The Iron Writer Challenge 2015 Summer Solstice Preliminary Round, Eric Carle Bracket

The Iron Writer Challenge #118

2015 Summer Solstice Preliminary Round

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

Eric Carle

Eric Carle Bracket

The Authors:

Jaclyn WilsonRichard RussellDanielle Lee ZwisslerDaniel J. Sanz

The Elements:


A time clock
Ice cream
A Parachute
Told from POV of an alien on the planet Nibiru, as the Nibiru enters our solar system. 

Nibiru technology is no greater or worse than Earth’s.

The Last PlanetJaclyn Wilson

Jaclyn Wilson

The planet Nibiru began to self-destruct a couple hours after I had clocked out from work on the time-clock. It started with the Sun. Usually on Nibiru, the Sun is so far away we can’t see it. We have become accustomed to the below freezing temperatures and the layers of ice that settles on the cone shaped houses and the sparse patches of nature we seldom see. But today, the Sun slowly grew closer, so close even; it began to burn away the ice and the cold. At first we rejoiced, having never seen the sun up close, we stood there to feel the warmth on our gray skin.

Then, it happened.

Our skin began to crack and the Sun began to spread its heat to the houses and the sparse patches of nature until everything began to burn. Ku’oosh, the leader of the planet, led a throng of us to a small shuttle. We followed although we had no idea where we were going. Shielded in tents of protective garments and frantically gathering our offspring, we were led to a small opening where the shuttle sat, engines roared as the sky became a deep ember that looked as if it was on fire itself.

The heat made my head spin and my throat dry. I was by myself, with no family to tend to and no one to take with me to a destination that was unclear.

“I heard there is ice-cream where we are going!” One Nibiru inhabitant said behind me. He seemed excited. That was the last thing I remember before we reached Earth. A place I had only heard about in secret. It was a place we were never supposed to never talk about.

It is the last planet left.

I am not sure how much time passed between arriving here and now. I found myself alone in the middle of a patch of what looks like what we had on Nibiru, but more of it; green and itchy and smelling of a dish we would eat on Nibiru. There were no others with me, just a parachute beside me and a sky I had never seen before all around me.

It’s strange here. The inhabitants look odd and they have five fingers and toes instead of four. I don’t think they are friendly here. The inhabitants seem hostile and I have no idea where the rest of my own went.

I am alone under what I heard was called “a bridge” with noisy metal things above me going back and forth.

But I did see a smaller inhabitant with ice cream. Not what I thought it was at all. It was soft and creamy and unlike the hard ice treats we have on Nibiru.

I think I will stay here until I see it again.

Exis from NibiruDaniel J. Sanz

Daniel Sanz

Her ashen knuckles turned whiter as Exis clutched the steering column of her craft with sweaty hands. With her home world, Nibiru, falling into the distance behind her, she had limited time to warn the people of Earth. The rogue planet had entered the solar system and a cataclysmic collision was imminent. She pressed down on the booster pedals and leaned her body into the control panel, her ship bucking in acceleration. Just ahead of her was the large, iridescent blue marble.

Exis retrieved a small jar from her supply pack. She scooped out a handful of soft white gel and quickly lathered her face and arms. Nibiru was a cold world and exposure to Earth’s sun would certainly roast her delicate pale skin.

Taking a deep breath and tightening her grip, Exis braced herself for touchdown. The vessel rocked in protest as it careened through Earth’s atmosphere. A brilliant display of light emblazoned around her and the craft accelerated towards the surface in free fall.

Exis restrained an anxious breath as her fingers wrapped around the lever at her side. The green terrain rushed up at her, and shutting her eyes she pulled up on the lever. She exhaled in relief at the snap of the parachute deploying behind her. The ship jerked and she reaffirmed her grip on the armrests. 

The ship landed hard and the impact sent it somersaulting across the soft turf. Exis struggled to remain conscious during the cartwheels. In the flurry of stones, sod, and steel the craft’s hatch detached and Exis felt herself sail through the air and tumble across the grassy field. As she skid to a spinning stop she closed her eyes and waited for her brain and stomach to follow suit. In the distance she heard the craft plunge into the lake.

She lay there and felt the warm caressing sun embrace her. Voices surrounded her and through hazy vision a man and woman came into view. She had to warn them!

