View Full Version : By the Moonlight of Ganymede

January 21st, 2013, 04:11 AM
- Sorry for the structure, I copied and pasted it from my blog.


Science News Column by John Kirkland

----How long a man can go without breathing determines how long he’ll survive on
the surface of the moon. It’s almost whimsical how cold the atmosphere of the
motionless moon is. If a human being merely hinted at opening his or her mouth
to laugh at the absurdity of these brutal existing conditions, he’d meet certain
death by freezing alive, or as alive a man can be as the frigid void of airless
space comes pouring in to his lungs for an extended visit. Death would come on
swifter wings - wings that could support interstellar space travel and snatch
astronauts like a hawk from the dark nothingness.

Ganymede is such a
place, according to Dr. Carvalho of the Ecuadorian Division of the United
Nations Space Research Program. (UNSRP) A bald man in his late 60’s with an
Einstein-like stylized facial hair, Dr. Carvalho claims that light given off by
the moon as well as it’s gravitational pull causes the Earth’s ocean currents to
function as we know them today. This is known scientific knowledge. However, he
has also conducted studies that conclude that somehow, the distant light of the
dead moon Ganymede which orbits Jupiter is not only causing a strange side
effect on our faraway planet, but it is directly influencing human and animal
health. The atmospherical effects are currently unknown.

“Jumping light
rays” he claims, are organically luminescent compounds capable of changing
direction in space. He still isn’t sure how or why. If Dr. Carvalho and his team
of astrology experts are correct, the sizeable lunar softball known as Ganymede
could be throwing unpredictable curves at the Earth on a random, highly
scattered basis, comparable to unforeseeable solar flares from the sun. Numerous
NASA astrophysicists who specialize in space phenomena all agree that this is a
worthy scientific discovery, and it should continue to be researched at full
capacity. The fact that these light rays are changing direction in the middle of
space, taking into consideration the diameter of Jupiter and where Ganymede is
positioned this time of the century, this may suggest possible intelligent
transmissions. Dr. Carvalho remarked today to reporters outside his facility:
“Somehow, these traveling messages of terrestrial light found us… they found
Earth. I don‘t think for a second that this is a coincidence.-----”
* * * * *
* * *

El Paso, Texas

The veterinarian’s
assistant presided over three linoleum tabletops that were occupied by snow
wolves with muzzles over their mouths. Undeterred, the wolves seemed use to this
ritual of not being able to stretch their jaws, and for good reason. The
assistant’s boss was in the backroom collecting medical instruments he'd need
for each individual examination. The wolves were friendly enough today, not
snapping at their examiners' various movements about the laboratory. Content
with the beef jerky they were given, they rested uncomfortably but peacefully.
“Alright, what have we…” said the head veterinarian out loud, a short man with a
soothingly baritone voice, like a poor man‘s version of Barry White. Charles

The wolves heads slowly raised as he entered the room,
following his body curiously. “And how are we doing, boys?” he asked the wolves,
affectionately patting them on their heads. He flipped through a stack of
documents briefly and began taking a wolf’s pulse.

“Boss, the handler
said he would be back by noon. Said he had a family emergency before he rushed
out earlier but he was really happy about it. I’m not 100 percent sure but I
think his wife was having a baby or something,” said the

“That’s fine, Henry. I wonder if it’s a girl or a boy,” said
“Boy, I believe,” Henry replied.
“We’ll have to congratulate him
when he gets back to take these furry gents back to the city zoo, then maybe
throw in something for the kid. Do kids like isopropyl alcohol? Or maybe a nice
snuggly dog,” said Alberto, jokingly.
After conducting their annual
examinations, the wolves were given a brief bath, their nails cut and the
insides of their ears checked for infection, but the two men didn’t check their
teeth. That would require tranquilization, which they couldn’t afford.

