Friday Flash Fiction Fantasy on Earthwatch

Theelma put down the Andromeda Advertiser and folded her legs in disgust. ‘Nothing on telly tonight.’

‘What about Earthwatch?’ said Xoxes.

‘Precisely, a whole rotation devoted to a hidden webcam on some obscure planet.’

‘But that’s why it’s so interesting, it was only a few revolutions ago they were telling us life could not possibly exist on a planet covered with water… and now folks even go there on holiday.’ Xoxes laughed ‘You wouldn’t catch me going there mind, but I am going to watch the programme… creatures so different from every other species in the universe.’

‘Revolting, did you see the pictures in the Andromeda Times?’

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Later that rotation Xoxes settled himself up to watch the cabinet. Reluctantly Zeelma climbed up beside him.

‘Is it Xis Zackam? Oh good, I like him.’

‘Welcome to Earthwatch, the first of ten live episodes beaming down from the blue planet. Episode One we’ve called ‘Poeplewatch’ as we take a view of the crowded settlements where the dominant land beings cling to dry outcrops. Professor Zawk calls them Poeples after the strange sounds they utter. Professor, what are we seeing now?’

‘The bizarre nesting structures they create are a great achievement for creatures with only four limbs.’

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‘Is it correct that all the species have only four limbs?’

‘As far as we know. This is what is so exciting, a planet that has more diverse species than we could imagine, more diversity than any other planet we have discovered. It is as if evolving creatures had to make a choice how to use their limbs: to swim, to fly, to run fast or to make things. Now watch these Poeples managing to balance on only two legs, their shrunken second pair of legs are used for carrying food supplies.’

‘A lot of activity, why are they scurrying around so fast?’

‘We think they must always need to get back to their tall nests quickly, in constant fear of the water, do you see how water is surging near their nests?’

‘Oh, what’s going on now Professor?’

‘This is strange, all going in one direction past the nests, towards the water, evidence of organisational abilities?’

‘So many, makes you dizzy to watch.’

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‘Can’t we turn it off now?’ complained Zeelma ‘my serial’s on soon.’

‘Wait, look they’re going in for a close up.’

‘Some viewers may find the following scenes disturbing… yes, the camera is zooming in to focus on individuals, yes this is fantastic, for the first time viewers at home can see a close up of the visages of Poeples. Their visages are singularly lacking in features, a large opening, a protuberance and two sunken hollows.’

‘And no antennae,’ added the Professor ‘no wonder they’re always bumping into each other.’

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