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The Moon Triada

by Rachel Aikema 2 months ago in Sci Fi
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A routine inspection of the Cornerstone galaxy, finds Martin Hubbard in a life-threatening situation, uncovering the secret plot of the Moon Triada's General to take over the Universe.

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. On a routine inspection of the Cornerstone galaxy, Martin Hubbard was no longer convinced this was true.

“Did you hear that?” He said to his shuttle mate.

“Hear what?” Daksha said.

He wasn’t supposed to be this close to the Cornerstone galaxy’s edge, but he had to find the cause of this strange sound.

“I think someone is in trouble,” Martin said.

Daksha got up from her seat and came to the front of the shuttle to peer out the window. “There’s nothing out there for millions of miles. Wait.” She narrowed her eyes at Martin and grabbed the Navgo from Martin’s hands.

“Hey!” he said, trying to reach for it again, but Daksha was quicker. She opened the Navgo and a hologram screen appeared in front of her, showing their current location and trajectory in Cornerstone. “What the heck!! We aren’t supposed to be over here!” Daksha closed the Navgo and tried to grab hold of the gearshift on the control panel so she could stop the shuttle from flying further. Martin had to press his body against her to block her reach.

“Stop it, you’re going to get us killed!” he muttered between breaths.

Daksha quit reaching for the gearshift and stared at Martin with her mouth agape. “ME!?” she exclaimed. “You got to be joking mate, if you cross the border into the Central galaxy, it’s you that will get us killed!”

“I won’t I’ll be careful.” When Daksha didn’t look convinced, he added, “I’ve done this on the last two inspections.”

“Who would let you get this far?”

Martin gave her a knowing glance and Daksha lifted her hand to her face. “Roscoe. That guy really is good for nothing, hunh,” she said, the last part to just herself.

Daksha put her hands on her hips. “Wait, what about the Shuttle Log? They’ll know we’ve been here!”

Martin shrugged. “Nah, I know how to delete anything on there that could be incriminating.”

Daksha was increasingly annoyed at Martin for not telling her what they were doing so close to the border and partially annoyed he never told her he could delete coordinates on the Shuttle Log. She shoved him with her hands.

“Hey!” Martin yelled.

“Well! What are we doing!?”

“Investigating.”

“Investigating what?”

“Shhh!”

“I will no-“

“SHHHH!” Martin reached up and grazed his fingers along Daksha’s mouth.

Daksha finally went quiet. Nothing could be heard but the sound of the shuttle engine’s hum.

Martin looked crestfallen. “You don’t hear it,” he said. Roscoe didn’t hear it before either, but Martin assumed that was because that guy didn’t pay attention to anything other than his Loot-go. He was so excited when Daksha was assigned to inspect the galaxy’s quarters with him. He thought for sure she would hear it too.

“All I hear is the engine. Sorry,” Daksha said.

Martin sighed. “I’ve been hearing this same scream for the past two, now three days in a row. Always around here, but every time I come here there’s nothing out there.

“You couldn’t possibly hear a scream. It’s probably in your head.”

“That’s what I thought the first time, but this is real! Why else would I keep hearing it?”

“Explain why I can’t hear it then?”

Martin opened his mouth and then closed it, sagging his shoulders. “I can’t. You just- you have to trust me. I promise.”

There was a long silence and Martin could tell Daksha was weighing her options.

She finally said, “Alright. But you better be serious about this whole delete the shuttle log nonsense. You’re going to have to show me that one.”

“Not a chance.” Martin smiled. “It’s gonna make me a very valuable inspection partner.”

Martin whipped his head around to the right window of the shuttle. A guttural scream sounded from somewhere close. It was much deeper; he could hardly call it a scream anymore. It was more like a wail. He squinted his eyes, still nothing.

Daksha opened the Navgo again. “Oh no. We’re literally about to cross into the Central Galaxy. You better steer us away.”

“I told you I can delete the log.”

“I don’t give a damn about the log! I don’t want to get caught by the Rangers! You know what they’d do to us if we get caught trespassing?”

“Yeah,” Martin said. “I know, they’d kill us.”

Daksha let out a fake laugh. “You WISH they’d kill us! They’d bring us to Venus, hang us by our hands and torture us! Until we begged to be left for the scorching heat to kill us!”

Martin shook his head. “You listen to too many campfire stories. Sounds like something Roscoe would say. Maybe you should stop inspecting with him.”

“They’re true stories,” Daksha said through gritted teeth. “And we don’t get to choose who we go with.”

“Yeah, I know, or you’d choose me every time, hunh?” Martin playfully nudged her with his elbow.

Daksha heaved a big sigh as she watched the Navgo begin to beep, and the shuttle hologram was shown to be passing the border into the Central galaxy. The shade of the hologram changed from a light blue to an inferno red, indicating that they were not supposed to be here. “Not anymore I wouldn’t.”

