Archive for November 7th, 2011

7th November
written by amber

Tunnel Monkey

It was an unbelievably bad decision, but we all had to abide by it. When you’re a tunnel monkey on Mars, you obey your commander.

I knew why Zin sent us down that tunnel – it was his family waiting in the Pod of Last Resort at the end of the tunnel. But the evidence was clear the moment our Flitter arrived at the Eridania Settlement – it was not a mechanical failure, not an earthquake and not an asteroid puncture, it was an attack. We monkeys carry everything we need – from laser shovels to rescue suits – but we don’t carry weapons. Weapons aren’t allowed on Mars.

Some of my fellow monkeys were having trouble processing the evidence in front of their eyes, but I’d been the first one into the damaged parts of the settlement. I’d recognized blaster damage, having seen it on bootleg movies a friend smuggled from Earth. And I found the dead man with the unusual hole in his forehead, a bullet hole. I’m a pacifist, I really am, but the idea of violence intrigues me, and I was never truly convinced that we had eliminated it from our planet. Perhaps that was why I seemed more able to understand what had happened here.

The settlement was broached, no longer able to support life, but we found only the one body. The escape suits were missing, so we knew the survivors had headed down the tunnel. When Zin yelled at us to get down there, fast, everyone hastened to obey. Everyone but me.

“What about them?” I asked, pointing at the Flitter parked just outside the settlement. It was empty.

“It’s not a rescue unit. They won’t be able to help.”

“I don’t think they came here to help,” I countered, but he was already turning away, calling and calling over his communicator, “Eridania, this is Rescue 7, does anyone receive me?”

My fellow monkeys were far ahead of me at this point, and there was nothing for me to do but hurry after them. I was partway down the tunnel when I heard the sounds I’d heard previously only as special effects. Gun fire. Violence had come to Mars.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

Thank you for this first line to Robert Sinclair.