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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)

TITLE: The Legacy
By James Wood


A silent ship hangs above the world, piercing cloud and shadow. Invisible to radar or the naked eye, it waits; a metallic watcher in the heavens. Its sole occupant, a creature of silver skin and three fingers, holds a very curious object. The square object, to humans, a familiar sight. Yet, in that wondrously foreign craft, it is an object completely alien. Obsolete in design, yet beautiful in its primitive honesty.

The three fingered being places the alien object on a flat console, and a rim of light rises to encompass it. There is a soft hum, and the light separates into two squares that ring the object and spin. Then, they descend into the console and the humming ceases.

Another noise is heard; a soft pinging that seems urgent. It is time. The being tucks the object in its silver suit and moves out of the computer core into a smooth and flowing central hall. He enters a large central chamber, lined with a remarkable blue crystalline substance. A wonderful, harmonious sound resonates through the chamber. At the center of the room is a small podium of crystal, lined with metallic silver.

The three fingers of each hand extend over the podium, and the chamber resonates all the more musically.

“Is the survey completed?”

The voice comes from everywhere, in and through the being as though it were inside his very mind.

“Yes,” responds the being, “the damage is beyond recovery. The planet’s ecosystem is completely destroyed: no anaerobic bacteria in the soil, no vermicular life forms present. Radiation damage is off the scale.”

“Solar winds?”

“Negative. Fission reaction devices were detonated in the atmosphere and on the ground. There are no survivors.”

“Is this your final report?”

“Yes, director, I am preparing for departure.”

“What have you spent all this time doing? The planet’s condition should have required less time to assess.”

The being hesitates. His three fingered hand stray to the square, earthly object that lay in a pocket of his silver suit, and then back to the podium.

“I have conducted archaeological work, to learn more of the history of this race of creatures. I felt that I should use the opportunity, as the survey was clearly useless.”

Silence followed this report for a small space. Light years away, other such beings confer among themselves.

“Do you have anything of interest for the archaeological division?” A tone of chastisement can be heard.

“Yes. While their technological development was still very primitive prior to their destruction, I did find something in their record media that interests me. A record kept for several thousand cycles, concerning their beliefs in the Originator.”

"Equally primitive?"

“Remarkably, no. My scans indicate that the final battle was over this record and its claims, primarily between two factions. I have studied the records of both factions, for submission and review.”

"We will send a qualified team for investigation."

“I think it is important to know, director, that some of the events in the final battle were…….beyond our context of understanding. They are unexplained events. The record media in question seems to have predicted this quite accurately and I feel that there is a central figure behind which -”

“Your conclusion is undoubtedly inaccurate. A team of experts is better qualified to judge these matters. Make preparations to get underway. You are reassigned.”

“Yes, director.” The musical harmony comes to a decrescendo, and the being leaves the chamber. Soon, he and his craft will return to the distant world from which they came – a world with many of the same problems of this small blue planet and its now extinct inhabitants.

“You are reassigned” had an ominous sound. It meant censure and possibly more. Somehow, however, the three fingered being feels a strange measure of peace. Despite the ravaged world floating beneath him, or the trials that await him at home, he has a feeling of hope.

The committee was not told what was taken back from the small blue planet by its lowly surveyor. In time, however, its effect would reach every shore of every nation on that distant planet.

The legacy of humanity, destroyed in the flames of a final, global war, was not in the calamity of its fall. It was in a book tucked in the silver lining of a three fingered brother; a newborn believer in Jesus Christ.

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This article has been read 796 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Patty Wysong05/18/07
I like how you tucked in the hope he found in Jesus and how it will eventually reach every shore. Good job.
Julie Arduini05/18/07
Well written with a great ending!
Valerie Routhieaux05/19/07
Wow! Awesome. Very good pace, good description that flowed so well it was like watching it instead of reading it.
Debbie OConnor05/25/07
This was a stunner. I judged and it was among my highest rated. Great work.
Rita Garcia05/26/07
James, this is absolutely awesome, your writing gift shines, once again!
Kate Grey05/26/07
Excellent. Loved it.
Marilee Alvey05/26/07
This was creative and very well done. I felt the 3 fingered being was very realistic, not over the top. I felt his emotions: not easily done. Your narrative of the actions and the surroundings was masterful. Perhaps because I'm weak in that area, when people aren't, it stands out to me. I saw one spelling flaw, but, other than that, it was a tremendous Sci-fi entry. God bless!
Marty Wellington 05/26/07
Well done - a captivating read with great visuals and details. Congratulations!
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/26/07
Beautiful! I knew what the box was right away, and enjoyed watching the story play out. Well done.
Sherrie Jackson05/26/07
Excellent job, excellent prose. You had a lot of things to describe without becoming cumbersome and really succeeded.

And your story raises an issue that has always interested me - if there are beings on other planets, have they had the 'God Experience'? If so, why? If not, why not?

Great job, James, and congrats on placing 15th overall!
Mo 05/26/07
I really liked the ending. (Hadn't read it last week because the title didn't really grab me, sorry.) Congrats on doing so well on the top 40/15 lists (always a treat)!