In Passing: Dione (foreground) and Titan (background), photographed by Cassini, 10th April 2010.
Animation by yrs truly.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI.
Fade in: A field of stars. They do not twinkle, because we are in space, but they ripple slightly, from tape stretch. #AlienV
Cut to: Another starfield, but now a fraction of the globe of a planet invades the screen from the right, with glacial slowness. #AlienV
The planet is sludge grey, rust brown, black, dirty white. Light glints lazily off terminal seas. A gritty storm spins. It is Earth. #AlienV
Cut: Now Earth fills the screen. Before it, a space station like a nightmare of Mir, drifts downscreen. It tumbles slowly as it does #AlienV
There is music now, where before there was only the Silent Space Rumble before. It is the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem. #AlienV
Inside the station: The interior a rotting steel cathedral, long abandoned. A montage of disuse, cracked plastic, discarded pinups. #AlienV
And now the uproar of inrushing air; garbage scurries into corners and shadows cringe back from the first flickering lights. #AlienV
Montage: Illuminated buttons light up on control consoles. Tape squeals. Beeps beep. Stenciled letters: DOCKING BAY 1. #AlienV
Doors crack open, gear back. Pistons retract. Light spills in. 6 figures in robes - no 7, there’s a smaller one between them - enter #AlienV
The 6 figures all have breathing apparatus, masks and air hoses emerging from their cowls. The 7th does not. They proceed. #AlienV
A dark vaulted cavern. The only light comes from the Earth below, which fills a window. But there’s a silhouette between it and us. #AlienV
The massed chorus of the Lacrimosa builds. Each vocalist sings softly, but together they generate a cataclysmic sound. #AlienV
The lights in the cavern snap on. A flight of broad stairs climbs towards the window. At the top, glowing white, is a stasis chamber #AlienV
The stasis chamber is a hypersleep pod. A frozen dream. A shining glass prison for body and soul. The figures file into shot. #AlienV
The smaller one kneels at the foot of the stairs and throws back her hood. It is ANNALEE CALL. Or, at least, a CALL. An android. #AlienV
The rest of the delegation split into two ranks of three and ascend the stairs on either side of CALL. She prays, whispering. #AlienV
They surround the pod, dark draped figures. Funerial. Now we can see the inhabitant thru the foggy glass. It is ELLEN RIPLEY. #AlienV
Behind RIPLEY, the Earth turns. Antarctica wheels past and, for a moment, frames her head in a ragged, icy halo. #AlienV
The pallbearers lift RIPLEY’s pod. Inside, she is motionless, illuminated. The chorus has almost reached its crescendo, when we cut- #AlienV
Down. McMurdo City. A girl in a parking lot smoking a cigarette looks up as a star streaks to the horizon. The music falls silent. #AlienV
Under her fur coat, you can see a threadlike pink bikini and the pneumatic, Californicated body of strippers everywhere #AlienV
But her skin is shiny and pitch black, like patent leather, and where her face should be there is only a smooth domed skull. #AlienV
She flicks the butt away, trailing sparks. Behind her, a neon sign flashes English and the dense triangular script of Xenotongue. #AlienV
Elsewhere: Dogs bark. Newspapers tumble in the Antarctic wind and catch against chainlink fences. Gloomy buildings huddle together. #AlienV
A procession, on a grubby, icy street. CALL leads, followed by RIPLEY’s casket on a humming antigrav sled, shepherded by the others. #AlienV
As CALL advances into the camera, we see one of her arms raised to hold a pendant. Her arm is fire-damaged, plastic slightly melted. #AlienV
It is a scrap of metal, bent and hammered into a cross. Stamped into the horizontal, preserved: A long serial number, then: NOSTROMO #AlienV
CALL closes on the camera, blocking it completely. The screen is black. Then a word: ALIEN. Then: ALIEN: V. Then: ALIEN: VENERATION. #AlienV
Join us next time for… Whatever comes into my head.
No Analogy: Seven images taken by LCROSS lunar mission, 22nd June 2009.
These images were taken the day before LCROSS’ first swingby of the moon. Your guess is as good as mine.
Image credit: NASA.