Trifecta: All Clear

Perched high in the tower, he watched as two figures stumbled clumsily into view.  The sun was just rising and through the hazy air, their features were difficult to make out.  He sat patiently and waited for them to come into focus. 

This morning, like the previous 782, would prove uneventful.  All threats had long been eliminated and he wondered why they even maintained this post.  Tradition?  No, they kept no traditions.  That was something that had been characteristically native.

The two figures now fully visible, he noted M-16s loosely slung across small frames; a gas mask flopped sloppily on each head.  Amused, he watched as they enacted a battle on the debris left among the dunes.  It was as he thought, merely some podlings playing. 

The masks would’ve given it away if the outdated weaponry hadn’t.  There were no beings left on this planet that would benefit from those respirators.  And even if there were, the equipment would be useless.  Sure, it would filter out the impurities; but oxygen levels in the air were so low that even filtered, it was insufficient to support life in the native with its flawed bodily make-up.

It was genius really.  They’d locked onto this planet mere centuries ago and had slowly introduced technology to break down the atmosphere at a progressive rate.  Trains had chugged along spewing black smoke; factories had churned out machinery as cities plotted along under a smoggy blanket.  And cars!  Those had been a real deal sealer!  Boy were those contraptions adored!  

They’d thought the plan was at risk when a native came up with a version that didn’t need the fuel they’d continued to pump from the ground.  But alas, the natives had some primitive attachment to their metal chariots.  A few had tried to warn that they were headed for destruction, but it was pointless.  Fate had been sealed; their days numbered.  One more planet collected.

“Tower Delta report!” the receiver chirped. 

“All clear.  Always all clear,” he replied.

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Word count:  333

Written for the Trifecta weekly writing challenge prompt:

MASK (noun)

a (1) : a cover or partial cover for the face used for disguise(2) : a person wearing a mask : masker
b (1) : a figure of a head worn on the stage in antiquity to identify the character and project the voice (2) : a grotesque false face worn at carnivals or in rituals
c : an often grotesque carved head or face used as an ornament (as on a keystone)
d : a sculptured face or a copy of a face made by means of a mold
a : something that serves to conceal or disguise : pretense,cloak
b : something that conceals from view
c : a translucent or opaque screen to cover part of the sensitive surface in taking or printing a photograph
d : a pattern of opaque material used to shield selected areas of a surface (as of a semiconductor) in deposition or etching (as in producing an integrated circuit)
a : a protective covering for the face
b : gas mask
c : a device covering the mouth and nose to facilitate inhalation
d : a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infective material
e : a cosmetic preparation for the skin of the face that produces a tightening effect as it dries


Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.

You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.

The word itself needs to be included in your response.




Stay positive & love your life!




Listening to:  Rebelution – Green To Black

Eating:  Salad

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  It’s always hard to imagine the language that would’ve “stuck” in a post-apocalyptic or dystopian tale.  Would the new inhabitants think or speak at all like their predecessors….us?  I’d like to think that at least some thread would remain by which to tell we were once here.


23 thoughts on “Trifecta: All Clear

  1. Chilling and wonderful. Nicely done.

  2. Chilling, and a little too much truth to it for my comfort 🙂 With the rate we’re ruining our world, this could be a real possibility. (I stopped hugging trees long enough to type this comment.)

    • I’m right there with you Janna. I’m not nearly as green as I should be, but I at least consider myself to be aware.
      This is kind of a play on this idea I’m toying around with where the aliens give us just what we need to defeat ourselves. It’s like a “set it and forget it” take on planetary warfare.

  3. Podling here… cough cough… Where’d I put those car keys???

  4. It reminded me of a Doctor Who kind of world 🙂 I half-expected the TARDIS to materialize so the Doctor could sort out the podlings and get them to stop playing with guns. 😉

    • I’ll take that as a compliment. 🙂 I have watched Dr. Who since I was a young child. It was the fluffy headed one with the scarf which I’m told is many people’s least favorite Dr.

  5. I love this story! You do grim and realistic well. And you used the word “podlings” which is one of my favorite words. 🙂

  6. I love dystopia. Oh! you wrote a good one, Quick!! And your last line was perfect! Us poor natives!

  7. Okay now I’m a little paranoid about the Industrial Revolution.
    Great work!

  8. a) I love stuff like this b) I think your blog has my favorite look and features (what you’re listening to and random facts along with look) c) this was crafted perfectly to deliver the dystopian feel.

    I’m hooked. More please.

    • Damn, thanks!
      a) Me too. I hope my writing continues down that path. It’s fun to write.
      b) Awesome. The background pic was take at Wahoo’s in Austin; snapped because I love the Limousines and thought it was random to see their sticker there.
      c) Glad you “got” it.

  9. Ooo, fantastic, and what a great message. It feels like the intro into something bigger, for sure.

    • Thanks Christine. Not sure where it might lead, but I could see possibly returning to it later. That’s what’s nice about these, they leave the door open for later exploration and writing. 🙂

  10. Chilling and all too familiar. Very Twilight Zone-ish.

  11. Holy shit! We were duped! I still really, really like my car though.

    This is great. Reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode.

  12. Stranger things have happened. Probably;) Thanks for linking up!

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