And so she told them everything, about Nibiru, and the collision, and the end of the world. They listened to her as she recanted her journey. Standing over her in silence, their jaws were agape and eyes wide. She exhaled and asked them if they had any questions. The couple exchanged concerned looks, and the woman leaned in.

“Does Mr. Brown know you took his wheelchair again?”

Exis sat upright and looked at the gardens around her. The man and woman were both adorned in white robes, and behind them others were pulling the wheelchair out of the pool, a row of sheets tied to the handles.

“Patient 4A,” said the man, “and is that ice cream all over her face?”

They helped her wobble to her feet.

“Brad, you can go ahead and clock out,” the woman instructed, “I’ll get Alexis back to her room.”

Brad nodded and watched the doctor lead Alexis away, muttering something about gravity sickness. He sighed, punched his timecard on the clock and walked off shaking his head.

“Aliens and ice cream, where do they come up with this stuff?”

Area 31

Danielle Lee Zwissler

Danielle Lee Zwissler

Arias watched the giant screen in front of her section with rapt attention. Nibiru, her home planet, was about to enter the solar system once more, and it was the first time that any of their generation would be able to come above the rocky surface. Planning had started nearly sixty years before as the scrolls from the Nibiru, nearly 500,000 years ago, had predicted the timeframe. Arias and a few others were planning an escape. 

Arias climbed through the tunnel, and made her way around to the larger observation deck. She was part of Nibiru’s Squadron Team 762. She was in charge of interplanetary weathering. What that entailed was punching a time clock each morning and taking samples of the different rock surfaces of Nibiru and to test them for signs of hydrothermal activity. 

“How fast is it heating?” Firot asked as he walked into the deck. 

Arias, looked at her microscope once again and down at the last of the samples. 

“We should be okay to go up soon. The sun isn’t close enough to us though, so we’ll need to use the heat suits.” 

Firot leaned in toward Arias and whispered into her ear. “Will the parachutes work with those suits?”

Arias took a deep breath and nodded. “They should. I’ve tested them with some flame retardant chemicals. There’s still a chance though.”

“We have to take it. I don’t want to be stuck down here any longer. It isn’t safe under the new rule.” Firot looked over his left shoulder. “I fear we don’t have enough time.”

“I know,” Arias spoke. “We mustn’t let anyone know any of this, only you, Fhian and myself.” Arias looked nervous as she picked up her last sample and handed it to Firot. “You have to take this back to Fhian. It was under observation, and I switched it with my last one.”

Firot nodded. “I’ll leave as soon as that guard on quadrant one goes to the ambassador.”

“What about you? Have you heard any new messages?” Firot worked in the communication sector. His Squadron, 792, built Satellite detectors and homing beacons. Arias tested different chemicals on them so they could survive the weather above the surface.

“The last I heard from the earthlings was some sort of music about 31 flavors.” 

“Of what?” Arias asked, intrigued.

“Something called Ice Cream.”

“Sounds dangerous,” Arias commented. “I wonder what it means.” Arias tilted her head. “It is important that we know everything that we can about them; I’m worried that we don’t have enough information. Like this Ice Cream. Do you think it could help us in any way?”

 “I don’t see how it could hurt us. I mean, look at the surface. We’ve been above a few times, and we have a lot of ice.”

“Anything from Fhian?” Arias asked.

“He’s different since hearing the latest audio. If we make it to earth, he wants to be known as Kimber, and that he won’t put up with any interference.”

“He listened to Girl in the Gears on the audio wave?” Arias asked, and Firot nodded. “Ah, good book. Lovely historical document.”

“Yes, quite.”

String TheoryRichard Russell

Richard Russell  

“Lateral stabilizers, left and right.   Check.  

Rotational vector, auto correct.  Check.  

Axis torque, thirty minus ten.” 

“Navigator, tweak the magnetic field around the southern pole 2 degrees to red phase, and pull back on all integrated flux ribbons over the equator to 500!”

“Yes, Sir.” 

With Captain Garble at the helm, the rogue Nibiru planet spun through the galaxy with astounding speed.  An expert at steering the planet, Garble had not just graduated flight school with honors; he possessed 30 years’ experience guiding Nibiru through deep space. “Thirty years!”  He thought to himself, “Maybe today I’ll finally see my replacement.”

The captain checked the prevailing wind patterns over continents A, B and C.  Satisfied everything was in order, he leaned back in his chair, awaiting his trainee’s arrival.