Four hours later at around 5:30 PM, there was a call from the handler.
It was true. As Henry had predicted, the handler's wife had a baby and it was a
little boy. Henry passed the phone over to Alberto and he congratulated him,
then told him that it was okay if the wolves stayed overnight. Their new
security system and bolt-locked doors would guarantee that the wolves from the
El Paso Zoo remained secure. Alberto was hesitant about doing this but decided
it should be alright for just one night.
Leaving the muzzles on the wolves,
“just to be safe,” boss and assistant went home for the day. Henry slid into a
Dodge Charger while Alberto walked casually toward his house which was a few
blocks away from his work building. It was a stout but well kempt property with
some tomato and cucumber plants that lined the side of his walkway to the door,
blowing in the mild late afternoon breeze. A company van parked was in the lot
in front of it, looking dusty as ever.

Before closing the door, he
looked out over the gray neighborhood as shadows assumed their nightly guard
posts and streetlights gradually began to stir to life. The moon was full
tonight. Humming to himself, he closed the front door.

Meanwhile, in the
veterinarian laboratory, the three wolves were looking out of a long thin window
at the top right side of the facility’s wall where sunlight would filter in
generously during the day. Their ears were perked up high, necks craned,
intensely erect, panting hungrily. The moonlight spoke to them, and they
understood it.

Alberto awoke from his sleep to the sound of ferocious
snarls and battle-growls. The type of noise you hear when wolves are ready to
attack something or some one. He jumped out of bed in a hurry, wondering if the
wolves were about to fight and concerned that one would be in shreds by the time
he got there to separate them. He grabbed a flashlight and hobbled over toward
his store, walking quickly in his pajamas.

Storming into the holding room
which was deafeningly loud from their rabid posturing, he looked through the
fence links and was amazed to find that all three wolves were facing him, in a
straight line, jaws unbound by their muzzles which were lying uselessly in a
corner. When his eyes met theirs, they simultaneously stopped their barking.
Very odd behavior, he thought silently.

Alberto yelled irritatedly at
the wolves. “What the devil is going was in here? Stop with the racket! You’re
going to wake up the whole neighborhood! Conyo. Kayate…please!"

was then that the trio of wolves’ eyes started glowing a sickly neon green,
rolling back like pulsating orbs in their heads. “What in God’s name…” Alberto
gasped, his heart beating incredibly quickly. The wolves continued to stare
holes in him with their sorcerer-like glare and he felt his feet begin to
levitate up off of the lab floor, yet no one was lifting him. Alberto looked
towards the wolves with tears of distress in his eyes as the keys to the lock
flitted away from a nearby wall unit, flying straight into the keyhole on the
chain link fence. Before it even managed to turn completely, the wolves barreled
out of their cage in a frenzied rage, taking turns violently ripping the
helpless old man to pieces.

Outside the house in the darkness, a newborn
baby staggered clumsily up the driveway asphault, on two legs and all, with
mud and wet grass caked under it’s miniscule feet, a pink hospital blanket
wrapped around it’s shoulders like some sort of returning king arriving at his
chosen destination. The baby’s eyes, fully aware of things, darted about at the
street’s surroundings, focusing in and out like they had inner bifocals -
focused onto the front door of the veterinarian's home which was dimly lit by a
dying porchlight. Wiping a trail of drool and pregnancy fluid from the corner of
it’s tiny mouth, it fidgeted momentarily in it’s diaper, then stood still there
on the lawn, waiting patiently for the vicious wolves to approach.

one of its paws to turn the door knob, one of the wolves led its brothers out
the door of the house, moving intelligently -- seamlessly, in a single-filed
line towards the lawn. Spotting the baby standing there awkwardly, they suddenly
stopped in their tracks, closing in on three sides, and approached it with

“My name is Felix,” said a voice that seemed to be coming from
the baby’s direction. Surprised, the wolves backed off and lowered their heads
at the baby’s level, curiously. The voice was heavily raspy, too deep for a
child's, and nearly inaudible, like listening to a very old man try and talk to
someone in the next room over. It wasn’t speaking any language the wolves had
heard before, but they understood.

