Great time for Marguaritas

The colony ship dropped out of hyperspace and the ship’s artificial intelligence HARRY4000 released the crew from coldsleep as planned. Flight crew first, then the science specialist monkeys.

First on the agenda was analyzing the probe images from the terraforming robots. Several petabytes of accumulated readings awaited review, from the first robot landing right up to this moment.

Captain Johnson pulled up the first image.

“Looks like the robots did a good job setting up base camp. Snowdrifts, we’re going to need parkas.”

“No, Bill, see the temperature reading? Mean of 79°C, humidity zero—those drifts aren’t snow. That’s salt.”

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT – © Douglas M. MacIlroy
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29 thoughts on “Great time for Marguaritas”

  1. Oh, a great take on the prompt. I could see the characters from “Lost in Space” playing out this scene. Very interesting being surrounded by nothing but salt. Could you tell us more?

    1. But water looks to be a bit scarce… And it’s a tad warm outside. Things might not be so pleasant for the colonists. Hope they brought a Brigham Young along!

  2. I wonder what kind of salt it is. Could be some mineral salt that acutally turns out to be quite valuable. If it’s plain sodium chlorite… they could still make a fortune selling it as galaxy salt, full of cosmic energy. Can you tell that I like your story?

    1. Well, it’s an exotic answer that has to do with bonding energies and solubility…but good old NaCl is the most common inorganic “salt” found dissolved in water. KCl would be next, I suppose. But Na is a lot more common than K in our universe…and in seawater. (Next most common ions are SO2 and Mg).

      Of course, you could go from a basic assumption of some other kind of ocean…but it’s hard to imagine what would be more common than water (in the ‘habitable range’ that humans would be looking to colonize, anyway).

      Argh see, don’t get me started on the old ChemNerd jargon. I’m glad that you enjoyed it!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seawater

      1. I never thought about which salts might be on other planets… need research. I don’t mind the chem jargon at all, to the contrary, I like to learn.

  3. Love the title and all that salt…
    Nice image of a bunch of scientists drinking margaritas all week (what a pain!) then Friday nights downing pints of water. My round…

  4. I never read other peoples stories before I write my own in case they inhibit my writing but it is interesting to see afterwards when there are common aspects like the use of ‘coldsleep’ for this prompt. You did a great job with this one, a very enjoyable yarn. 🙂

    1. Actually, I think the opening requires a bit of a rewrite. “Dropped out of hyperspace” (FTL) and the crew is in coldsleep (what for?). Experimenting with classic SF elements from the novels I grew up on, but didn’t really notice the contradiction implied by that combination.

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