Adam kneels before scientists covered head to toe in white, except for their gold face shields. Martian soil has teethed this row of astrobiologists. Their semicircle bites into the horizon, swallowing wind.

Within their protective wall, Adam reverently places psychrophilic bacteria that resemble flattened broccoli, puke yellow in color. Despite the negative 81-degree temperatures, the bacteria spreads one centimeter per year. Absorbing carbon dioxide, breathing trace amounts of oxygen, this miniscule life form will eventually yield to plants, then trees.

The scientists hope, one day many millennia from now, humans will rise again from this garden to subdue it.

This story was written in response to Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s 99-word challenge. Here is the prompt:

July 23, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to show what it is to protect nature around us. It can be set in any era or told in any genre. You can fictionalize a true story or completely make it up. Go where the prompt leads!