Winston moved along the pumping platform’s superstructure, made more difficult by his environsuit. “Damn hose!” he cursed, as his air hose caught on another strut. He tongued the radio tab, “Harold! Why by God is it so important that I come down here!”
It was a platform wide broadcast, but Winston didn’t care. Harold winced and said “Winston, switch to private channel 5,” and then switched to it himself.
“This better be important!” groused Winston on the private channel. “I’m not busting my ass so see a broken hydropump!”
Harold stood up by the pump shaft. His bright orange environsuit standing out from the dark metal and ceramics of the shaft. He looked back down at the turgid hydrocarbon sea of Gaston’s Hold. “No, it’s not a busted pump.”
Cursing, Winston wormed his bulky neon-green environsuit through the struts and supports. “OK, what?”
Harold said not a word, but pointed down at the pump head. There in the water, long sinuous shapes frolicked in the froth created by the pump’s action. Fins were quite visible, flapping as the creatures dived into the soupy sea.
“Son of a bi…” started Winston. “Life?”
“Yup,” agreed Harold, “and I think the company is screwed…”
So, how is the unnamed company screwed? What are the implications for the operations on Gaston’s Hold? Will they try to hide this fact or will they let the authorities know? What will the company now have to do with native, complex life forms on a world previously thought to have at best pond scum?
Share your thoughts and comments below.
Written by John Reiher
Art by John Reiher