© Copyright 2015 by Douglas Noble
All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the author.
An elderly man, living by himself in a rural California community, is given a spaceship by aliens who are living on the far side of the moon. He is taken to the moon in it where he is revitalized and informed their days are numbered and that they are entrusting him with all of their knowledge which he is to ration to the people of earth, but only for good purposes. Once back on earth he starts to recruit, with the permission of the aliens, several friends who will soon become old looking, but internally revitalized to their youth, super-heroes.
This wasn’t the first time Russ had been awakened by what appeared to be a flash of light through his bedroom window. Over the past several months it had happened maybe a dozen times, but this time it was brighter and lasted longer.
Each time before he had gotten up, put on his robe and slippers, grabbed a flashlight and his revolver and cautiously had gone outside to see if he could find the source of the light.
It didn’t come from a neighbors’ house because he had no neighbors within sight and the rotating beacon at the small, local airport no longer lit the sky as the trees around his property had grown quite high.
Most of the other times he had put it off to a reflection from his small pond, caused by something disturbing the surface of the water and creating waves that reflected the moonlight momentarily. But, this time it seemed to be different as he thought he caught a glimpse of something shiny disappearing behind his barn.
Cautiously he walked towards the barn, flashlight and revolver pointing the way, but there was nothing: nothing shiny that was crawling, running or even waving in the moonlight.
He began to think he was going crazy, but then, when it first started he had talked with a friend who was a psychologist.The psychologist had told him it was probably his imagination, but recommended he contact his doctor to see if there was something medical that could cause him to see flashes.
Russell Clarksten lived by himself in a small house in a very rural part of northern California. Now in his mid 70s he had been divorced for many years but had two children who lived within a day’s drive of him.
He had been born in the last years of the Great Depression and grew up reading about rockets as they developed from weapons of war into vehicles to explore space.
Like most young boys of that era, he devoured science fiction books and magazines and dreamed that one day he might travel to the moon or other planets and discover new life forms, perhaps even intelligent, human-like life. All of these thoughts were bolstered by the endless Flash Gordon serials that were on television most of Saturday and the many movies depicting future space travel that began to appear in the theaters in the early 1950s.
He had been on several trips to supposed UFO landing sites and attended lectures by persons claiming to have been abducted by aliens. On these occasions he met new people who he discovered were mostly a bit over the edge from his thinking and also discovered that many of his longtime friends were beginning to shy away from him.
In his late 20s he had thought he might be a candidate for astronaut school. He had the aptitude, but that was about it. They were looking for experienced pilots who could handle the force of several times gravity and rebound immediately. He wasn’t sure about that, however, now, nearly 50 years later, he realized that possibility was no longer his at all. But, that didn’t stop his imagination nor his belief that perhaps nothing is impossible.
As he returned to his bedroom, he noticed the pad on the night stand that he kept so that he could write down thoughts that came to him during the night.
Several times he had written down a series of numbers that he thought came from a friend who had passed on and were the winning numbers in the state lottery. But they never were. Once he scribbled a series of three numbers on the pad that came to him in his sleep not once, not twice but three times. These numbers, it turned out, were not an exotic formula for time travel, but from the deepest part of his mind the combination to the lock on the barn that he had long ago cut off because he had forgotten the numbers. But there were also some interesting markings – neither numbers nor letters – that he copied from a magazine story on someone who had supposedly visited and alien spacecraft and seen them on it. He wasn’t sure why he copied them down, other than they were just interesting.
He climbed into bed and turned out the light.
Just as he drifted off, a shiny image appeared in his window. Startled, he immediately sat up and saw the dim outline of a human-like object apparently looking back at him, although it had no real features where he thought a face should have been.
Without even bothering with his robe and slippers he grabbed his flashlight and raced out into the darkness, but nothing was there, nor did he find anything like footprints near his window.
As he returned to his darkened house he noticed through the cracks around the basement door that the light was on. He didn’t remember having gone into his basement recently to retrieve a bottle of wine from his modest collection, and, without thinking about it again, flicked the switch by the door, turning off the basement light.
Although sleep did not come to him easily because of everything that happened that night, he finally drifted off only awaking when his clock radio went off the next morning.
As he walked by the basement door on his way into the kitchen to start some coffee, he again noticed light shining through the cracks around the door. He thought to himself, Didn’t I turn that out last night?
Thinking that maybe he had just forgotten to do it or the switch was broken, he flicked the switch off, opening the door a bit to see that the light was actually off, and proceeded on into the kitchen.
After taking his morning vitamins and enjoying a cup of coffee and half a bagel, he walked back towards his bedroom to put on clothes for his morning walk, which he took with some neighbors. As he passed the basement door, he saw the basement light was again on. This is insane, he thought. Why is this light coming on by itself?
