompts – I used The Final Cut, Airplane Juice, Check Out and Shaken, not Stirred. I also use this weekend’s Sunday Scribblings prompt Ease. The image belongs to the San Diego Air & Space Museum, and has no copyright restrictions. Check out their photostream HERE…Comments and criticism always welcome…now off to edit some longer stories! Oh, and the SPAM at the end came from my email Junk folder…