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The Secret of Apollo 6

by S.D. Kang 10 months ago in Sci Fi · updated 6 months ago
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Unseen Mysteries of the Moon

“Houston? We- we are not sure whether we have a problem or not.” Commander Gunderson’s voice buzzed through, followed by the crackling noise of the end of transmission.

The low hum of the computers and other devices in the room was almost deafening. Everyone’s hearts skipped a beat as they waited in anticipation for possible bad news. They had just celebrated the very first successful landing on the moon, and for good reason too. It had been a monumental victory for humanity since the accident with the Apollo 1 just a year ago. We needed this! Had all that just been preemptive?

“Repeat, Apollo 6.” Operator Pfeiffer requested after pressing the transmission button. His mind started going over everything that they could have overlooked.

“We uh, we may have a problem.” Commander Gunderson repeated, the confusion in his voice was practically palpable. “I think.”

“What’s the problem, Apollo 6?” Operator Pfeiffer asked after waiting a few seconds for an elaboration. The anticipation of everyone in the room was suffocating.

“We have- uh, we have sea turtles up here- on the moon.”


That was unexpected.

“Repeat, Apollo 6. You have sea turtles on the moon?” Operator Pfeiffer asked, wondering if Commander Gunderson was the kind of person that would be joking around at a time like this. Did he not know that the President was listening as well?

“Affirmative, Houston.” The commander sounded dead serious.

“What in the world does that mean, son?” the President asked, noticeably bewildered.

These moments of silence in between messages was starting to be a little too much for Pfeiffer’s nerves. Everyone looked at the President and then to Pfeiffer to see if either of them would say anything else.

Then, those fated words finally came through.

“Sir. I believe this might be humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life forms.” The commander explained. “It’s just that they uh- I’m no professional when it comes to marine biology, but they look like sea turtles to me, sir.”

Silence reigned once again as everyone seemed to be mulling over the implications of what Commander Gunderson had just stated.

Aliens? Was there life outside of Earth after all?

“Sir?” Pfeiffer approached the President and lowered his voice. “Should we request visuals from Apollo 6?”

He wondered if it was a good idea for everyone in the room to see the evidence of life on the moon. The President gave a quick glance around the room and sighed.

“They deserve to know the truth as much as we do, son.” He stated solemnly before speaking much louder. “Get a marine biologist in here, now!”

“Yes, sir.” Pfeiffer nodded and pressed the transmission button. “Requesting visuals, Apollo 6.”

“Affirmative, Houston.”

As they waited, the President approached Pfeiffer and spoke almost in a whisper.

“Didn’t you say that extensive research was done regarding the moon even before Apollo 1?” He asked.

“Yes, sir.” Pfeiffer answered, he had been caught by surprise just as much as everyone else in the room. “We figured that there wasn’t much more to know about the moon. This expedition was mostly to be symbolic and to confirm our predictions.”

“Did we ever find any signs of life on the moon in any of those researches?”

“No, sir. But there were significant parts of the moon we couldn’t see thoroughly from here.” Pfeiffer confessed.

The doors suddenly opened and a tall woman walked in.

The marine biologist. Pfeiffer assumed before realizing he was staring.

To be completely honest, he had expected some skinny guy with glasses, much like himself, to be their on hand marine biologist. The President, however, seemed unfazed, which made Pfeiffer feel all the more embarrassed.

“Dr. Blackavar.” The biologist introduced herself as she approached. “I hear there are sea turtles. On the moon?”

“We are awaiting visuals from Apollo 6 to confirm this.” The President stated as a matter of fact.

“Is there even water up in the moon?” Dr. Blackavar asked to no one in particular.

“Not that we know of.” Pfeiffer answered, to which the President glanced at him with a pensive expression.

“Visual transmission coming in, sir!” One of the other operators shouted.

“Put it on screen one.” Pfeiffer pointed.

They all waited as the static screen popped into a grainy black and white footage. It was difficult to see, but this was cutting edge technology, it was as good as it was going to get.

“What am I looking at here?” The President asked.

It was a white ground and a black sky. Two of the three astronauts were in the field of view of the camera. Senior Pilot Brissholm, of course, was flying the Command Module alone in orbit waiting for the other two to rejoin him once they were done on the surface. Pilot Stanley, who joined Commander Gunderson in the Lunar Module to go down to the surface, was in the background and appeared to be reaching for the skies at something that seemed to be out of the frame.

“As you can see, while we were setting up the visual equipment, some fish have appeared as well. The turtles might be a bit too far to be able to see now, but I believe most of these are tuna fish-” Commander Gunderson was explaining when Dr. Blackavar started to look around her.

“Is this some kind of joke?” Dr. Blackavar asked, visibly upset.

“- few of them have shown signs of curiosity, but most just seem to be minding their own business. I repeat, they are not hostile.” Gunderson continued, unaware of Dr. Blackavar's bewilderment.

“What the hell is he talking about? I don’t see anything but the two astronauts.” The President seemed just as confused as everyone else seemed to feel.

“We don’t see anything in the camera, Apollo 6.” Pfeiffer stated.

What the hell is going on?

There was a four second delay, which seemed like an eternity, before a response came in.

“Repeat, Houston.” Commander Gunderson requested. In the monitor, he could be seen slightly shifting his body as if uncomfortable in the space suit.