Martin had his eyes out of the shuttle, scanning the space in front of them. “Just calm down. I’ve told you I’ve done this before.” A lie he felt guilty about as soon as it left his lips. He had never crossed the border before, knowing that even though Roscoe was a complete moron, he would notice the alarm from the Navgo.

His reassurance didn’t make Daksha any less nervous about crossing borders. Her voice was barely above a whisper, heartbeat thudding against her ribcage. “I don’t care, Martin. Please take us back! We’re gonna get killed!”

“Shh! I hear it again!”

There it was. Louder than he had heard before. Martin gave Daksha a sideways glance to see if she noticed it too. No movement. She was still staring at the Navgo. He could see her eyebrow’s creasing and she started to squeeze at her stomach; she was always doing that when she was nervous.

Martin thrusted the accelerator forward and the shuttle picked up speed. There was no denying that they had left the Cornerstone galaxy now.

Daksha had her eyes closed now, too scared to watch them get caught by the Central galaxy Rangers.

Martin could see something up ahead. He squinted. Was it just another planet? No, there was slight movement. His chest tightened. What if it was the Rangers? No way, he thought. They couldn’t have caught them that fast, they just barely crossed the border. He looked at Daksha who still had her eyes closed. She was murmuring something under her breath and Martin realized she was praying. He looked ahead again, guilt clouding his mind. He couldn’t let them be caught by the Rangers, he promised Daksha they would be okay. He had to be right about this. He had to prove to her he wasn’t going crazy, and he really did hear a scream.

His palm became sweaty on the accelerator, but he still didn’t let up speed. As they got closer, he could make out a person floating in space. He felt a mix of relief and excitement. It couldn’t be a Ranger, not without a ship or shuttle in sight.

“Daksha!” Martin cried. “Daksha, look!”

Daksha gingerly opened one eye, as if something was about to strike them. Upon seeing the body outstretched in front of them, she took a step back and dropped her mouth. “Oh my goodness! Who is that?!”

Martin could barely hear Daksha, his heartbeat pumping through his ears. He grabbed the gearshift and turned the shuttle slightly so they would pull up beside the wandering space traveller.

When they got close, Martin could make out a young woman, in an Aerosuit, which bore similarities to the 21st century wetsuit, with a similar, black, skin-tight design, but of course covering the whole body including a sleek helmet that disperses oxygen to its inhibitor. The downfall of the Aerosuit compared to the Acesuit that Martin and Daksha were both sporting, is its inability to sustain the wearer for a long period of time. Lasting only a handful of days max.

Martin knew that an Aerosuit’s design was like a lifejacket concept, sustain the wearer in case of dire emergency with the idea that help is close by. Usually worn on large ships with multiple crew members, however, there was nothing surrounding her. It was as if she was left to die.

“What are you doing?” Daksha asked as Martin released the gearshift and the shuttle stopped.

“What do you think? I’m going to rescue her.” He stood up and pulled the release tab on his Acesuit, which fully enclosed his hands, feet and head and began releasing oxygen throughout it.

“I don’t like this,” Daksha said, eyeing the woman. “What if it’s a trap?”

Martin rolled his eyes. “Jeeze, you’re so cynical. She’s in trouble. Or she wouldn’t have been screaming.”

Daksha grabbed Martin’s shoulder. “Exactly what she wants you to think!”

Martin shoved her arm off. “Stay here and let us back in when I knock.” Martin turned around and pulled the safety release of the door which triggered an alarm to sound throughout the ship.

“Be careful!” Daksha wailed, but Martin couldn’t hear her over the alarm. The shuttles were equipped with emergency failsafe in case the door was accidentally opened. It only opened a few inches, so no one fell out.

He squeezed himself through the crack in the door and flew out the other side, shutting the door quickly. He floated out towards the girl, only a few meters in front of him. He reached his hand out and grabbed her arm. Her eyes were closed, but they fluttered when he grabbed her. He let out a relieved breath. She was alive. He looked around. Still nothing in sight.

Martin wasn’t stupid. He knew Daksha was right. The Rangers weren’t here, but they were coming. He could think of no death worse than one on Venus. He tried to pretend that he didn’t believe such nonsense; he had been told stories of its impending hell since he was a young boy. Most of it he assumed was embellished, but stories like that are rooted in some form of truth, and he didn’t want to wait around to find out how much of it was true.

He dragged the girl to the shuttle and kicked at the door three times. The door creaked open, and Martin shoved the girl through the slit and squeezed himself through too.

The landed on the floor of the shuttle in a heap and Daksha pushed the door closed, the alarming ceasing at the same time.

