Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Baby it's Cold Outside

GHS-30938 was the worst planet in the solar system.

In the galaxy.

In the universe.

At least other planets had the good grace to be so terrifying, so gaseous, so poisonous, and generally so Goddamned uninhabitable that not even the most desperate spacers would attempt to settle them. Planet Meteo, bombarded daily by chunks of rock which, thanks to the atmosphere's unique characteristics, turned into planetwide cluster bombs. Planet Dust, so named because the wind storms made even the inanimate probes choke and die. Planet Siphonia, which leached energy out of engines and blood out of people. All of them horrible, all of them unsettled.

GHS-30938, which was so loathed no one bothered to name it, was the worst planet in the multiverse precisely because some desperate colony ship put down upon its just-barely-livable surface. Perhaps the stay was supposed to be temporary; MacIntyre could only hope so, because what kind of ancestors would land on a planet that was half ice cube, half lava intentionally?

GHS-30938 orbited a star so closely that its Day Side nearly boiled, and always stayed that way. Tidally locked. Its Night Side was, in a way, better for habitation--provided you didn't mind living frozen in perpetual darkness. Not figuratively frozen, unable to move--literally frozen, as in constantly buried in ice.

McIntyre kicked an outcropping of ice, briefly illuminated in his path by the spotlights behind him, and reflected on this. It snapped against his boot, spiraled off into the distance.

That meant he was getting closer. Only about ten below, here; try that shit farther from the equator, you'd break every toe in your foot, the ice solid as rock.

I live on the worst planet ever, he thought, and now I'm going to die on it.

Looking up, seeing the dim, alien light on the horizon, he was given small comfort: at least he wouldn't die cold.

1 comment:

William said...

Another spaceman character who desperately just wants to get laid before dying.