A cartography vessel mapping a sector of space that’s expected to contain nothing of interest encounters…something of interest.
ALERT! TRAILER CONTAINS A SPOILER
Music: “Among the Stars” by Andrew Sitkov
[Video Description: “Encounter With Ship 47” Trailer. Duration, 43 seconds. Music, “Among the Stars” by Andrew Sitkov. Digital drawing. Five silhouettes against a window, all face a luminous spiraling phenomenon beyond. At top left, a human in a chair that’s hovering over the heads of the others, in partial right profile, with left hand raised to the window. Below, from right to left. A caterpillar-shaped being sitting on the window ledge, with two antennae raised to the window, tail dangling from the ledge. A being with a squid head, with five tentacles held up against the window, standing on what appears to be three knobby or segmented legs. A human standing with both hands pressed against the glass at head level. A being shaped like a central stalk with fuzzy hair at the top, two pairs of loops protruding from the sides, and knobby plumes rising from the loops. A wall to the left displays some glowing lights and panels. Title card with the words “Short Story” and “Genre: Science Fiction,” is displayed at top. Tagline appears at bottom. It reads: “A cartography vessel mapping a sector of space that’s expected to contain nothing of interest encounters…something of interest.” A background block appears behind the line as the title card fades. A watermark of the word “storyfeather” appears over the image. Lines from the story appear and fade: “‘This thing is changing by the hour. We may not have time for Vessel 86 to arrive before something even more intense happens.’ ‘More intense than that?’ he asked, pointing out of the nearest porthole. I gaped. The fluttering spirals that we’d become accustomed to had shifted color, darkening in a pattern that was familiar to both of us. That pattern was a word. The word was, ‘Hello.’” Site URL appears at bottom right throughout. As the last line fades, the image blurs, the story title appears at center, and a text card appears at top that reads “Available to Read Now storyfeather.com.”]
Welcome to Year 9 of Storyfeather
Every year’s short stories (mostly) follow a theme. This year, I will turn the Wheel of Fiction to help me decide what to write. There are thirteen spokes on this wheel. Eight are occupied by the eight themes from the previous years of stories. One is a prompt to turn the wheel again. One is a wildcard (hmm…curious). And three are covered only in question marks. I suppose I’ll find out what’s beneath those questions as we go along.
Welcome to the WHEEL OF FICTION
This week, the Wheel of Fiction landed on one of the two remaining mystery spokes, designated “?!?!?!?!?!” And the theme revealed beneath the mystery? It was…MUSIC. Henceforth when the wheel lands on this spoke, the story for that week will be inspired by music. It could be a single track or piece—as it was this week—or it could an album, a genre, maybe an instrument.
Music is something I never thought to use as a theme before. I typically don’t listen to music when I write. If I have any sound at all, it has to be something relatively neutral, something that won’t evoke emotions or thoughts or visions, especially ones that might clash with what I’m writing.
For this story, I searched the music on my phone, shuffling through tracks until I landed on one that I knew evoked very strong emotion in me. The whole soundtrack is one of my favorites. (It also takes me back to my youth). It’s the original soundtrack composed by Michael Land for a computer game called “The Dig.” The particular track I landed on was “Dimensions of Time.” The track is adventurous, majestic, inspiring. As I listened, I closed my eyes, and visions of space came to mind, naturally, as that was the subject of the game. But I envisioned some phenomenon in space, a nebula, a gravity well, a tunnel, and then, I thought…“it’s alive.” Sentience.
On the second listen, I started writing what I felt. Not I as myself but I as the narrator of the story, witnessing something extraordinary in space.
Oh, and I’m also a “Star Trek” fan, so the “47” in the title is a reference to ongoing references of that number in Next Gen and beyond.
[Video Description: Duration, 6 seconds. Choice wheel made on the Spin the Wheel application. Thirteen spokes or slices in various colors, labeled as follows, clockwise from the top: Objects of Power (the “of Power” is not visible), Prompts, Definitions, Turn Again, Elements, Creatures, S.T.E.A.M., Wildcard, Revisitation, (alternating question marks and apostrophes), Challenge, Draw!!!, (question marks). The title at top reads “The Wheel of Fiction V2” and below that the words “Spin the wheel.” Below that is the date of the spin, 3/26/2022. At top left corner is a flag icon labeled with the letter “F.” This represents a function of the application which interferes with true randomness by reducing the probability of receiving the same choice twice in a row. The wheel turns and lands on a mystery spoke designated “?!?!?!?!?!.” As the wheel stops spinning, the spoke changes so that the word “MUSIC” replaces the question marks and exclamation marks.]
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