First Contact

First Contact

A Story by Tegon Maus

"I like the way the cold metal feels on the bottom of my feet." "Yeah, I know what you mean. You got one more for me?"


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     "Are you sure?" She asked staring at the floor.

     "Yes, very," I returned.

     "I think..." she began cupping her hand over her mouth for a moment.  "I think it’s important that you understand this is an all or nothing situation."

     "I do, I understand completely.  I told you... I'm okay with it."

     "It's my fault... I just..."

     "Doc, look, I get it, there's no room for failure.  I won't let you down.  You'll see."

     "I'm just not sure if you're ready, that's all," she said softly, turning her back to me.

     "Are you kidding me?  I've been a marine for more than twenty years.  I'm the top in my field.  I've had the best training available.  I've been on dozens of assignments far more critical than this and I came out on top every time.  You have to trust me... I can handle it."

     "A marine for twenty years?  The best training?  I'm not sure that will be enough to guarantee your success," she said with a soft smile.

     "Well, it will have to do," I said confidently.

     "I guess it will.  I would feel better if you had a safe word," she offered lightly.

     "A safe word?  For what?" I returned.  I was beginning to feel like she didn't trust me or my abilities.

     "In case you need back up."

     "Back up?  Really?" 

     "There's no shame in asking for a little help in a tough spot.  A good marine would ask for back up," She prodded.

     "A good marine is all the back up anyone would need," I returned proudly.

     "Alright, have it your way.  You'll have 3 hours... no more... no less.  Synchronize your watch... we begin in 15," She said stiffly.

     "I'm ready."

     "Give’m hell marine," She said over her shoulder as she turned to leave.

     I watched her until she was out of sight, only then did my true feelings come to the surface.  I had misgivings... concerns that I dare not share with her.  If she saw any weakness, any hesitation in me, even the slightest, all bets would be off and I couldn't live with that.  No matter how I felt about it, I had to pull this off... no matter what.

     The sound of a door sliding open at the end of the causeway drew my attention.

     "Ahh, s**t.  Here we go," I said under my breath.

     Walking straight toward me, dressed in a pink tee shirt, blue jeans and barefoot was the Doc's seven year old daughter.  Her dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail and tied with a pink ribbon.  She was her mother's daughter alright.  I could see the doc's cheek bones and the shape of her nose from here.

     "Hello... Sam?" I called cheerfully.

     Nothing... no answer, no smile, no reaction at all. 

     "Damn it," I whispered.  "This was going to be tougher than I thought."

     "Hello," I said for a second time, stepping closer.

     "Are we there yet?"

     "I'm sorry.  What did you say?"

     "Are we there yet?  It's a simple question.  Mother said we were almost there. I'm awake now and she sent me here to see you... are we there yet?"

     "No.  Not just yet.  It will be a day or two longer.  By the way, I'm Robert Wickham... my friends call me Bob." I said offering my hand.

     "You know she's smarter than you," she said with disinterest refusing to shake my hand.

     "Beg your pardon?"

     "My mother.  She's way smarter than you," she repeated.  This time her voice held a little arrogance in it.

     "Yeah, I think so as well," I said honestly.

     "Actually she's way smarter than everyone," she bragged.

     "Yeah, I think you might be right with that one," I agreed hoping to find common ground.

    "Oh, I am.  Mother has an IQ of 135... the average is 92 so she's much smarter than almost everyone."

     "Good to know," I returned, not sure where we were going with this.

     "Mine is 183," she boasted.

     "Your what?" I asked trying to divide my attention between her and the bank of dials and monitors.  

     "My IQ... its 183.  Einstein's was 164," she said pointedly.

     "You don't say... Einstein.  Well, how about that?  Your mom said you were a smart little girl,"  I  heard myself say.  I was lost.  I had no idea what to say next.

     "Do you love her?" She asked suddenly, pushing to stand in front of me, separating me from the panel.

     "What?" I gasped, moving backward a little.

     "I said... do you love her?" She asked again stepping to stand in front of me again.  "Are you hard of hearing or are you just slow?"

     "It's complicated," I answered before thinking.

     "That's not an answer," she scolded, folding her arms, stepping closer still.

     "I don't think you would understand.  It's an adult thing," I said trying to regain some authority, stepping back again.

     "I'm 7, not stupid and I have an IQ of 183.  I think I can handle it," she sneered stepping closer, trying to stare me down.

     My mind raced searching for an out.  I had to take control.

     "Okay.  This isn't going to plan.  Let's start over as equals... 100% honest with each other... no holds barred.  Agreed?" I insisted, offering my hand, stepping forward.

     "Agreed," she said taking my hand.

     "Robert Wickham... call me Bob."

     "Samantha Fremont... call me Sam." 

     "Good.  Glad to meet you Sam.  So then, you first, ask what you want," I said folding my arms.

     "Did she give you a safe word?"

     "No, but she wanted to."

     "Are you planning to marry my mom?"

