Prompt: The storms covering Jupiter cleared, but only for a moment, and we saw what was beneath it.
The journal of Michael Yitz was thrown onto Commander and Chief of the Atlas Sean Carrien. He eyed it for a moment, then looked up to his assistant. “What is this?”
“It’s the journal of that scientist, the one that went crazy when we landed on Earth. I found it stashed underneath some books in a hidden drawer underneath his cot.”
“Have you read it?” Sean asked.
“No, I thought you would want to be the first. After what happened with Yitz and all those people. . .”
Sean wiped his mouth and leaned back in his chair. “Yeah, all those people. . . gone.” He sat straight and pulled the journal in front of him. “I’ll get to it now. Come back in about an hour and we can go get some lunch.”
With a nod, his assistant turned and left the office, closing the door behind him.
Sean glanced through the pages, ignoring what seemed to be irrelevant information: Michael Yitz applying to work on the Atlas as a Moon Researcher, getting the job, his anxiety and first impressions of the ship and space and everything else.
He continued to flip until he reached what he believed to be the beginning of the terrible incident Michael Yitz screamed about as he mowed down a group of innocent bystanders with an automatic weapon.
January 16, 2106
It’s that time of the year again, my dear journal, for us aboard the Atlas to check upon the moons of Jupiter. The large ship has moved its course from Neptune, passed Saturn, towards the red-eyed planet.
In a month we will be on the brink of Jupiter’s gravitational pull, like a boat being pulled onto shore, and we will begin to examine its moons. Europa first, then Io and Ganymede, and in all likelihood Callisto in the same day. Then Lysithea, Thebe, and Elara the following, then onto the countless others.
Even from this distance, the storms of Jupiter can clearly be seen through my porthole. The swirling of the reddish orange and gray clouds, and the never-ending twisting red eye that reminds me of the Eye of Sauron from The Lord of Rings, but of course in space.
That’s it for now, Journal. It’s time to enter hibernation, so I can be well awake for my job at hand.
February 16, 2106
We’ve made it! With no issues at all, surprisingly. . . Well except for the issue that someone aboard — as a prank — had activated a stink bomb in the co-ed toiletry. Some of its rancid smell can still be found lingering in the air in some of the hallways. Besides that, we’re all prepared to begin our work.
Currently I’m in my station. The manually operated telescopic machines are all pointed in the direction of the moons, moved partially western to make-up for the subtle movements of the Atlas. In a few moments, I will begin the seemingly endless hours of looking into the scopes and verbally recording down what I see. Just like in 2096, there’ll likely be nothing too different to report. Though mundane and often repetitive, I’m still glad to be a Moon Researcher on the Atlas. A much better career than doing God knows what back on Earth.
February 16, 2106 — Later
I haven’t wrote it my report, but. . . I, uh, wasn’t quite paying much attention to the moons, Journal. So I let the scope wander a bit towards Jupiter. Although nothing changes on Jupiter, hasn’t in thousands of years, I looked. Maybe it’s just the boy in me who wanted to see the great big planet, or maybe it was just idle curiosity, but the point is, I looked and what I saw was mind boggling.
The storms and clouds seemed to dissipate. Yes! Dissipate! The farthest western hemisphere there are hardly any swirls of red and orange. It’s as if they are being sucked up by something. I couldn’t really get a good look at what was underneath the clouds — if I would have, I would’ve been the first who saw what’s beyond the storms of Jupiter! — because my supervisor came in, and I quickly adjusted the scopes back towards Ganymede.
I’m shaking. I can hardly keep this pen straight enough to continue writing. Tomorrow I will inspect more. I’ll even start my shift early. My supervisor will think nothing of it, probably even give me a pat of the back for showing initiative. Now it’s time to try my best to sleep.
February 17, 18, 19, and 20, 2106
Too much has happened. Too much have I seen. I couldn’t write it all down day after day. The only way I could was to do it in one lengthy go, Journal. So I’ve waited a few days to pour my mind out onto the paper.
The storms were dissipating, yes, but even more so over the course of time I was inspecting it. As if it knew when I was watching, the clouds slowly disappeared entirely from the western hemispheres, then gradually from the center and eastern hemispheres. By the 19th, all the clouds and storms were gone — all except the Red Eye. Which seemingly is not a storm or a cloud or a byproduct of Jupiter’s weather.
