Illustration by Gerd Altmann (Pixabay)

Hazard lights flash along the corridor. An automated voice counts down minutes until the terraforming shuttle leaves. Workers gather at the job board, an ancient flat screen that flickers when you touch it.

Dozer groans. “I got rocks again.”

Mouse peers over shoulders. At home, his wife nurses a newborn he won’t see for months. He really needs this promotion if they want to move to a larger unit.

“I got life.”

Faces twist with jealousy.

“It’s just microbes,” he explains.

But they all know one DNA mistake creates an extinction virus. His employers will terminate, not fire him.

I wrote this in response to Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s weekly 99-word challenge:

June 25, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story with the phrase, “I got life.” It can be told from any point of view. What meaning does it lend to your story? Go where the prompt leads!