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C. A. (Starrybeard) Wilke @WriterWilke
, 22 tweets, 18 min read Read on Twitter
Ruins: 0/20
It's time for a new 20TweetTales! This one is a #Scifi story about explorers on a distant planet, inspired by Flora Silve's piece, Astro Ruins.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 1/20
Captain Raj Arjun pressed the comm button on his suit. "Uh, Reit? I need you over here."
"What is it, sir? More rocks?"
Arjun took a step closer and noticed the faint static filling the background in the audio.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 2/20
"I'm not sure I can accurately explain what I'm seeing."
Lt. Karen Reit huffed into the comm. "Well, Cap, you could try. Seriously, why couldn't we just get a couple drones to do this?"
"Because those weren't the company's orders."
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 3/20
Arjun stepped closer. The static grew louder and his air tasted of ozone and iron. When he stepped back, the static and taste faded "Okay. So, we're a dozen lightyears from Earth, so how am I seeing Greek architecture?"
"On my way."
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 4/20
Lt. Reit chuckled. "I've heard of survey crews finding supposed ruins before. When they bring in the experts, turns out to be just lava bubbles or some shit. Sometimes they look like ancient Earth architecture." She huffed with effort.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 5/20
"Similar is one thing, this is..." He shook his head. He opened his mouth to speak but was cut off.
"Did someone find ruins? Like genuine ancient alien stuff?" Gregor, the ship's pilot, cut in, his voice bursting with excitement.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 6/20
Arjun activated his helmet cam. "Does this look like a few lava domes? This is... something else."
A collective gasp from the half-dozen surveyors planetside filled Arjun's ears. Someone gave a cursed whisper, but he couldn't tell who.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 7/20
The comm beeped, indicating a private channel. Arjun switched over. The name display on his arm terminal only showed a jumbled mess of letters. "Hello?"
The electronic voice sent shivers down his spine. "I wish you hadn't done that."
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 8/20
"Who is this?"
The voice sighed. "Someday, people will know of your sacrifice."
Arjun looked around the barren wasteland, his gaze landing back in the direction of the drop ship. "Sacrifice? What sacrifice?" The comms went silent.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 9/20
He glanced back at the bizarre structure. "What the hell is going on?"
Dread washed over him like a tidal wave and he sprinted for the ship. 0.9 Earth gravity was fine, unless you were trying to run with a hundred-pound vacsuit.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 10/20
Arjun's lungs burned as he ran. He thought back, trying to pick out who the mysterious speaker was, but it was no good. Maybe Carl, sonofabitch always like to pull a prank, but he wasn't savy enough to encrypt a comm channel like that.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 11/20
Finally, he crested the top of a small peak and grabbed his right thigh to massage out the charlie horse forming there. Ahead, he saw the angular spider-like dropship with it's eight engine-legs.
"Sasha? No, too by-the-book."
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 12/20
Hands on knees, he gasped for breath. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces of what was happening jumbled around inside his head, refusing to fit together. When he reached the bottom of the hill, he walked the last few meters to the airlock.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 13/20
"Can't be Gregor, too paranoid and talkative."
He jammed his finger against the comm button. "Anyone there? Can anyone hear me?"
"Sonofabitch. What the hell is going on?" He slapped the airlock panel. "What did I find?"
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 14/20
When the hatch opened, Arjun jumped in and activated the air cycler. The pressurizer hit 100% and decon cycle started.
Then stopped.
An alert klaxon rang out as the inner door seal hissed. "Wait, don't! The air!"
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 15/20
The heavy, steel door hissed and rolled to the side. An empty hallway greeted him. He froze when the end of a plasma rifle came into view from the left.
Gregor's voice filtered through Arjun's helmet. "Plenty of O2, it's fine."
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 16/20
"We've been looking for this for more than a hundred years, Cap."
Arjun shook his head. "Who's we?"
Gregor stepped into view. "Doesn't matter. I'd thank you but, uh..." He held up the rifle. "...might seem a little disingenuous."
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 17/20
Arjun glared. "Help me out here, Gregor. We can figure this out."
The other man coughed and barked a laugh. "Ain't nothing to..." He coughed again. "...figure out."
The pilot's face turned pink then crimson and he lowered the rifle.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 18/20
Gregor coughed again and doubled over, hacking.
Arjun shook his head. "Let me help. You're breathing the planet's air. You need to get to medbay."
Behind Arjun, the outter hatch thunked as Gregor collapsed.
"Too late," came a voice.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 19/20
White-hot fire lanced through his stomach. Then the pain was gone. All of the pain was gone. Arjun lifted his hand to see the bright-red smear of his own blood on his suit glove. He turned to see Lt. Reit in the airlock entry.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 20/20
She unbuckled her helmet and let out a deep sigh. "Dammit sir. I really did like serving with you."
Arjun's knees buckled and the ship's deck rose up to meet him. His legs grew cold, then his arms. Finally, the darkness took him.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Ruins: 21/20 (BONUS)
This story was inspired by the fantastic art of Flora Silve. Don't hesitate to check out more of her work.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction #NerdArt
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