by Jay O'Toole
When pilot, J.Tool lands on an uncharted planet, the experience is surreal & difficult.
|Captain's Log, Star Date 71420.16:|
The USS Author Scope had just finished an ESL Educational Exploration in the Farr Eastin System. The fourth planet, China-Fei Chang-Hao, had many exquisite gems of educational prowess.
We were returning to Starbase Ones B-4 for some much-needed R&R when a Google Shower hit us from all sides. One rather severe direct hit breeched the warp core. This we jettisoned, riding a galactic wind to the nearest planet, Wryte Dah Cahm.
We attempted an orbit but to no avail. We quickly lost altitude, barely managing a level descent. Minutes later we crashed in a desert. The Author Scope was irreparable, but we were alive.
"I must say, Captain, it IS a fine day for sand surfing!" smirked Lt. Commander Overshot. "Shall we go back and try that, again, Sir? I see an even bigger sand dune dead ahead!"
"O, be quiet! You know that was a real team effort just to stay alive!" I volleyed. "The air has sufficient oxygen-nitrogen content. We may as well look around."
As the captain left his mangled ship, he and his crew heard the low drone of several hundred Prose Probes and Poetry Flyers. These landed in a field, called Portfolio Rows. Close behind them were thousands of Review Raiders, scanning the P&Ps for signs of life and for fatal flaws in their linguistic manifests. Each worthy P&P received three, four or five stars and written approval, fastened to their hulls.
The Review Raiders then moved on to other P&Ps. Captain and crew were left to wonder what had just happened.
"ROAR!" Their wonderings were abruptly interrupted by a lumbering behemoth with the name, "Nano Wrimo," tattooed on its side. "What a painful day that thing must be having!" shouted Overshot. "I canna imagine it would have anythin' to do with the little Rising Stars, that are hanging on for dear life from those little ropes, anchored to its scaly hide by little harpoons. Do ya think?"
"Little you know, my Friend!" I shot back. "Looks like FUN! I might have joined them at the beginning of the ride, if only..."
"If only what, Sirrah?" queried Overshot.
"If only I had learned in time what my tricorder just showed me!"
"That Nano Wrimo means, 'National Novel Write Month.' If I had known that, I might have joined all of those Rising Stars for that exhilarating ride! Now, we'll never know. The behemoth has been tied up like a calf in a rodeo! November is history!"
The captain and Overshot crept close enough to hear some Rising Stars arguing their points.
"I bagged three of those reviews, one prose of my own and stuffed them all into the Completion box! I win!" boasted the first.
"No you don't! Completion boxes are only for the Prose Probes you bag. I stuffed my Reviews into the OJ2 Shine Bright box! I WIN!" countered the second.
"He's right, you know! He does win, actually!" agreed the third.
"That's a rip-off! You mean I do the work, but I don't get the credit, unless I stuff my quarry in the box with the right label?" screamed the first.
"Sorry, old bean! Such is life on Planet Wryte Dah Cahm!" explained the third.
"That's not fair!" declared the first.
"What is this word, 'fair'?" smirked the third. "It's worse than that!
Not only do you have to bag your prey, stuff it in the right box,
find more prey and stuff that into the right box,
but you have to read a tome, become its Review Raider,
survive without being bagged yourself,
jumping through many and sundry hoops,
until finally you step on shore of the new planet, Rising Stars' Dome."
"When I arrive there, how will I know I am this Rising Star," wondered the first.
"You will be greeted by the Angel Gabriella, who will present you with a trophy, a merit badge, 100,000 GPs and a new name," said the third, rather matter-of-factly.
"What sort of name?" asked the first.
"You will be forever known as 'Preferred Author,'" offered the third, "and you be well loved on Planet Wryte Dah Cahm."
"Frankly, I would just be happy to receive a cot and be allowed to sleep for two months," confessed the first.
To this I blurted out, "Could you ask the Angel Gabriella to fix our spaceship, while you're at it! We need to get home!"
There was a stunned shock on Planet Wryte Dah Cahm for no one ever speaks out of turn.
"Now, what are we going to do!" I asked. "It's like I just shook a pinball game and I'm looking at the word, 'TILT!'"
“Why worry, Captain!” said Overshot. “We don’t really want to leave!”
Author's Note: This piece was written as an assignment as part of the Rising Stars Program in which I participated between October 2016 and June 2017. GabriellaR45 was our headmistress for this illustrious course of activities. I gained many new skills as a writer. I gained a greater appreciation for Writing.Com. I received the title of "Preferred Author" at the end of the course. What a blessing! (This note is an update of this entry on July 20th, 2020.). Thanks for reading this bit of creative writing.
Word Count: 800
by Jay O'Toole
on December 11, 2016