It’s an actual eye. Underneath the layer of storms was something. I pushed all my scopes to the farthest they could magnify but even then, I couldn’t make out exactly what it was. The dull golden layer of Jupiter seemed to be concave and move like the ocean’s surface, but with the oily, sluggish movements of tar.
Things were moving up out of the surface, long enormous pipe-like things, that ripped open the ground to only drop back down. These things twisted and swirled and turned around the planet’s entire surface, converging to the place below the Red Eye.
I couldn’t see passed the ruby iris, but I could imagine what was below. The pipe-like things in all likelihood rose out of the ground and formed a kind of rippling, swaying tower that rose up into the air and pierced Jupiter’s atmosphere. It emanated the red substance to form the eye. . . or perhaps the eye is a being itself and the world is its body? I still have the faintest clue as to which is correct or even those options are valid.
Motionless I sat as I watched it for hours, refusing to note down anything. I became afraid that what I was seeing was just a hallucination, or that it was only me for see and that if I shared what I saw something terrible would happen to the Atlas.
The Red Eye moved freely, not in its normal rotation, around the planet then settled straight ahead, looking directly at the Atlas and me. A black hole began to bubble and form in its center, a tendril of darkness rose up out of the red and slithered across the cosmos.
I wanted to move away from the scope, I wanted to run and hide, but I couldn’t budge away. Even though fear engulfed my body, my mind forced me to stay and discover what came next.
The tendril crossed the length between the Red Eye and the Atlas in a matter of seconds. Scope-I’s refractor blackened and shattered, its glass falling inward onto the reflector. Despite this, I kept my eye glued to the cushioned ocular lens. Then the reflector was shattered, its glass drifted out into space. The tendril coated the inside of the scope, creating a barrier between space and the inside of the ship.
Then suddenly the ocular lens was broken and the tendril stung my eye. I turned away from the lens and held my eye, rubbing it instinctively to remove the particles, but I already knew that wouldn’t work. The tendril had moved into my head through my iris, I could feel it cover my nerves, felt it coat my brain. . . felt the oddly tingly sensation of it injecting itself into my mind.
I left my station afterwards, returned to my room and began writing. My supervisor came to the open portal and asked me what happened and I simply said I didn’t feel well. She said since I came in early, it was okay for me to stop for the day. I thanked her. I didn’t believe she saw the broken scope, or saw the Red Eye move freely across the planet, or the tendril crossing the cosmos.
I looked out the small window and saw Jupiter’s storms had returned.
I have to return home, to Earth, and bring what I’ve been given there. The Verpins must burrow far underneath the crust and shake the parasites from it, must make the planet tremble and boil and rage and start its own storms; only after that can they begin to create an Eye.
Then I must go the Moon and Mars and Saturn and Uranus and Pluto and every other planet in our solar system to spread the Eye, then beyond that.
The Eye has granted me sight, strength and knowledge.
The Eyes will connect the far reaching universes, The Eyes will bring an utopia to us all, The Eyes will be everything and anything.
Commander of Atlas closed the journal, sighed, and pressed the button on the intercom. “You can come in now.”
The assistant came in and stood ready. “So what do you think?” He asked.
Ignoring the question, he asked. “Do you have the video recording of Jupiter on February 16, 2016 through February 20, 2106?”
The assistant nodded.
“I want them exported to my computer now.”
“Will do,” the assistant said and quickly left the office.
After five minutes, an alert appeared on the Commander’s screen and a loading bar soon filled with a teal color. He opened the downloaded file and set it to full-screen.
Although the video was in twenty-five times speed, he would’ve noticed any change on Jupiter, especially the kind of change Michael Yitz noted down. There was nothing. The storms never ceased, the red eye never moved from its normal rotation, and there certainly was no black tendril stretching across space to the Atlas.
As he went to turn off his computer, he saw for a brief second a pinpoint of blackness appear in the red eye, then his screen went black and his computer short-circuited and shut off.
Read my previous prompt, “Accidentally Unplugged.”