“We only see you, pilot Stanley and the surface of the moon.” Pfeiffer explained, taking a glance at both the President and Dr. Blackavar before adding. “We don’t see any uh- any fish.”

Gunderson straightened up a little but stayed quiet for a second or two.

“Oh.” His voice came through, uncertainty echoing from that one syllable. “I don’t-”

He paused before awkwardly turning his entire body to the side to look back at his companion, who was still reaching out to something as if marveled by forces that were invisible to mission control. He then pointed towards him.

“You don’t see those? It’s so many fish, swimming all around us in- well, in space, as if it were water.” Gunderson’s voice was filled with disbelief. “It’s incredible. Breathtaking even.”

Pfeiffer looked at the President once again before responding.

“That’s a negative, Apollo 6.” Pfeiffer let go of the transmission button before pressing it again almost immediately. “You two seem to be alone in our footage.”

“Could it be that the fish they are seeing are so small that they don’t appear very well on this grainy screen?” The President asked.

“I don’t think so, Mr. President.” Dr. Blackavar chimed in. “Even if they were that small, tuna tend to swim in large groups. We would, at the very least, be able to see some kind of movement. Perhaps the crew might be suffering some kind of hallucination due to lack of oxygen or other sensory stimulus in-”

“Mission control, be advised, something is disturbing the fish.” Commander Gunderson cut in as it was impossible for him to know whether someone was talking in the room. “They have all started swimming erratically. But it is so many fish around us. I can barely see Stanley from here. Can you really not see this?”

“Are the space suits faulty, then?” The President asked, seemingly ignoring the transmission.

“It is a slim possibility, sir. But according to the results of our rigorous tests, everything should be fine.” Pfeiffer stated. “Command Module, do you copy?”

“Loud and clear, Houston.” The senior pilot answered from somewhere in the orbit of the moon.

“Do you see the fish as well?” Pfeiffer asked.

“Affirmative, Houston.” Brissholm answered. “Hard to believe you can’t see all that. It’s a lot of movement down there.”

“Then what the hell is-” The President was still mid-sentence when Dr. Blackavar interrupted him.

“Something is happening.” She stated as she pointed at the screen.

Pfeiffer turned and saw that Stanley had started to frantically hop towards Gunderson, while shaking his arms.

“Houston, the fish seem to be leaving, almost like they are running away from something.” Commander Gunderson stated as he turned around to look at his companion once again. “But I can’t see through all these fish.”

“So now we have three hallucinating astronauts on the moon?” The President’s tone echoed his disbelief.

“Get back inside!” Pilot Stanley yelled into the transmission, the fear in his voice was enough to give Pfeiffer goosebumps. “There’s something huge-”

But before he could finish the sentence, his upper body was torn off from his waist up. As everyone in mission control watched in horror, the astronaut’s legs slowly fell to the surface of the white moon.

Gunderson turned around and batted with his arms as if trying to swat something away from him.

“Repeat, Stanley.” Gunderson asked. “Damn it, I can’t see anything.”

“It’s a shark!” Brissholm yelled into the comms. “A fucking huge shark! I can see it from here!”

Gunderson stood still, however, as if still waiting for Stanley to reach him.

“Could a shark do that?” The President asked Dr. Blackavar, seemingly in shock. Why was he asking about the shark?

“It would have to be one massive shark.” She answered, then turned to Pfeiffer. “What are you waiting for, tell him to get back!”

“Commander, get back into the Lunar module! Stanley is dead!” Pfeiffer yelled, dropping all formalities. “Brissholm, get the Command Module ready! The Lunar Module will lift off soon!”

Gunderson turned and started messing with the camera.

“Commander, leave it! Something out there just killed Stanley and is coming for you!” Pfeiffer yelled, his heart racing. “Ready the ascent stage and get out of there, now!”

Gunderson looked one last time towards where Stanley had been, before turning around and moving out of the frame.

“I’m in!” Gunderson yelled. “Readying for takeoff!”

Everyone in mission control stood up as they stared at the now empty footage. Pfeiffer wondered how many of them would be praying for Gunderson’s safety.

What is taking him so long?

“59 seconds!” Gunderson yelled. “Where did it go? I don’t see it!”

Everyone kept quiet as the commander started counting down in panic. Pfeiffer wondered if this was it.

“Three, two, one, ignition!” Gunderson yelled as the ascent stage came off of the Lunar Module. “We have lift off!”

The power from the lift off, knocked the camera over. But they could see that he had made it.

He made it! It’s unbelievable, but he made it!

“Be there soon, Brissholm.” Grunderson stated, seemingly calmer.

“Roger th-”

Suddenly, the transmission was cut off by the most horrendous sound of metal, breaking and scraping against itself.

“What was that, Brissholm?” Gunderson asked.

“Put the visuals of the Command Module on the screen!” Pfeiffer ordered.

But all they saw was wrecked metal.

“The shark must be the size of a building.” Dr. Blackavar commented aghast.

“Mission control! What’s going on?” Gunderson asked, panic coming back to his voice.

But before Pfeiffer could press the transmission button, the President pressed it himself.

“Commander Gunderson. The United States of America thanks you for your service.” And with that, he let go of the button. “Turn it off.”

“What? Missio-”

The President sighed, staying quiet for a moment.

“America- Humanity needs this." The President stated solemnly. "We’ll stage it. But we can’t go back. They died so that we would know.”

Sci Fi

About the author

S.D. Kang

Dreamer by birth, Writer by choice.

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