He grabbed the switch and firmly turned it off. The light went off and then, almost immediately, came on again. He flicked the switch on and off several more times, but the light just kept coming on by itself.
It must be a broken switch or the mice have been eating at the insulation on the wires, came to mind, but even that didn’t really make sense.
Afraid that something might catch fire, he called the friends he walked with and told them he had to fix an electrical problem and would not meet them at the regular time.
He didn’t tell them about what had been going on during the night. In fact, other than his psychologist friend, he had told no one else about any of the things that had been going on for the past few months. Some things, he thought, are really better left unsaid.
He donned a pair of pants, the boots he wore outside when it was muddy and a heavy shirt. It was winter and, even though the basement temperature never dropped below 55 degrees, it was still a bit chilly. Then he grabbed his flashlight and started towards the basement door.
The basement under his house was only under the living room, the only part of the house that wasn’t on a slab. It had a clearance of about 7 feet, measured about 12 by 16 feet in length and width, had poorly mixed concrete walls and a dirt floor. It had a drain, which for some unknown reason was about 3 inches higher than the floor, so when it rained a lot, water came up under and through the basement walls and it flooded.
Russ opened the door and started down the wooden steps into the basement. The stairs had no rail – something he was always going to install – so he kept one hand on the wall as he worked his way down. From the bottom step he dropped onto the dirt floor and looked around. Nothing seemed out of place.
The wine bottles were still upside down in cartons on the old dresser he had there and several empty cartons were stacked, more or less neatly, on an old coffee table that a friend had left several decades before.
There were still remnants of the framing and aluminum foil that a renter had installed when he used the basement as a growing room and in the corner, under the stairs was an old gas heater that was just too heavy for him to haul out.
The bare lightbulb that lit the room was brightly shining above his head, so grabbing it carefully, using the sleeve of his shirt as insulation, he gave it a twist to the left. It went out. He waited a few minutes to see if it would come back on and, then deciding that was very silly of him, screwed it back in. It came back on.
Thinking that at this point nothing would surprise him, he decided to look around his basement and see if anything was amiss.
Putting one had on the wall and following it closely with his flashlight, he started around the room.
He had to stop now and then to shake off the white powder that accumulated on the wall and fell on him when he touched it. He remembered from school that it was saltpeter, potassium nitrate, a primary ingredient of gunpowder that formed on concrete walls in basements and in caves. He also recalled, with a sly smile, the rumors that it was put in the food at military bases to reduce the sexual drive of young recruits.
At one point near the middle of the north wall of the basement he noticed a large vertical crack. I’m going to have to fix that one of these days, he reminded himself for the hundredth time.
Then the basement light went out.
In the now dark room he noticed what he though was a soft glow in the crack he had earlier been examining. Either I am nuts or am still asleep, he thought.
Holding the flashlight between his knees, he put one hand on each side of the crack to support himself as he leaned forward to get a better look at it. In doing so, he felt the left side of the wall move. Thinking he had only imagined it moving, he stepped back and again pushed against that part of the wall with his hand. Yes, he wasn’t imagining it, it moved. He wasn’t sure how, because it was part of the main supporting wall in the house. But, so far nothing was making sense to him.
Still somewhat believing he was imagining all of this, he looked around and found a flat stick that was part of a collection of odds and ends he had intended to take upstairs to use as kindling in his wood stove. Putting it into the crack and using it as a lever, he pushed and against most of the laws of physics, that portion of the wall easily swung open.
What was now before him was a large room. Using his flashlight he looked in. The room seemed to extend some 30 or more feet and was about the width of the basement.
That means my bedroom, bathroom, hallway, my carport and even beyond that are over this room and there don’t seem to be any obvious supports, immediately passed through his mind.
The source of the glow that he had seen through the crack was something about the size of a small motorhome, but wider and lower, parked in the middle of the room. He looked down and it seemed to be only lightly sitting on four short legs, like it was almost hovering a few inches off the floor.
In spite of the apparent lack of support for what was overhead, he cautiously walked forward and placed his hand on it. It was solid, but not hard, and seemed to be softly vibrating.
As he walked around it, checking closely with his flashlight, he didn’t find any openings or seams, but he did find markings very similar to those he had copied on to his notepad. Maybe, he thought, someone or something had tried to leave him a message.
Having walked around it a couple of times he stopped and placed his hand on the softly glowing object again, but this time on the end away from his basement. All of sudden it started to move and began to open, somewhat like a convertible lifting its top.
Oh, my God, thought Russ, hard but not solid, softly vibrating and no seams, yet it opens up. It’s like it’s alive!
After calming himself down for a few moments, he pointed his flashlight inside and saw what looked like seats and a console with lights and levers, and what he thought were gauges of some sort.
