Fiction Fragment Friday
This week’s Fiction Fragment Friday is not just fiction. I have been looking into solo roleplaying games and in particular the genre known as journaling rpgs. The idea is that you have mechanics and prompts that create a situation or conditions that you then write a journal in character for. A few weeks ago, I wrote a story called Stranded that used the format of a space explorer’s log. As it happens there is a solo RPG out there called “Alone Among the Stars” that has the gameplay take the form of a Space Explorer’s log. It seemed like it would be a perfect fit for the very first solo RPG that I try. Being a journaling rpg it is essentially writing prompts. That is where this week’s fiction comes from.
For those interested in the Mechanics I rolled a D6 and got a 4. That meant I was going to draw 4 cards from a deck. Each card would be the prompt for a log. The cards were placed in a row in front of me. Before flipping a card, I would once again roll a D6 with this one informing how I found the item. The suit determines the type of item found while the value of the card defines where it was found.
The final prompts generated by this method were:
Come upon it suddenly
Under the light of the Moon
Come upon it suddenly
In the desert
Arduous to get to
In a steep canyon
Come upon it suddenly
Plant or other immobile life
Floating in the air
Space Exploration Vessel EV-023 James Lovell
Mission Log AB Doradus E: Day 1
My first day on the planet was spent running scans and assessing the local environment. By nighttime I was able to determine that the air was breathable and didn’t seem to contain pathogens or virus that could be harmful. I decided that it was worth taking a walk around the landing site and doing some personal cataloging. I found myself distracted by the beauty of the double moons in the sky. They were breathtaking and I have come to realize that no matter how many planets I explore the first night under a new sky will always be a surreal experience.
Perhaps it was my distracted state or the creature’s natural stealth that kept me from noticing movement in the nearby brush. Before I even knew I wasn’t alone I found myself facing down a very large feline like predator. It had some sort of natural camouflage that allowed it to blend into the flora until it leapt into the open. A shot from my blaster shattered a large nearby rock startling the creature long enough for me to return to the ship. I have cataloged the creature as best I could from footage provided by the onboard ship cameras. It was a successful but harrowing first day on planet and I will be making sure I take proper precautions on future days.
Mission Log AB Doradus E: Day 4
I have been using the remote drones to map the regions around my landing site and determine locations where I need to personally investigate. The first few days provided valuable data, but nothing of particular note for my mission logs. This morning broke that pattern. I was flying the drone over a desert when it was knocked from the sky by a large flying lizard like creature. The talons did severe damage to the drone. Thus far this mission is quickly ranking up as one of the most dangerous explorations I have performed.
Following protocol, I could not allow any technology to be left behind on the planet, so I took a hoverbike out to recover the drone. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but I wore a full armored environmental suit and brought both my standard blaster and a high-powered rifle. Thankfully the recovery went smoothly with no complications. I am still in awe of the damage this creature was able to inflict on my drone. These drones are designed to be resilient, but the claws ripped right through the shell and damaged the internal functions.
Mission Log AB Doradus E: Day 6
The drones yesterday identified a steep canyon that makes the Grand Canyon look like a crack. It is easily the largest canyon I have ever cataloged and unfortunately the high magnetically charged iron content interferes with my drone control signals. I had to personally investigate the site. I have performed rock climbing on multiple missions, but still consider myself a novice at it. If not for the antigrav safety harness, I very likely would not have survived my decent. I almost decided to call off the investigation due to personal risk. That would have been a tragedy.
At the bottom of the canyon were awe inspiring crystal formations. Many of these crystals were as large as small skyscrapers back home. The depth and moisture levels required me to wear my environmental suit as all readings indicated that my lungs could not survive without it. The increased heat at the depths also taxed the cooly systems on the suit. If I had realized what I was going into I might have worn a volcano observation suit instead. Even with the dangers and struggle to reach the crystal formations are a once in a lifetime experience and reminds me why I enjoy my job as much as I do. I get to see things that no one else has ever laid eyes on.
Mission Log AB Doradus E: Day 7
Today for my final scheduled day on the planet I decided to have a picnic in a nearby clearing. It was a short trip from the ship through a bit of forest and a few fields of tall grass. When I came out in the clearing It didn’t look anything like what the drone footage had returned. There were flowers just floating in the air. I launched a drone to my site and watching through its camera sure enough the flora did not show up on the feed. My relaxing lunch soon turned into three hours of intense testing, scanning, and sample collection.
I am stumped. I cannot figure out how these flowers float in midair defying gravity and rewriting everything we know about how flora grows. None of the tests can explain why the plants do not show up on camera. Even more confusing most standard scans do not detect anything at all. I can see, touch, and collect samples though proving their existence. It is a true mystery and as frustrating as it is I must admit that it is beyond my personal capabilities. I can’t wait to see what the scientists back home make of this.
With my seven-day mission complete I am finalizing the log with this entry. I am utilizing my right as first explorer to name AB Doradus E. It is a planet of wonders and dangers in equal measure. A place to be treated with caution, but also admired. Because of these traits I’m naming the planet Leander after Oleander a flower that is extremely beautiful, but also very poisonous.