Private Luggie was scheduled to meet Captain Garble at four ticks before lunch. 

So proud their son was selected for the prestigious training, his parents threw a massive “send off” block party, inviting everyone in the modules to come. They served ice cream in edible cups, a rare treat for everyone living in the huge housing complex.

Luggie burst through the door of the flight deck a full 15 tocks late for his first hands-on flight lesson. He was still eating his ice cream from the party as he hurriedly punched the time clock and scrambled to attention before his instructor.

“Private Luggie reporting for training, Sir.”

“You’re LATE, private!” snapped Garble. “This ain’t no picnic, Private. Ditch the ice cream!”

“Sir, yes Sir!” snapped Luggie, and he set the ice cream cone on a shelf next to the captain’s chair.  

“Be professional, man! This is a tremendous responsibility which requires a mature, level head and nerves of steel.”

The captain reached under his chair, pulled out a yellow inflatable Personal Space Survival Suit (P.S.S.S.) and put it on.

Luggie inquired, “Captain, why are you donning your parachute?”

“Regulations, private; regulations.”

The private noticed a thread hanging from the lapel of the captain’s P.S.S.S. and picked it off.  But as he pulled it, the suit suddenly inflated… 


In an instant the captain was transformed into a round ball three measures in diameter, causing the ice cream to fall off the shelf and plop onto the flight console.  

Gasps of horror seeped into the still air as all eyes in the room locked onto the ice cream.  There was a spark, some sizzling, and smoke swirled up; then the entire console shut down.

“Oops!” the private exclaimed.

Inside the inflated PSSS suit, a muffled inquiry, barely audible, was heard “What?  What!”

A sudden, violent shift in the planet’s rotational spin threw everyone to the floor. The massive planet veered off course, heading straight into an adjacent solar system.

Everyone in the room scrambled to don their PSSS’s.

 “Phoop!”  “Phoop!”  “Phoop!”  “Phoop!”…

Private Luggie turned back to the viewer.

A large blue planet filled the entire screen.


The Iron Writer Challenge 2015 Summer Solstice Preliminary Round, P.D. Eastman Bracket

The Iron Writer Challenge #118

2015 Summer Solstice Preliminary Round

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements


P. D. Eastman Bracket

The Authors:

Alis Van Doorn, Tina Biscuit, E. Chris GarrisonMathew W. Weaver

The Elements:


A time clock
Ice cream
A Parachute
Told from POV of an alien on the planet Nibiru, as the Nibiru enters our solar system.

Nibiru technology is no greater or worse than Earth’s.

Planet PercyAlis Van Doorn

Alis Van Doorn

Never, ever, in the history of the solar system, has a creature been more tried and bedeviled than I, Percy Hazelwood Lieder.  And really, do I look like I want to be training a young snapper whip in the delicate intricacies of confusing and obfuscating the very fact of us, do I, do I, do I?

No, in fact, I do not.  Really at a time when I should be resting on my distinguished antlers, contemplating my glorious retirement, basking in the admiration of all and now this, now this, now this!

“Uh, Commander Lieder…”

“Don’t call me Commander!  I am not a Commander, I am CEO of a private arms firm!  Far more important than a measly Commander!”

“Now, what is it?”

“Uh, Sir, it’s just that I was wondering if you could tell me what the Sapiens are eating in this satellite imaging view.  It looks so good.” 

“Oh good God! Really, Really, Really?”

“It’s ice cream, you cretin wannabe!”

“Now get back to your obscuring channel, and make damn sure they can’t see us until I say so! Which will be just shy of ten minutes too late for them, for them, for them!”

“Uh, Sir…Lieder, I was wondering when we get there, do you think I’ll get a chance to try some of that ice cream stuff? Its looks so tasty, I bet I could eat about a gallon!”

I took a deep sigh, reminded myself that the end goal was all that mattered; that and the fact that my entire retirement, my ‘Golden Parachute’ was conditional on the successful completion of that goal. Patience, that’s what I needed.

