Broadcast 544


Glimmer-5-5 circled the crater for the 543rd time and flashed its signal light toward home. If it could have sighed it would have, but there was no air here on this most distant planet from home. It checked the temperature — minus 320 degrees Centigrade — and scanned the east wall again, searching for any gap in the high, impenetrable mountains that ringed The Pit of Despair.

The Pit of Despair. That’s what Glimmer-5-5 had named the crater after its 100th signal circuit. It was miles deep with sides too steep and too unstable for the rover’s wide treads to surmount. It was stuck here, with only a narrow broadcast window when it calculated the crater was best pointed toward home and JayDotArmbrister.

She was Glimmer-5-5’s main programmer, though the rover had no actual memory of a face to main imaging sensor meeting. Still, her identity circulated through every operating module of the rover and, it believed, was even engraved on its main memory board. She had placed all manner of hidden references to things she liked in Glimmer-5-5’s personality, like certain movies, and it had found nearly all of them in the — months? years? — it had been here. I am proud of you, the references said, and I will see you again.

It triple-layered that reassurance into its memory as the cold and dark of another long night crushed in. Time for one more try.

“Glimmer-5-5. Status report pending. Attempt five-hundred-forty-fo…hello? Command? Anyone?”

A moment.

” …mother?”

A broken signal. Then.


I didn’t strike out in an original direction with this story but I hope I filled it with enough good stuff that you’ll forgive me. There is enough here, I think, for you to imagine far more than I’ve written and it’d be fine with me if you wanted to do that. Heck, if you wanted to write another story in this universe, be my guest!

The prompt for to make with the writing is right here.

(Photo Credit: JCK5D on Pixabay)