The Zoologist

And so we come to the end of the A to Z Challenge. This was a fun challenge for me, and I got to write about Ariadne. For those of you who read these brief windows into the world of Ariadne, thank you for sticking around. Consider this a preview of what’s to come in future books. You’ve met some of the key characters, though there are others who will play a major role. But with this final part, you’ll see one big potential problem for the colonists.  Enjoy.

The Zoologist

Ariadne

Northern Ipeiros Continent

Twenty-ninth day, third month, fifteenth year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (3/29/15 AE)

Preston Moore crouched behind a jumble of boulders. Next to him, Tracy Spacek recorded the scene with a camera. What they saw Preston couldn’t quite believe. The bipedal creatures were mammalian in appearance, though they resembled nothing on Ariadne or Earth. He estimated they were three metres tall. They were completely covered with a brown hair, and had two arms and two legs. But that’s where the similarities to the legendary Sasquatch ended.

“They appear to have two knees and two elbows on each limb,” Preston narrated. “They walk on their toes, and their hands have four fingers, all completely opposable. The oddest features are on the head. No nose that I can see, but their eyes are on the sides of their heads. Their mouth is a long proboscis, reminding me a bit of anteaters, but I don’t think they have any jaws. I can’t guess about their diet. On either side of the neck are two gills or breathing holes.”

Two of the four creatures turned their heads toward the pair of observers.

“Shit. I think we’ve been seen,” said Tracy.

One of the creatures approached them with caution. It stopped five metres from them and its eyes focused on Preston. Then he heard it. Squeals and pops filled the air, but there seemed to be a pattern. It was language, he was sure of it.

“I don’t understand,” said Preston.

The creature blinked its large eyes. Images flooded Preston’s mind. He couldn’t make any sense of it. He saw images of life forms he’d never seen before, one blue with a vague resemblance to an insect. He saw the double-helix of DNA. He saw landscapes, a dull grey spacecraft, and a field of this being’s species dead.

“Stop!” said Preston. “I don’t understand.”

The creature’s shoulders slumped and it turned. It looked back once more at the scientists and walked back to the other three.

“We’ve invaded someone else’s world,” said Tracy.

“Did you see or hear any of that?” asked Preston.

“Everything.”

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New Horizons is getting closer to Pluto. Close enough so that we can see some surface features. Just take a look.

OpNav3_barycen_v7_lowresFrom these images, NASA’s put together an animated GIF of Pluto and Charon, and this view is only going to get better. It appears there may be a polar cap on Pluto.

Just over two months to go until some amazing pictures of Pluto and its moons.

Who’s excited now?