“Look young Leonis, if you don’t want to be punching a time clock in solitary splendor, all by yourself on Outpost Wastespace, till the end of your days, you’ll   immediately return to your station and do your job. Which, I repeat, is to obscure Nibiru’s presence until the exact moment I give you the order to clarify. Too early, and we land there with no destruction of the sapiens.  Too late and we destroy the whole planet. Which, again, I remind you, we must have intact with no sapiens in order to colonize. We clearly don’t have time to start over with an entire new infrastructure. And in order for my company to profit, with the penal colony we intend to export, by arming them to the teeth, we can’t have any sapiens there interfering with all that compassion crap. And this is what my beloved, lusted after, waited for, Golden Parachute rests on. Capiche?”

“Uh yes, Sir Percy. Clear.  But, I was just wondering, have you ever had ice cream?”

Naturally, I screamed at the idiot: You can certainly see why, no, no, no?

15 minutes to go, go, go….and What the Feather of an Alien’s Ass……?

“Leonis”, I roared…

“I’m sorry Sir, I mean Percy Hazelwood Lieder….but I really, really wanted some ice cream, ice cream, ice cream!”

Bee Afraid

Tina Biscuit

I am transmitting this while our planet is on a merging pattern with the planet earth. Although we have made all logical contingency plans, it is not certain how much of our technology will survive in the event of a direct impact; postponed telepathy is our chosen method of communication for the benefit of all. Telepathy has been the main contact with earth; a lot of them have the ability, and have agreed Nibiru is the more likely planet to survive.

We have made use of the large crater at our Southern pole, and have filled it with ice-cream, which, mixed with the salts in the sand, should fulfill their nutritional needs. 

Our first guest has arrived: A comet-dwelling being, named Philae. It was a successful landing, despite his immense size. Philae was equipped with a parachute to slow the fall. We don’t recognise his exact species, but he has been helping us with the preparations to accept the remaining nine billion evacuees. Philae thinks the Earth-dwellers are fairly robust, and we have communicated the details they need to time the main leap. 

Philae informed us the mammals on Earth spend 33% of their time in a horizontal torpor and 66% vertically inclined; punching a time-clock takes up the remaining 1%, and he believes this facilitates the transition between the two states. He is not certain how many of them realize what is about to happen. They sound similar to the mammals we used to have on Niburu, and are already running out of food. Their crops are already starting to fail, and the pollen is getting a strange taste, similar to what we experienced here. Philae claims that the mammals built his exoskeleton, but we still haven’t confirmed this. A movable hive seems like a sensible solution, but further investigation is required.

Impact has been announced, confirmed to be at the south pole as anticipated. Transferal is in progress, and seems to be successful. The vanilla flavour was a good choice.

Transferal is complete, casualties are minimal. The crater is full and they are forming a huddle, slowly rolling North towards the temperate zones.

The Earth is suffering severely with tectonic compressions and the resulting volcanic activity. The mammals are perishing as predicted. Despite our persistent warnings, they don’t seem to have reacted in any numbers; hopefully enough will survive to re-grow their swarm. The transfer is now complete and we can continue.

Philae has relayed a message of condolence to Earth; the mammals’ technology is very slow, compared to us. He is a good lander; we will try to find him a suitable comet to continue his research.

Stranger DangerEric Garrison

E. Chris Garrison

The clock kerchunked holes in Rhalf’s timedisk as he started his shift at the Great Telepascope. He passed Saim going the other way. The two exchanged a knowing nod, and Rhalf knew he’d have bags under several of his own eyes before this thirdday was over. Rhalf grabbed a tube of chilled kelp paste, looking forward to its stimulating effects on his skin.

Rhalf made his careful way across the strandwalk, four appendages gripping the cables, never letting go more than two at a time. It wouldn’t do to plunge to his death in the Telepascope’s vast parabolic bowl below. Would it break the budget to supply a safety net or even a parachute? He double-wound a free appendage around the kelp paste, because even a rare telempath like Rhalf could be replaced if he made a mess.

At the center, he greeted Jhain, the medical technician. As he, no, she helped him into the telempathic amplification harness, her touch-taste gave him chills. Jhain had just undergone her second metamorphosis, so Rhalf struggled to use the right pronouns. He’d have to adjust to the new sexual dynamic, too.

“Running outta time, slick stuff,” said Jhain.

“I’ll do my best to warn them, gloweyes!”

Her skin flushed a sweet shade of deep purple, and she left him without another word.