For some reason he couldn’t really explain, he didn’t feel any sense of fear or danger, so he grabbed hold of the object and lifted himself inside. He then turned and sat down in the seat directly in front of the console.
The seat was very comfortable, but as soon as he settled into it, arms of some kind came out and secured him there. It wasn’t uncomfortable, he could move his arms and legs, but it was obviously some kind of super safety belt system. At the same time the top closed down on him.
He was amazed. Although from the outside the object was opaque, from inside, with the top closed, he could look out through it like there was nothing there. He could see the dimly lit room and the doorway back into his basement.
Thousands of questions came to his mind: who built it, what was it, how did they do it, why did they do it and, most of all, why him?
Putting the questions aside for a moment, he looked around inside. It was softly lit by light that seemed to come from everywhere, not just a single source.
He had now decided that what he was sitting in was some kind of vehicle, with various kinds of unfamiliar equipment and apparently electronic gadgets in the space behind him.
Having worked in the electronics industry in the 1950s and 60s, he had seen and even worked on equipment used in airplanes and submarines, and even some for the early space program, but nothing like this.
His attention was brought to the console in front of him by a row of colored lights and especially a large greenish light in the middle that was flashing rapidly. He pushed on it, it stopped flashing, turned red and immediately he saw sunlight as two large doors in the rooms’ ceiling – fortunately not the part under his house or carport – started to open and the vehicle started to tilt up and slowly move towards the opening.
Immediately he yelled to himself, Oh…….Shit, No, No, No, in reaction to the thoughts, It’s daylight and I will be seen and have to explain this, something which I don’t even understand, which flew through his brain.
He grabbed what appeared to be some kind of steering handles, and pulled on them, hoping the vehicle would back down, but it continued upwards. Reaching forward to the console he pushed hard on the large red light and everything stopped. Then the light turned green and started flashing again, as the vehicle returned to its original position and the ceiling closed.
Now more that a bit frightened and sweating profusely, Russ sat there for a minute, trying to gain his composure and decide what to do next.
I’ve got to open the roof on this vehicle, release the safety belt system and get out somehow, he thought to himself. Then, for some reason, he seemed to know exactly what to do next.
On the left end of the row of lights in front of him was another green one. He pushed it and it turned red. Then the safety arms retracted and the roof opened. He got out and the roof closed.
Wasting no time, he headed back upstairs, closing the door in the basement wall behind him, in case someone might come over and for some reason follow his slightly muddy bootprints into the basement.
He sat on the edge of his bed for a minute and then set his alarm for a little after midnight, a time when there was little likelihood that anyone in the neighborhood would be up.
Later that day he called his friends, faked a few coughs and said, “I think I must be catching a cold and I probably won’t be walking for the next day or two.” Fortunately, as he would find out later, he added he might also be visiting some friends for a few days and, if so, would let them know when he returned.
Even though he went to bed early that evening, he didn’t sleep and when the alarm went off he was already up, dressed and gathering supplies that he thought he needed.
He had made a that included several bottles of water, a sack lunch, a package of seasick pills, a change of clothes, his flashlight, his cell phone, a note pad and a couple of pencils, his extra pair of glasses, a box of tissues and even a gallon container with a large lid, not knowing what bathroom facilities the vehicle had, if any. He had thought about his revolver, but decided there was no reason for it.
He packed everything into a backpack and, around quarter after midnight, headed down into the basement. Following the same procedure as before, he opened the vehicle and put his backpack into the open space behind the seat before getting in himself.
He thought for a minute, went back upstairs and got a couple of bungee cords, which he used to tie down his backpack in the second seat, rather than let it knock around in the back and hit something or himself. With him now in the vehicle, the safety arms grabbed him and the roof of the vehicle closed.
Then he pushed the rapidly flashing green button.
The ceiling opened into the darkness of the night and slowly the vehicle rose up towards it. As an afterthought he reached into his backpack and pulled out the seasick pills and a bottle of water, took a couple of the pills and put everything back. No reason to get sick right off the bat, he thought.
As the vehicle passed through the ceiling doors into the outside air, it stopped glowing on the outside and blended into the night, a moonless night because of some cloud cover.
When the vehicle was completely out, it moved itself over to an open area, staying a few feet off the ground, as the exit doors closed.
What now? he thought to himself.
Russ decided to see what the controls did and started moving them, but only slightly. The two handles that he had pulled back on so furiously trying to keep the vehicle underground the previous morning seemed to actually control steering. Push forward, go forward, pull back, go backwards, push them both to one side to go sideways, pull one back turn that way, pull the other back, turn the other way. I think I’ve got the hang of this, he said to himself.
He tried moving around his yard in the darkness, which was easy to do since he could see quite well through the now transparent skin of the vehicle, in spite of the lack of direct moonlight.
