First Cat on Mars :) #cats #scifi #amreading #book #nationalcatday #Mars

is exhaustingIn scifi Glory on Mars, a cat joins settlers on Mars as a welcome diversion from the battle for survival, and eventually plays an important role in the settlers’ struggle. His earthly stand-in – Harvey – appears on the book’s cover. Harvey’s taking his notoriety in stride.

In the story, two men and two women, about to join the first eight settlers on Mars, have a farewell party at Spaceport America:

Unexpectedly, Emma felt a wave of panic battle the tequila in her bloodstream. She’d had phones and tablets, games and links for as long as she could remember. But batteries were a luxury on Mars, used only for necessary applications. All her earthly devices would be left behind.

One by one, with laughing and back-slapping, the crew of the

Colony on Mars - scifi - Kate Rauner

Original cover – click to see the new cover – better? More science fictiony?

Settler Three Mission relinquished their devices. Contact lenses were popped out and snapped into cases, earpieces and pads dropped into a box.

“We don’t leave our intrepid settlers out of touch,” the support lead shouted over the crowd. He passed Emma a hand-sized pad. With a cord. An electric power cord. And then he handed her an extension cord.

Emma stared at them. Of course, she used corded pads in training, but the permanence of surrendering her own devices hit home. She wandered towards the edge of the crowd, to the ballroom wall, and plugged into an outlet.

Her pad powered up immediately and, already set to Emma’s account, popped open a message.

“Hey! I’ve got a message from Mars,” she called out. People nearby turned towards her and the room quieted when they saw her puzzled face.

“The colonists want a cat.”

“What?” The support lead tumbled off his chair in confusion.

“They want us to bring them a cat.” Emma held up the pad, hitting the end of the power cord.

“You mean a pet-bot?” someone asked.

“No. A real, live cat. They say they’ve arranged for a kitten to be delivered to our ship from Lunar Base.”

Fuzzy with margaritas, Emma was perplexed. Maybe the settlers on Mars were going crazy.

Harvey’s adorable, of course, but colonizing a hostile planet is not.

Their one-way journey to Mars may be a mistake. The colony psychologist, one of the first eight settlers, has committed suicide. Four more settlers are now on their way, bringing renewed hope. Emma volunteered so she could explore Mars in her robotic walkabout suit. Even if she gets the chance, that may not make up for everything she left behind. Mars is a hostile planet, an inexplicable sense of desolation cripples their efforts, and danger from Earth follows them.

Read about the first colony on Mars for free or purchase from Amazon.

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glory-ebook-267x400UPDATE: For 2017 I’ve put out a new book cover for Glory on Mars. It’s more science-fiction-y (I hope) and less quirky. So Harvey can retire from his modeling career – but to tell you the truth, he doesn’t seem to care much.

UPDATE 2: I jazzed up the cover a bit more – click to see – better?

Mysterious Ways, an Angel on Mars #flashfiction #amwriting #stories #shortstory #fantasy #podcast link #read or #listen

NASA Curiosity

by NASA Curiosity

Mysterious Ways – listen to a podcast version at 600 Second Saga or read the story now.

Mysterious Ways

Souls think being an angel is easy – all music of the spheres and celestial light. Well, it’s freaking hard work. When you get an assignment, no one tells you why – it’s all “God moves in mysterious ways.”

“You are to appear as a human female, partly cloaked.”
“And… why?”

I got the usual indulgent smile. Infuriating. Like I’m still a fledgling.

“Make sure your breasts show.”

Sigh. There’s no point arguing.

I’ll have to look up how many breasts are required for a human.

“On Mars. Details are in your assignment file.”

I accessed the database.

“Mars? A rocky planet around a piffley little star in the Milky Way?”
“The boss has a weakness for that star system.”
“But why Mars? It’s cold as hell. You want a physical manifestation? There’s no air.”
“Improvise. You only need to appear for a photo op – for a space probe called Curiosity, sent by humans on the third planet, Earth.”

I swung by Earth to find out what “female” meant – a database gets you just so far and I like to add my personal touch. It wasn’t hard to figure out – animals only have two sexes there!

I discovered these humans aren’t very good at interplanetary exploration. Half their attempts to land on Mars fail spectacularly. But they keep trying and I admire their chutzpah. Curiosity’s crazy drop from a sky crane was brilliant.

It took awhile to find the silly, inconsequential probe, even on a tiny rock like Mars. It’s searching for conditions that might have once supported life. Humans’ probes can’t find life directly yet, unless an elephant galumphs by.

I found a lot of neat critters on Earth and elephants are my favorite. I thought about manifesting as an elephant – the supervisor said to improvise. But maybe I improvise too much. Maybe that’s why I’m assigned to this barren rock now.

I settled on an appropriate ledge and waited for Curiosity’s camera to rotate in my direction. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed unfair to interrupt the humans’ exploration with something that looks impossible. It’ll be eons before they understand.

The details are up to me…

I manifested as rock, angled to the Sun so long shadows became my hair and a coating of dust glistened as breasts.

It’s awfully hard to stand still and look enigmatic in the burning cold, even as a rock. Sometimes I think the boss has forgotten what it’s like to be corporeal.

I’m proud of what I did, though pride is frowned on. I guess I’m not ready for the next level yet.

I transmogrified back to myself, took a detour to blow dust off the rover’s solar panels, and wished the poor little thing good luck.

What are humans going to make of my pareidolidal Dark Lady? Whatever it is, I bet they’ll keep learning, keep exploring. I feel good about that.

I filed my report as I traveled and the supervisor was waiting for me.

“What was this rock-lady-thing you did?”
“I improvised.”
“I’ll never understand how you got into Heaven.”
“God moves in mysterious ways.”

Visit 600 Seconds Sagas and choose from loads of short scifi and fantasy stories.