     "Yes, that's the plan... contingent on your approval.  You okay with that?"

     "I'll have to think about it."

     "I love your mom... I'm not looking to take your dad's place."

     "I have no Dad... sperm donor."

     "I see."

     "How did you meet?"

    "Here on the job.  She's medical I'm transport."

     "What do you do in "transport?"

     "I'm a sector chief.  I'm responsible for more than 100,000 pods."

     "That didn't tell me what you do."

     This was going to be tough.  She wasn't going to cut me any slack.

     "See these dials?  They monitor the pods and were each should go.  This ship holds a little over two million pods."


     "Ahh sorry.  Each pod holds one person...  each held in stasis... suspended animation as it were, to be able to handle the long trip here.  The ship starts out from Earth orbit and makes a stop about every six months, refuels and picks up a new crew.  Twelve crews and six years later they arrive here.  My crew and I sort them by occupation and destination and help to send them on their way."  

     "And my mom?"

     "She usually rides the last leg... one or two weeks out before turning around.  Our jobs cross... we met and fell in love."

     "Why am I here?"

     "To meet me and..."


     "I have a couple of acres down on the planet.  I'm looking to retire and I've asked your mom to start a new life with me there."

     "I've never been on a real planet before."

     "I know... your mom talks about it all the time.  I think you'll like it."

     "You think so?"

     "I do.  My place has lots of grass... a couple of horses, some ducks and even a chicken or two."

     "I've never seen a real horse either."

     "You'll like them.  They're fun to ride."

     Silence...  she just stood there.

     "Damn it.  I screwed up.  I said something wrong... I've lost her," the thought burned hot in my head.

     "Everything okay?" I asked.

     She only nodded in response.

     "Let me ask one.  Why are you barefoot?"

     "I like the way the cold metal feels on the bottom of my feet."

     "Yeah, I know what you mean.  You got one more for me?"

          "Sure... are we there yet?"



© 2017 Tegon Maus

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A very cool and interesting story. I wasn't sure where you were going with the story until a little further into it. That is not a bad thing really, just a minor issue that fixed itself later. I did like how the story went and it is a very cool take on the prompt. Overall, a very good read.

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Well, it looks as though your entry has scared off all the other potential contenders. Either that or my request for non-dystopian stories is not fitting the contemporary zeitgeist. Congratulations - you are the Master of the Universe (there may be protocols I have not observed so please inform me if I need to do something 'official'). Wez

Posted 7 Years Ago

Tegon Maus

7 Years Ago

Hi Wez... hardly seems fair to be the Master of the Universe with only one entry. Not allowing this.. read more
I thought the dialogue was great. I was concerned after I read the first 25 or 30 lines and realized there was nothing but dialogue going on. However, after seeing how well you brought life to the characters through the back-and-forth it was no longer and issue.

Posted 7 Years Ago

Thanks for entering the competition. Man, we've got off to a flyer - great story. Nice twist. A consummate example of short story telling - you are a contender (but you probably already knew you would be - been writing for long?) Wez

Posted 7 Years Ago

You truly are talented! It isn't often on this site that I find myself caring as much about what is going on as I did with this one. Brilliant characterization, and an interesting plot. This is the epitome of "Show, don't tell".

Posted 7 Years Ago

Interesting premise, Tegon. You obviously are quite talented at writing dialog. This seems like a piece of a story, however. Does it have more?

Posted 7 Years Ago

Tegon Maus

7 Years Ago

Hi Raaf... no sorry, I wrote this for a contest. Please try my story "Auggie" it's a chapter out of.. read more

7 Years Ago

Thanks, Tegon. I will take a look at Auggie and will take you on that offer.
I liked this. I liked the science-fiction, and the minor details like the IQs and the Character's occupation. But overall, I think it's funny because it sounds like an exaggerated situation from the point of view of a fiance of a single mother.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Tegon Maus

8 Years Ago

Time and occupations may change but People are ALWAYS PEOPLE !! Thanks for the read... send somethi.. read more

8 Years Ago

All right, here is the link:
This is really interesting... I had to keep reading to find out what was going on, it kept me captivated. This is really good, and I feel like, somehow, the last line really ended the story. Good job!

Posted 8 Years Ago

Tegon Maus

8 Years Ago

Thank you ! If you have something you want to share please send it along
Admiral Kirk

8 Years Ago

Sure, thanks! :) And you're welcome. :P
Wow. This was really interesting. I like how you didn't give anything away, making me really wanting to know where the story was going. I'm curious to find out how she reacts to being on "that place" for the first time though (trying not to spoil anything). Anyway, this was a great story. Nice write. Well done. :)

Posted 8 Years Ago

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26 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on May 20, 2012
Last Updated on July 28, 2017


Tegon Maus
Tegon Maus


Dearheart, my wife of forty nine years and I live in Cherry Valley, a little town of 8,200 in Southern California. In that time, I've built a successful remodeling /contracting business. But th.. more..