Martin pressed the release tab back into his Acesuit and his helmet sucked back down into the neck of the suit, along with the hand and foot covers. He panted, looking at Daksha. “Thanks.”

Daksha was staring at the girl. She was tugging at her stomach again. She was staying near the door. Martin crept over to the girl, feeling her Aerosuit for its release mechanism. He ran his hand up her arms and behind her head until his fingers felt an incline in the material. A small latch at the nape. He pressed and rotated the latch and watched the Aerosuit’s helmet release. He expected the girl to wake up, but she continued to lay.

“What should I do?” Martin asked Daksha, now worried that they risked their lives for nothing.

Daksha walked slowly towards the girl and knelt. She had a little bit of medical knowledge from watching her parents for years and felt her neck for a pulse. It was there, slow, but there. Her eyes fluttered again.

“She’s alive, see!” Martin said, almost shoving Daksha over in his excitement.

Daksha stood and wheeled the first aid cart from underneath the control panel. She pulled out an oxygen mask and hooked it up to the tank that supplies oxygen to the shuttle. She placed the mask over the girl’s face and her eyes opened slowly.

Martin grinned and shook Daksha. “Oh my God!! You did it!”

Daksha couldn’t help but smile herself. It felt good to be useful for once.

Martin stepped over the girl and got in her face. “Hello? Who are you?”

The girl’s eyes opened wide upon seeing Martin and she sat up, scooting herself to edge of the shuttle, which was only a few feet from Martin. She looked around. There was nowhere to go. It was fairly cramped now with the three of them. The shuttle was only a seven by seven-foot square, with most of that real estate taken up by the oxygen tank and control panel to fly the shuttle.

Martin slowed his pace towards her and stayed low to the ground. “It’s okay. We just wanna talk.”

The girl was squeezing her knees, shaking. She looked at Martin and Daksha and back again.

Daksha stayed low and softened her voice. “Yeah. We aren’t going to hurt you. Swear on it.” Daksha used the universal salute of good peace, which was a finger gun using both pointer and middle finger as the barrel and the thumb outstretched, placed diagonally over her heart. “Please.”

The girl was no longer shaking. She blinked a few times and pulled the oxygen mask over her head. “I know you aren’t going to hurt me,” she said. “You just saved my life.”

Martin and Daksha exchanged smiles.

“But h-how did you find me?”

“It was Martin,” Daksha said, pointing at him. “He heard you screaming.”

The girl’s eyes grew wide. “What? I didn’t think anyone would hear me. How is that possible?”

“It shouldn’t be, I don’t know how.”

The girl slowly stood up, a puzzled expression on her face. She looked out the window of the shuttle, then down at the Navgo. Its hologram was still shining red, though Daksha had turned the volume down so you couldn’t hear the alarm beeping anymore.

“You guys aren’t supposed to be here,” the girl said, noticing the color of the Navgo.

Daksha and Martin shook their heads in unison.

“Let us take you somewhere safe? Where are you from?” Martin asked.

Daksha frowned at him. They couldn’t risk going further into the Central galaxy. Even just sitting here was dangerous; they had to move.

The girl shook her head. “I’m from Europa. I can’t ask you to take me back there.”

“Europa?!” Daksha said. “What are you doing so far away in an Aerosuit? How did you get here?”

“I was on a ship that was coming back from Earth.”

“Earth?!” Martin shrieked. “What were you doing there?”

“My people. They’re trying to create life there.”

“What?” Daksha said. “But no one’s lived there for hundreds of years. Since the Great Global warming of 2204. It’s inhabitable.”

“Was inhabitable. We’ve found a way to restore life. General Genovus is sending fleets out to begin harvesting the planet for life.”

Martin had heard of General Genovus. He was the leader of Europa, Ganymede, and Calisto, also referred to as the Moon Triada. When talked about, General Genovus was usually met with disdain, at least on Undon. He thought he was better than any of the other Generals because he was the leader of three planets instead of one. Most would argue though that since the Moon Triada was made up of moons and not planets it wasn’t the same. Martin believed this was not going anywhere promising.

“He wants to reclaim Earth,” the girl continued. “He thinks if he can get control of Earth, he can become the sole General of the Central galaxy.”

“One General for a whole galaxy? That’s mad,” Daksha said.

“Mad but possible. General Genovus is a convincing leader. He’s making promises to the people of the Moon Triada. He’s telling them he can bring back the Glory Days, but he’s just lying to them to get them to help.”

“The other galaxies would never be on board with one General. That’s too much power for one person,” Martin said.

“Well exactly, but if you’re on the side of the power, it’s hard to say no. The Moon Triada people want him to succeed. I’m sure a lot of people from other galaxies would also be interested in seeing a return the Glory Days. We never got to live when Earth thrived. We just hear stuff about it. It sounds pretty fantastic. I would be on board if I didn’t think that General Genovus is a big fat liar.”

