Aldo crested the dune to watch the oncoming locust storm. His nuclear, blue eyes glanced up at a flickering sky as insects obscured the sun. This desert was once sea-grass beds, Eucalyptus, and heathlands two-hundred-thousand years ago. After the asteroid battered and broiled the planet, vegetation had been stripped like skin from a carcass, but now new species of rugged flora thrived.

The swarm pelted against his hard skin and there was nothing to do but wait it out. Burying himself into the soft sand, he endured and ruminated on the fate of his ancestors, long gone ghosts embodied in a promise of resurrection and redemption. However, there would be no resurrection, not if he had anything to do with it and he was everything to do with it.

Days, perhaps weeks later—it mattered not to him—the blizzard-of-ninety-billion-wings passed, and he dug himself out from the shifting land. Dead bodies and grit slid from his translucent, aerogel skin under a clear, moonless night. As though a dusting of diamonds had frosted to the flanks of Nótt’s raven stallion, Hrímfaxi, the cosmos glittered and shimmered. Something stirred in his quantum mind, and he spoke aloud from the Poetic Edda, ancient words created in a time of Norse Gods and Goddesses:


“Hrimfaxi name they, the steed that anew
Brings night for the noble gods;
Each morning foam from his bit there falls,
And thence come the dews in the dales.”


An errant locust plinked against his chest and dropped to his feet. Carefully, he stepped over the living creature and continued on in his final mission across the wrinkled sulci sand.