IMoA Catalog: Mona Terra

Alan P. Scott - Fictions

prerequisite for Art 101

IMOA Catalog:  Mona Terra

Date:  unknown, no more than 50,000 BIU
Artist(s):  unknown
Style:  faux-Classic Imperial
Medium:  planet, radiation

  Galactic society owes a tremendous debt to the unknown civilization 
of artists who sacrificed the entire habitable surface of their home 
planet to create the enigmatic face of the "Mona Terra."  (The name 
has been assigned to the work by the Museum staff, based on 
interpretations of writings found on the planet's surface - it is 
unknown what name, if any, the indigenes had for the piece.) The 
ethereal beauty of this work of art, as well as its sheer size, speak 
of incredible artistic dedication. 

  There has been some controversy about including this exhibit, since 
it appears from analysis of various text fragments found on the 
surface of the work that some of the participants objected strongly 
to their inclusion in it.  However, it seemed obvious to the Museum 
Acceptance Committee that such a tremendous effect could not have 
been achieved without the enthusiastic cooperation of the majority 
of the planet's aesthetes, and so it was decided to bring this 
unparalleled experience to you without further deliberation. 

  As you approach this solar system from above the Ecliptic, slow to
sublight speed and establish an asynchronous orbit keeping station 
in the shadow of the third planet, in the equatorial plane (mind the 
large satellite!) approximately 7 diameters from the surface.  Allow 
your optical receptors to adjust to the dimness of the unlighted 
side.  In no more than a dozen gstu, the hemisphere you seek will 
rotate into view. 

  There, on the black surface of this barren planet, you will see 
the glowing green outlines of the Face, its eyes, nostrils and 
pedipalps all conforming with eerie accuracy (considering how little 
contact the inhabitants of this world must have had with the 
Intergalactic Union) to the classical pre-Union Imperial ideal of 

  Look quickly, for the half-life of the radioactives responsible 
for the Mona Terra's inscrutable expression is less than a 
quarter-turn of the local Galactic wheel, and the Museum's efforts 
at restoration have been forced to a halt by recent budgetary 
decisions.  (If you should choose to make a tax-deductible donation, 
Museum staff are available at the nearest gas giant to help you.)


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