Safe

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
On a solo expedition to the Moon, Commander Jeremy Goodwin experiences technical difficulties, and has a close encounter.

Submitted: May 17, 2017

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Submitted: May 17, 2017

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The vast expanse of space filled the circular window of the Lunar Explorer craft. Commander Jeremy Goodwin let out a deep sigh. Already the second day of the journey, yet he still found it difficult to turn away from the magnificent view of his home planet, which was now just a blue ball suspended in space. It was everything he had always dreamed of as a boy, playing Astronaut in a makeshift refrigerator box spaceship.

Now a grown man, he was free floating inside a space craft on a course to the Earth’s moon. The Commander had been chosen to man the first lunar exploration mission in 50 years, and to celebrate that achievement with a live broadcast. There were already those eagerly awaiting him to begin broadcasting back to Earth; from his excited colleagues at NASA, to the conspiracy theorists hoping to catch a glimpse of alien life, or other-worldly structures on the surface. Which of course was ridiculous, even if there were any sort of buildings on the lunar surface, a team of officials back home would be sure those images never appeared publicly. A grin played across his face, that sounded like something his sister would say.

Alarms sounding from the spacecraft’s console stirred him out of his thoughts, and with a soft push against the metal wall, he headed towards the main control panel. The motion activated lights switched on and he began the inspection for the source of the warning. Everything appeared normal; still on course, atmospheric levels within safe parameters. Goodwin double glanced at the Oxygen dial, the red needle rapidly bounced back and forth from one end of the gauge to the other.

Switching on the communication link with ground control, he muttered a curse under his breath, the screen only flickered with grey and white static. After fiddling with the various nobs and buttons, he settled on smacking the side of the terminal, “Goodwin to ground control.”

“This is ground control. Go ahead Commander.”
The voice came through, but still no visual. He glanced once more at the meter. Back to normal readings.

“Morning G.C.,” Goodwin responded turning back to the com-terminal, “I seem to have lost visual communication, but can you hear me okay?”

“Loud and clear Commander. We seem to be experiencing a lot of interference, too much to transmit visual. I’ll get the kids on it as soon as we can. How’s the weather up there?”

“Clear skies and smooth sailing. Listen, I’m getting abnormal readings from the Oxygen gauge. However, other atmospheric meters are normal. Anything irregular on your end?”

“Negative. All readings are optimal. Likely the same interference. Keep an eye on it, Commander. Let us know if anything changes, and we will do the same. While we’ve got you, begin preparing the Rover for broadcast before you get into Lunar proximity. They want you broadcasting the moment you’re within view of the Moon. We’ll be in touch.”

Goodwin rolled his eyes, there wouldn’t be much to broadcast if he suffocated before reaching the Moon, “Roger that control,” he said half sarcastically, “Signing off.” He lifted an arm to switch off the terminal; but as he glanced once again at the oxygen meter, the red dial seemed to flicker as if mocking him, he opted for turning it to stand-by.

The broadcasting equipment was nothing more than a glorified adventure camera, one of those point-of-view devices normally strapped to the helmet of an average thrill seeker hoping for their fifteen minutes of Internet fame. With the remote streaming capabilities, Goodwin would easily be able to send live footage back to Earth as he took his first steps onto the surface of the moon. In the morning, he would take his place in the history books, or at least go viral for a few weeks.

As he mounted the camera onto the helmet of his spacesuit a dull thud from the external hull of the craft made his hand slip, nearly scratching the glass visor of the helmet with the small screwdriver in his hand. He tucked the tool into a pocket and quickly went about investigating the source of the noise. Goodwin peeked out of the small window, but there was nothing to be seen from that angle. Most likely a rock, or piece of debris, that was not uncommon. Space was not as empty as it appeared to be.

Suddenly the cabin went dark, the only light source coming from the small window. The commander waved his arms about, thinking maybe he had been still for too long. But the motion activated lights did not turn back on. He frantically felt around his utility belt and grabbed his flashlight, “This is not good.”

Stationing himself by the main console he flipped every switch, jiggled every connection, unsuccesfully. His thoughts raced to find a solution. How many times had he gone over this in training? How many times had he been tossed into fatal scenarios with near impossible solutions? It was different here. Reality began settling in. The reality that he was drifting in space. Alone. Without power. He shook his head attempting to rid those thoughts from it. There was a solution and he would find it.

A silver beam of light illuminated the control panel. He turned toward the source. The window. Once again he looked out amongst the stars, billions of tiny white lights flickering in the darkness. His eyes widened as he realized he was not looking at stars. Certainly, they were bright lights, flickering, but they were also moving, and much closer than the stars. Whatever they were, they were now swarming the craft, twinkling as they flew past the window.

“They look like lightning bugs..” He watched them incredulously for what seemed like hours. Only when the warning alarms began going off, and the emergency lights turn on, did he look away. Goodwin raced back to the console, the cabin was lit only by a dim blue light now, although amplified by the silver glow of whatever was swarming his craft. He switched on the communication terminal, but his stomach churned as he noticed the atmosphere meters. The Oxygen levels were at zero.

“Goodwin to ground control.”

Static.

“This is Commander Jeremy Goodwin, come in ground control.”

His breathing hastened.

“This is an emergency. I repeat come in ground control!”

There was nothing. Except, he thought he heard something. He leaned closer, putting an ear to the terminal speakers. Yes! There it was…music. A gentle, melodic chiming was coming through. The terminal could be picking up an old radio broadcast. Although, he had never heard music quite like this. It was strangely calming.

Something pulled Goodwin back to the window. The lights were just a blur now. He had never seen lightning bugs move that fast before. They weren’t just swarming. What were they doing? He inhaled deeply, the music filling his head as serenity washed over him. He was breathing. How was he breathing?

The dazzling silver glow filled the window, and it poured into the cabin like a waterfall glistening in moonlight. The emergency lighting was a match flickering in the breeze compared to the ethereal light now illuminating the cabin. Goodwin attempted to shield his eyes, and the music that was filling his ears became voices. They were attempting to communicate with him. Who were they? What were they? He tried to ask but found he could not speak, but he understood. He would be safe. In the blink of an eye, the effervescent glow, and the mystifying swarming creatures vanished. Along with the astronaut.

He was safe.


© Copyright 2017 Samantha Michelle. All rights reserved.

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