“Ganymede…Sent me. Need help. Here to
awaken the others.”

The wolves growled at the baby skeptically.


An hour later, three snow wolves with a baby riding atop
one of their backs slipped in through the emergency ambulance backdoor of the
local hospital. Babies started to rise from their incubators, a pearly white
glaze over their eyes.

The full moon was bright

January 21st, 2013, 09:30 AM
Loved the pacing and general imaginativeness of it, though I certainly think it could do with some re-wording here and there.

My first point is to do with the Science Column at the start. Even for someone only very vaguely clued-up on astronomical matters it sounds off. Just for example, the Moon has effectively no atmosphere at all, and certainly no one would go there without a full space-suit, which makes the point about holding one's breath seem a bit odd. (I suppose it makes sense if being dropped on the Moon with no space-suit is some kind of corporal punishment that appears later on). Also, without a space-suit, you'd freeze in very little time, even without opening your mouth.

I noticed your Dr Carvalho talked about the Moon's light and gravitational effect causing ocean currents, but the Moon doesn't give off light, it reflects it, and the gravity doesn't directly cause ocean currents. The Moon's gravity, coupled with that of the Sun, causes tides, which along with many other things do affect currents. I'm guessing here that there is some kind of misinformation being spread by your story's government, perhaps there's some kind of conspiracy theory.

You seem to be talking about the Moon (our moon, which should be capitalised) and then Ganymede at the same time, which is a little confusing. It may seem like I'm focussing in here but the science was so distracting that I couldn't concentrate properly on the story.

My other point is that the writing needs tidying up in places, phrasing-wise. When you describe the Doctor's moustache as "Einstein-like stylized facial hair" it just jumps out at you a bit and interrupts the flow (try saying it three times quickly to see what I mean). Similarly, when his feet "levitate up off the floor" you don't need to then say that no one was lifting him, as that's what levitating means.

But again, I really like the imagination behind the plot - it's certainly different and epic - so please don't feel too put off. It's just a case of watching the details really. Hope that helps!

January 21st, 2013, 10:34 AM
I agree with Higurro, the whole first section on the moon seems unrelated mainly to the main story and is not very sound scientifically.

In actual fact, in a vacuum you do not get cold quickly at all. for heat to be exchanged there has to be a medium. In a vacuum you are insulated (think double glazing) and you would only lose heat by thermal radiation. The cold would not be an issue. In fact if anything, because we generate heat, you would more likely overheat than freeze.

Once you released your held breath, you would be in trouble If you took a breath, or tried to, nothing would happen as the diaphragm attempts to expand the lungs it would fail as their is nothing to fill it.

Pressure effects.
Your bodily fluids would start boiling. This would not cause any immediate harm, but there would be some expansion (not explosions) Worst case you might have small skin ruptures that would bleed violently, but modern science seems to think we could cope with a vacuum better than you would expect.

So you could survive as long as your breath holds out.

As far as the rest of the story, we drop into a standard B movie 'possessed' territory. I didn't find it that original Green glows and all. I am not sure a baby, even possessed, could walk, and a babies ayes are not developed enough to see more than a couple of feet and that would be blurry.

I am sounding very negative. the writing is not bad, needs a good edit for SPaG. Some interesting ideas, but I think this needs some work to get it seaworthy.

Hope this helps.


January 22nd, 2013, 11:06 AM
Great feedback guys, agreed on all points. My science was crap, it is basically B-movie sci fi at this point, and my wording definitely needs work. I will kick it up a notch when I get more of an idea on how to let this storyline evolve into something with more serious implications.

Thank you both.

January 22nd, 2013, 02:59 PM
Simply and rashly put; it's like your ideas are beyond your writing ability. That, or you rushed it. Science irked me. Article wasn't written like an article. Could be a good piece with a bit more work. You've got the ideas, you just have to get that writing up to scratch.