(click)… “DAY 12:…I think this is day twelve, not really sure how long I was out, the sun looks to be at about 10:00, does it matter? I’ve just spent about an hour dragging myself down the slope to my backpack, took some pain pills and examined my ankle, it might just be badly twisted instead of broken. Can’t really tell, at least there are no bones protruding, but it’s about four times the size it should be, had to cut my boot off. My head must of stopped bleeding during the night, I think I’ll just lie here against this boulder awhile, not much point in trying to do anything now. Water and rations are almost gone, maybe enough for two or three days. Sh*t, what a way to die, on a sh*thole nothing of a moon. Oh on the bright side, there appears to be some vegetation on this stinking moon, at least in this valley. I’ll describe it for you, I’m not doing much of anything else. It’s about 18 inches long, about 10 inches wide with puffy tube spikes on all sides, it’s kind of a yellow-green-moss color. I can only see the one bush, it’s near the end of my right leg as I’m lying here. I wonder if it’s eatable?”…(click)…
(click)…“Damn it gets cold here in this valley fast, I think maybe I slept a couple of hours, ankle still hurts a lot, I’ve taken a couple more pain pills, heads kind of swimming. Did that bush move or has it always been there by my knee? I can’t remember, I’m tired.”…(click)…
During the night as Captain Rienoon sleeps the bush very slowly makes its way up along side his body, it takes about 2 hours for it to travel from Captain Rienoon’s knee to near his head. Every few feet as it travels along it extends out a number of small feeler probes to learn about this strange creature that has fallen into its valley. As it rests near Captain Rienoon’s head, six feeler probes with suction cup like ends attach themselves to his head while he sleeps.
“Damn its cold, I think I’ll have the last of my ‘D’ rations now, at least it will be hot.”
“Hello, what’s a ‘D’ ration?”
“What?...what? Who said that? Is there someone there? Help…help…hey, I’m over here.”
“Hello, what’s a ‘D’ ration?”
“What?...what? Who said that?”
“Where are you? I must be hearing things, losing my mind.”
“I said hello, isn’t that the correct way?”
“Where are you?”
The bush extends a suction cup feeler and touches Captain Rienoon right knee. “I said hello. Hello.”
“What?, what the hell? Get away from me…what are you?”
Captain Rienoon grabs a large boulder and raises it above his head.
“Please…hello. I am here, hello.”
Captain Rienoon lowers the boulder.
“Hello? What are you?”
“I am me, what are you?”
“I’m called a human, you’re a plant right? How can I hear you?”
“I am me, I talk to your mind.”
“How, do you mean telepathy? How do you know my language?”
“I probed your mind last night to learn about you,” the plant raises a feeler with a suction cup end. “I probed your mind.”
“With that? Don’t touch me again.”
“Just don’t. Do you have a name? Are there others like you around here?”
“I am me, I am alone here. What are you called?”
“I’m called a human, I come from a planet a along way from here, my name is Brussco. Other humans call me Bruss do you understand?”
“Yes I understand, I have no name, no one calls me, I am alone.”
Captain Rienoon puts the boulder on the ground, he realizes that the bush creature means him no harm.
“Yeah, well I guess we’re both alone here, you need a name, I need to call you by some kind of name. How about, Joe? It’s a name from a book I read a long time ago. Can I call you Joe?”
“I am Joe, and you are Bruss.”
(click)… “I’ve huh, made contact with a life form on his moon, not sure what it is, it’s that bush creature I described yesterday. Don’t know if it’s plant or animal, there appears to be only one, appears friendly, it can communicate through thought transmission. I’ll get back, as I learn more. Ankle injury still bad, I don’t think its broken, but I doubt I can walk very far on it, having to take pain pills for my
Captain Rienoon takes a small sip of water from his rations and eats two survival wafers, his water and food supplies are almost gone now.
“What was that? Why did you put things in your head?”
“What? This stuff?”
Captain Rienoon shows Joe the water and a survival biscuit.
“This is water and food, I need these things or I’ll die.”
“Oooh, I have seen some of that before.”
Captain Rienoon shows Joe a small amount of water he has poured into the palm of his hand.
“The clear dirt is about five….days?....over that way.” Joe indicates the direction with a raised feeler, it’s to the west along the valley floor.
“I call this water, you’ve seen it?”
“Yes, it moves over the stones, it never stops.”
“5 days away, huh, that’s a long way.”
“Yes, I suppose so, it seemed like five days when I went there, but I wasn’t paying much attention. I was just wandering around.”
“Damn that’s a long way away, do you know of any water closer than that? Wait, you said five days for you, for me it might only be a half day or so. Damn I’ve got to try and walk on this ankle.”
Captain Rienoon puts his boot back on over his swollen foot, cutting and making it fit as best he can. He takes from his pack a roll of silver tape and binds his ankle and boot as tight as he can and then tapes on two flat rocks to the sides of his lower leg to act as splints. It will have to do. Captain Rienoon removes the alum poles that frame his backpack and tapes them together to use as a crutch, the top is covered with whatever clothes he could find in the pack, a couple of shirts, socks, pieces of flat rocks, all bound and taped together to form a padded top to fit under his arm. He takes another pain pill, his third today, and waits until the throbbing in his head and ankle are more bearable before he attempts to travel over to the ‘clear dirt’ as Joe described it.
(click)…“Joe, that’s the name I’ve given to the plant creature, has told me about a water source that may be near by. I’ve wrapped my ankle as best I could, it’s quite the cast, I’ll bet it weights ten pounds or more, Doc would love my use of tape as wrapping gauze. Going to head for the water source soon, before it gets dark.”…(click)…
Captain Rienoon struggles to his feet, trying to keep all his weight on his right foot and the crutch, his backpack is slung over his left shoulder. It’s all he can do to drag his left foot along the ground and through the rocks of the valley floor.
“Joe, are you going to come? I can carry you.”
“No, no, no touch, I will follow you. You will be easy to find, you’re leaving a big scar in the rocks.”
“Yeah I see what you mean, can’t be helped. OK, I’ll meet you by the ‘clear dirt’ than in a couple of days.”
To be continued...