Helen Lewis and Marilyn Ackerman

Marilyn Ackerman

Inspiration piece

A New Beginning
By Helen Lewis


It was during Adam’s shift that the ship came within sensor range of the next planet. As usual, he hurried to the bridge, but the data was already streaming in when he arrived.

The planet had a molten metal core, generating a protective magnetic field; it had Earth-like gravity, a breathable atmosphere, oceans of clear water, and a temperature range close to that of the Earth before global warming snowballed. It also had four moons whose orbits were locked into each other. The gravitational influence of the moons created strong tides and a high level of volcanic activity, providing abundant sources of renewable energy.

This was it. This was The One. The prize they’d been chasing for so long: the planet that would eventually become humanity’s new home.

Adam staggered, his head spinning. To steady himself he concentrated on his breathing. Just as he was beginning to regain his composure, the lights went out. All of them. Even the stars. Adam’s panic was whispering thoughts of blindness, when, a heartbeat later, light returned.

But this light wasn’t the cathode glow of the computer screens. It wasn’t the dazzling glare of the local sun, or the scattered sparkle of the stars. This light was a lurid green and it hung, silent and motionless, in the starless void. The light spelled out a word. As Adam stared at it, the word winked out, leaving its impression throbbing in red on the back of his retina.


Then another flash:

Thank you for playing ‘Life on Earth’.

A moment of absolute darkness.

You have completed the game objective.

Your prize for achieving an all time high score is a free replay.

Replay will start in 10 seconds…



‘Oh bugger,’ moaned Adam.



Note: All of the art, writing, and music on this site belongs to the person who created it. Copying or republishing anything you see here without express and written permission from the author or artist is strictly prohibited.