Massacre on Mars

“Captain Hong?  Can you see this on your screen?  It’s on Hatch 3.”

“Roger that, Albright.  Looks like an insect of some kind.  It’s big!”

“I can see it on my heads up.  It’s 45.7 cm in length.  It’s a foot and a half long, Hong!  Anyone got a can of RAID?”

“Albright, you’re missing the point here.  There’s life on Mars and it’s ugly.  You’re approximately 100 m from me.  Don’t come any closer.  We’re going to do a scan.  Guryev, give me a bioscan on that thing.”

“Roger that, Captain.  Will remain at this location.”

Welcome to a special broadcast:   Massacre on Mars

A tri-national crew of astronauts landed on Mars.  As ascertained from the Mars Rover, there were some indicators of life on the planet.  Up to this point they had found only single cell organisms often living in colonies.  Returning to Yacht I, a landing ship from the orbiting Mother Ship, Trinity, a Martian bug like none on Earth was on Hatch 3, preventing regress of the astronauts through that hatch.  The following is all that remains of the digital recordings of that encounter.


“Albright, Hong here.  It’s a carbon-based life form per the bioscan.  The outer covering, or let’s call it the carapace if we equate it with one of our bugs, is made of some sort of nitrogen-argon fluid that has hardened.   Over.”

“Yeah, but does it bite?   Listen, Hong. I’ve talked with our xenochemist on board Trinity. He thinks we need to get it off the Yacht right now.   He’s been monitoring your scan and thinks the carapace just might be harmful to metals.   Over.”

“Does he say how we should do that?  Over.”

“Well, Major Pasternak, here, wants to use his shiny new laser gun.   Dr. Shu wants to try some high voltage, and I want to use bug spray.  Over.”

“I thought I’d have to fight with you to kill this thing.  Over.”

“We are so far from Earth, and we rely on that tin can for our survival.  We can do a necropsy a lot easier than a physical exam.  Over.”

“Wait!  Guryev here.  Should we not try to communicate with it?  Over.”

“Okay. Give it a shot.  Try speaking French to it.  Everyone knows a little French.  Over.”

“Dr. Albright, you are a disgrace to your profession.  I was thinking maybe Spanish.  Over.”

“Ha, ha.  Go for it, Guryev.  Albright, over.”

We have to interrupt at this point. The digital recordings were badly damaged.  Guryev attempted to communicate with the alien bug through the hatch, using an acoustical algorithm and tapping; something akin to Morse Code.  Next, the only thing we hear on the recordings is screaming.  Within seconds Yacht I imploded and all aboard were killed, including the suicide bug, leaving the three astronauts, Albright, Shu, and Pasternak marooned on Mars.  Before a rescue team could be launched from Trinity, the astronauts’ oxygen ran out.  We leave you with the Mission Director’s words:

“Next time, we bring bug spray.”

Flash Fiction Challenge #23 @ Thain in Vain
Prompt:  The first men/women to set foot on Mars return to their ship only to find a large, strange insect on the door of the ship.
Word Count:  500
Photo Credit:  The Outer Limits,  Zanti Misfits (1963-64)



34 thoughts on “Massacre on Mars

    • Granted, a spray won’t work too well on Mars, but it’s the principle of the thing. Again, where do I come up with these things? I’m very Monty Pythonesque. I’d rather be more like Steinbeck, but it’s not going to happen. I did research Mars’ atmosphere and it’s 95% CO2 and I checked to see if a nitrogen-based life form could exist there and there is a small percentage of nitrogen and argon which combined will become a fluid that I decided could harden for the carapace of an insect. So, how’s it going? Lucy

      • I have always read a lot, since I was a kid and I tend toward the macabre, I guess. That’s my mother’s doing. Lucy

    • Okay. Who are you and what have you done with Miss Thain? Thanks for the kudos but this was a bit Monty Pythonesque, don’t you think? I did similar silly stuff on my other blog for 2 other challenges. I’m in some sort of Twilight Zone time warp. Lucy.

  1. Lucy, I was really anticipating your response to this week’s prompt and you didn’t disappoint! You kill me – while the Raid and bug spray comments were funny, the guy being told to communicate in French particularly broke me up! Funny stuff! I really enjoyed your take on the prompt. 🙂

    • Thank you, Ms Kate. All last week I killed a lot off characters in my challenges. Apparently I killed you, too. Sorry.Did you just hate that bug? I remembered it from the outer limits. Glad you like the story Lucy .

      • Hmm… I could have used that bug for MY prompt, probably. Has an interesting face, doesn’t it? As for killing off characters, a little murder and mayhem is good for the soul – cleansing in fact. 😉

        Did you get my email last week? Just want to make sure it went through.

        By the way, I really like the photos you have on the right hand side of the screen.

      • I like a macabre brain. I grew up on Bradbury, Ellison, Bloch, and The Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits. I’m all about the macabre and fantasy. Not the fantasy of furry, talking, little animals, but the sort of fantasy written by Bradbury. Bradbury is one of my all time favorites – his writing is almost poetic. He wrote a story about Picasso making drawings on the beach with a stick, and the tide washing them out to sea later – that short story blew me away. I should save this stuff for an email so I won’t bore your followers. 🙂

      • PS – I love hats!

        PPS – Since you have the queen on your site, perhaps you’re an Anglophile. When I was writing my short story about Queen Victoria, while doing a bit of research, I came across a bio of Edward VII that looked interesting. I may have to make another visit to Amazon…

  2. Don’t worry. My followers are all asleep. Now. Where was I? Ray Bradbury. He was okay but I was an early Larry Niven fan. I like hard Sci Fi. Yes, I’m a bit of an anglophile. I just have this thing for QEII’s hats and the hats at Ascot. I enjoy British comedies and dramas etc. I live for BBC. But I don’t even own a TV, though there’s a fairly new one in the Living room. I subscribe to Hulu Plus and get all my doses of Brits there and also prime member on Amazon. I don’t know why. I watch something maybe once every two weeks. I’d rather read. Right now I’m fighting with a story for my Monday challenge–photo prompt. I have to edit it it’s far too long. Did you get my email? I gave you a different email address if you prefer to use it. Lucy

    • Thanks. Well, everyone knows a little French, don’t they? Thanks for coming by. Oh, and thanks for the prompt on Thain in Vain. My mind can’t get out of the gutter. Lucy

    • That one was a “flash” fiction-500 words. I just couldn’t do it justice without a few hundred more words. That challenge is at Thain in Vain. She likes murder and mayhem and I try to give it to her. Hahaha. Okay, I like it too. Lucy

    • Whoops. I’ve been reading your comments out of order. Did you really think it was exciting? Or, did you mean Apollo 18 was exciting? The astronauts didn’t have to die on Mars. I just ran out of words–couldn’t go over 500. So I killed them. I think writing fiction, expecially sci fi should be fun not painful. I sit in my room and laugh at things I write. Not everything gets submitted. I often pound away at the keys and then realize I’m at 2000 words and have to edit. Often I have a few different versions of the story or completely different stories and sometimes I just get silly and write nonsense just to amuse myself. My roommates hear me laughing and wonder what I’m up to.

      Up until several months ago, I hadn’t written any fiction since I was in high school. Is my writing experience normal or is it just me? Lucy

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