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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Comedy · #807570
Writer's Cramp entry for 1/27/04 Winner!
Write a COMEDY or MYSTERY or SCI-FI story about one of the Rovers, and the unexpected images (meaning, something other than rocks, lol) that it sends back to earth. You can write from the point of view of describing the action on Mars, OR you can write from the point of view of the NASA officials’ reaction to the images. Good luck!

"Houston? We have a problem."

“George? What do you suppose that is?”

“I don’t have the slightest idea. It doesn’t look like anything you’d expect to see on Mars, does it?”

Harry readjusted his position in front of the control console. The noise of the technician’s chair moving hid the sound of George reaching into the bag of Doritos that was sitting on the console between them.

“Maybe we should call Pete down in Phototelemetry and see if it would be possible to get a better focus and some more magnification from the camera. What do you think, Harry? Are you going to eat any more of those pickles? If not, I’m going to finish them.”

“ I don’t think Pete could do that for us. I think we’d have to get Jim in Robotics to make those changes. Knock your socks off. I’m getting pretty full. I might have another slice of pizza though. It’s still pretty good after two days. Hey, does that look like a foot? I think that’s a foot I swear that’s a foot, George, A big hairy foot. Let’s see if we can get a hold of Jim. Use your radio.”

“Houston Control to Robotics. Come in Robotics.”

“Houston Control to Robotics”

“He’s not answering, Harry.”

“I can see that, George. Where is he? It’s 10:15. He should be in Robotics. I just know he’s off fooling around someplace he’s not supposed to be. If he doesn’t straighten out he’s going to get us all fired. I swear, if he wasn’t related to the boss he’d have lost his job after they caught him sleeping in the Zero Gravity Lab. Have to admit he did look kind of funny though, floating around the room, snoring like a chainsaw. Try him again. I think the foot moved. It’s really tough to tell with all the red sand blowing around. It looks like a foot though. Size thirteen or fourteen if you ask me ”

“Houston Control to Robotics”

“Robotic’s here.”

Harry grabbed the radio from George and fired back. “Jim! Where in the h,e, double hockey sticks have you been? We’ve got a crisis up here! Can you see the monitor?”

“Yeah, what about it?”

“Can’t you see the foot? On the right side of the monitor, in the lower corner, a big hairy foot, see it?”

“No Harry, I don’t see any foot. All I see is blowing red dust. Which rover is this anyway, Spirit or the other one? I can’t tell.”

“Geez Pete, its Opportunity, the other one. Spirit is still having some glitches. The last picture we saw from Spirit was three nights ago. Remember? It was that rock and then poof, nothing but a blank screen. Makes you wonder what happened doesn’t it? Maybe instead of rocks and water molecules we should be looking for something alive. That’s what I’m thinking.”

“Yeah,” snickered George. “A little green Martian man with a size fourteen hairy foot that’s roaming around the planet drop kicking rovers for sport. Or better yet, maybe the Crackpot Regime is right and the rovers aren’t on Mars after all. Maybe it’s a sound stage on some movie lot somewhere. Heh,heh,heh.”

Harry sighed. “You guys have no imagination. Do you think we got this far in the space program, not having any imagination? I’m telling you that was a foot and there’s more going on up there on Mars than meets the eye. Now Jim, see if you can do something about that picture.”

“Harry, I told you there’s nothing I can do. Maybe you should try Pete down in Phototelemetry.”

“Pete are you there? Do you see a hairy foot on your monitor?”

“Pete here, fellas. The only size fourteen hairy foot I’ve seen lately belonged to Doris. You remember Doris, the professional Roller Derby player.”

“Very funny Pete, you still dating her? Can’t you do anything? Maybe clean a lense or something?”

“Sorry Harry, Nothing to do here either. I’m looking at the monitor. I don’t see your foot. I do see a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon with my name on it after work. But no foot.”

“Idiots! I’m surrounded by idiots! Can’t you guys take anything serious? We may be on the verge of the most amazing scientific discovery since…since…since…”

“The wheel?” offered Jim.

“Yeah, since the wheel. Think of it, life on Mars. We could be famous. Do all the talk shows. Oprah, Dr Phil. Hey! We could end up on Hollywood Squares! George, what are you doing?”

George had gotten up from the console and walked over to the monitor and was studying the lower right hand corner intently. Reaching for the rag in his back pocket he squirted a little Windex on the screen and wiped it clean. Stepping back he looked at Harry.

“Hey, where’d my foot go? What’d you do George? Where’s my foot?”

“Harry it wasn’t a foot. The monitor was dusty, that’s all. I cleaned it. Its 10:30, break’s over, time to get back to work. Tell Jim and Pete when they’re done with the labs they need to vacuum the auditorium. You want to mop the floor or empty the garbage cans? We have to hustle. The technicians will be coming back in at 11:00.

Hey, nobody said what NASA officials.

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