Rhalf closed all but one of his eyes and opened his mind. The Telepascope amplified thoughts and emotions from the inhabited planet ahead. Chaos filled his being. Stress settled into his limbs. His planet, Nibiru, hurtled inward toward the Earthlings’ star, and a catastrophic encounter with their blue world. The tidal forces on all that surface water alone—


Rhalf’s mind connected with one of the aliens’, and he was overwhelmed with its sensations. He touch-tasted the sweet flavor of a cold, highly viscous substance the immature being licked with her tiny olfactory organ. The creature’s mind supplied words: Strawberry ice cream.

Rhalf concentrated on sending a rapid-fire set of images to the Earthling. The creature’s pretty blue world. His char-black world of Nibiru, a rogue planet with no star of its own. The nested orbital ellipses of the other planets in her solar system. The eccentric path Nibiru would take, its perihelion only a few distances greater than Earth’s enormous rocky satellite. Rhalf gave off a sense of alarm, escalating to terror, and filled her head with the putrid touch-scent of the dead.

Then, he sent another thought: Do you understand?

The girl nodded. She demonstrated by hurling her amorphous treat into the face of her maternal parent. Splat!

The larger Earthling slapped one of its appendages against the girl’s posterior. “You know better than that!”

Waves of remorse overwhelmed Rhalf, and he had to break contact. The girl’s wail, through his voice, echoed in the Telepascope’s hollow.

Shaking, Rhalf smeared the cool, stimulating kelp onto his skin. After, his mind returned to scanning the distant thoughts and feelings of Earth. I wonder if kelp could be made in strawberry?

When the Worlds EndedMathew W Weaver

Mathew W. Weaver


Not the most encouraging words to hear your president scream out on the podium in front of the United Nations. But you couldn’t blame him, really. Not after the huge sphere ballooned up in the sky and then hurling down in a hail of blazing debris.

Then came the screaming chaos, and the literally world shattering crunch.

I should have been dead; but for some reason, I was dangling uncomfortably on twisted ropes. Above me was an open cloth balloon, and right beside me hung a pink skinned creature with yellow hair and the most offensive body odor I’d had the misfortune of sampling.

My first alien encounter.

We’d screamed for a while; first at each other, then at the endless clouds beneath us, and then for no general reason in particular.

Now that we’d grown tired of screaming, we stared down at the vast blue emptiness beneath us.

It was illogical; maybe I was dead and dreaming.  It was hard to accept that the tinfoil wearing Terra Conspiracy activists were right; that Urle really was on a crash collision with a planet they dubbed Terra.

But here I was, sharing a parachute with a Terran who was now clearing his throat uncomfortably.

“Hello,” I ventured.

“Hey,” he swallowed, “I’ve never seen… blue skin… before. I guess you’re from Niburu?”

“Niburu?” I frowned.

“The planet that crashed into ours,” he pointed up.

“Urle,” I corrected, “Yeah. I… I’m from Urle. So, um… you’re Terran?”

“I think you mean human?”

“I suppose so, maybe.”



We both looked away.

“Do you… would you happen to know how we got here?” he asked.

“Last thing I knew, the president ordered a warp drive factor on all available flight capable crafts,” I said, “I think they were plotted to a moon somewhere in the Zebu cluster. I was in my minivan, shifting up.”

I twisted my tentacles nervously.

The Terran reached up to pop his jaw back in.

“Well, the last thing I knew, I was jumping out of a plane,” he said, “That’s when… boom.” 

“Maybe my warp drive malfunctioned,” I suggested, “Sent me here instead of… there.”

“That would make sense,” he agreed, “I guess.”

“Why were you jumping out of a plane?”

“Dunno. Seemed like a good idea at the time.”

I shrugged.

He sniffed, “So this is the end of the world.”

“Worlds,” I corrected.

“Gonna miss it, though,” he sighed, “Booze. Ice cream. Drugs.”

I wiped the corner of my fifth eye.

“I wish I had Dad’s lucky time clock just about now,” I murmured, “Never left home without it.”

“I’m sorry,”

“It’s alright. Nothing you could do.”

We lapsed into silence, drifting some more.

“Where d’ you reckon we are?” he wondered.


“Was my first guess.”

“Maybe we warped to some close by planet,”

“Was close to my second guess.”

I looked at him, pale and ugly as he was.

“Well, we’re in this together,” I said.

“For better or worse,” he agreed.

There had to be something beneath those clouds, and my antenna trembled as we descended.

The worlds had ended, and the future was waiting.