Martin recalled stories of the Glory Days on Earth. It had seemed so fun and enchanting that he would hardly accept that there were once people out there who lived so free.

“The Glory Days on Earth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” he said. “That was back when humans believed that the Central galaxy was the only one to exist. Hell, a lot of them even believed that Earth was flat!”

“Now look who’s being cynical,” Daksha teased.

“Oh, shut up”

“Yeah, we’ve come a long way, so with what we know now, do you not think it would be even more dangerous then? To take over the galaxy and then take over the universe. Think about it. With the resources on Earth, its size, he can make an army that would - no offence to your small galaxy and the rest of them - wipe them out.”

Martin mulled this over. He supposed the girl was right. The Central galaxy was the largest of them all. In fact, he was pretty sure Cornerstone was the smallest, and being right beside Central, was likely the first to get attacked should what this girl was saying turn out to be true.

He thought of Undon, his family, his friends, his life there. He even imagined himself in a few years’ time starting a family of his own. He had never left Undon except for routine inspections. There was so much out there to explore that he hadn’t yet. It made him sad to think about, and angry. He squeezed his fists. “Okay well what can we do about it?”

The girl started to laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

She calmed down slightly but was still chuckling between each word. “Oh, ha, nothing, just, there’s nothing we can do except wait for it to happen.”

“What do you mean?”

She blinked. “I almost died. I was kicked off the ship because they knew I was spying! They knew I was plotting against them. If another planet finds out that General Genovus is trying to inhabit Earth it could destroy his progress. He needs to keep it quiet. Which means keep us quiet. If you want to die, then go for it.”

“They really kicked you off the ship?” Daksha asked.

“Well, I jumped off. They were planning to take me to Venus. And I know what they do with people there. I’d rather be deprived of oxygen than get stuck on Venus.”

Daksha flashed a knowing glance at Martin who rolled his eyes.

“What if we take you to Undon? In the Cornerstone galaxy. Maybe we can tell our General and he can help.”

“Hmm.” The girl began tapping her foot. “Do you really think they would let me on your planet? You won’t get in trouble?”

“Well, I suppose we might get in a little trouble, but they won’t kill you if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Daksha pushed Martin against the wall of the shuttle. “Are you sure about this?” She whispered. “It could still be a trap!”

Martin pushed her away. “I’m not sure about anything, but I don’t want to sit back and do nothing!”

“We don’t even know her!”

Martin turned around and outstretched his hand to the girl. “I’m Martin by the way. And you are?”

She took his hand and shook it. “Mattie.”

“That’s Daksha, we were doing a routine inspection along the coast of our galaxy when I heard you scream. I actually heard you a few days ago, but I could never get close enough until today.”

“But how did you hear me?” Mattie said, looking at Martin confused.

“I-I really don’t know,” Martin said. No one had ever reported being able to hear screams in space before. He was wondering if he should be worried.

Mattie walked over to the front of the shuttle and looked at the Navgo. “Uh-Oh,” she said.

Daksha spun around. “What?” her arm clutched around her stomach.

Mattie pointed at the Navgo. There was a red blinking dot showing up close to their shuttle.

“Rangers,” Daksha breathed.

Martin wasted no time. He took the driver seat and pulled down the gearshift, pressing the accelerator with his other hand. They shot off towards the Cornerstone galaxy so fast the Daksha and Mattie lost their balance and toppled over.

“Easy!” said Daksha.

The Navgo was beginning to show more dots. “How come it didn’t warn us!?” Mattie cried.

Daksha felt her cheeks grow hot with shame. “I-I turned off the volume.”

Mattie said nothing. She stood beside Martin. “You’re not too far away, if you can get across the border, they won’t bother us!”

Martin had his hand pressed down on the accelerator so hard it was beginning to lose feeling. “Are you sure?”

“No! But as long as you cross before they see us it should be fine!”

“Martin!” Daksha yelled. She was looking out the west window. A shuttle a few feet bigger than theirs appeared in the distance.

“Shit,” Martin breathed.

Mattie had turned the Navgo’s sound back up and it was going off, there three new red dots accompanying the other three for a total of six.

“Oh God, we’re done!” Daksha said, and she didn’t say ‘God’ lightly.

The shuttles had nearly surrounded them. Martin had to lay off the accelerator to avoid crashing into one that pulled up just ahead.

The three of them screamed until the shuttle came to a stop. They looked at each other, knowing a fate worse than death was imminent.

Martin stood up and grabbed Daksha’s free hand. She was crying. Tears tugged at Martin’s eyes knowing this was all his fault. He reached over to hug her, but Mattie stepped between them.

“No wait!” She said. “I have a plan.”

Sci Fi

About the author

Rachel Aikema

i love crazy

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