All at once he came upon a deer drinking from his pond. As he moved towards it, it paid him no attention. Finished with its drink, the deer started towards him and softly banged into the side of the vehicle, then backed up and did it again, then, acting somewhat confused, it turned and went the other way.
I must be invisible to it, he thought. Maybe I better get this vehicle a little higher off the ground so that doesn’t happen again. Grabbing both control handles he pulled up on them. Rather than rising, the vehicle started to point its nose upwards. A bit panicked, he grabbed for something to hold onto besides the control handles. It was a third handle, between the two. Immediately the vehicle started accelerating upwards into the cloudy sky.
Okay, enough of that for tonight, he thought to himself and he pushed forward on the handle he had accidently grabbed and then pushed down and pulled back on the control handles. But, nothing happened. He was no longer in control of the vehicle and he was heading upwards at a rapidly increasing speed.
He thought about pushing the red button like he did in the basement, but then another thought crossed his mined. Isn’t this what I always wanted, to be an astronaut? I think want to find out where it’s going.
He gently sank into the seat of the vehicle as the speed increased and somehow the shape of the vehicle became more sleek.
He wasn’t uncomfortable and could easily move his arms, so he figured he must not be accelerating at much more than one gravity, 32 feet per second squared or, as he had figured out one night when sleep was escaping him, 22 more miles an hour each second he flew.
I should have brought a calculator,” he thought. At least I have my pad and a pencil.
As he reached over to open his backpack and get the pad and pencil, he cleared the clouds heading into the night sky directly towards the moon.
Scribbling some figures on his pad, he thought, If I am correct on the speed, accelerating around 22 miles per hour each second I should reach about 80,000 miles an hour after the first hour. Therefore, I should reach the moon, if that is where I am headed, in about two and a half hours and be going about 200,000 miles an hour. He mumbled to himself, I sure hope we miss it.
The sky was bright with stars like he had never seen them before. And the earth, which he could barely see over his shoulder, was just like the pictures NASA had taken from space, blue and green with areas of clouds lit only by reflected moonlight as the sun was still on the other side of earth.
Although most of the fear he had previously was gone, he began to wonder about other things.
How is this crazy thing powered, he thought, and where is my oxygen and heat coming from? This is as comfortable as being in my own home, maybe even more comfortable, adding casually to his thoughts, and the view is much better.
About an hour and a half into the trip the vehicle – which he had now realized was obviously a spaceship under the control of someone or something – began to turn around, and started to decelerate. For only a moment he experienced the feeling of weightlessness, before settling back into his seat as a result of the deceleration.
It was good I took the pills, he thought.
Russ put his hands over his eyes to protect them as the vehicle turned its front towards earth and the now rising sun, but he experienced no brightness through his hands. That portion of the transparent skin of the vehicle had become, as far as he could determine, totally reflective and only indirect sunlight could come in. He could still see through it, but not directly at the sun.
I guess we are slowing down so that we can stop at the moon, he thought, thinking that was still a bit silly.
Now as comfortable as he could be with the whole situation, he decided to see if he could get out of his seat and explore the rest of his new spaceship.
As he thought about it, the safety arms began to release and the vehicle turned so that the floor was so situated that he could easily walk on it. At the same time, the shape of the vehicle, opened up, sleekness being no longer needed in air-free space.
Holding on to the wall of the vehicle, Russ worked his way to the back where there seemed to be some kind of a hatch. Undoing the latch, he entered a small area where he found containers filled with water and even food that someone or something had loaded on before he left earth.
In the corner was what looked like a chair, but he decided was a toilet, designed for a human, but with instructions in the strange markings he had seen before. But, that didn’t matter, he was beginning to find that he could now read them and translate them into English in his mind.
He was delighted with what was happening, but still had no answers to any of the questions he had in the first place.
Russ sat back in his seat and the safety arms surrounded him again. He didn’t want to miss anything that was going on, but the lack of sleep that night caught up with him and he dozed off.
An hour or so later, he awoke and found that the deceleration had decreased and he was now on the far side of the moon and no longer able to see earth. He also noticed that he felt lighter than before and reached for a couple more seasick pills and a sip water to wash them down.
He recalled from television shows he had seen that astronauts often got sick when put in a low or no gravity situation. Messing up his new spaceship was not something he wanted to do.
The spaceship rapidly slowed as it approached the surface of the Moon. Then everything around him went dark as the ship entered what appeared to be a cavern and stopped.
He could still see into the starlit sky, but even that disappeared as the some large doors rapidly closed overhead. He was now in total darkness, then the place lit up.
He looked around and decided he was not in a cavern, but some kind of a small landing bay.
For a few minutes he heard a loud hissing noise and then the roof on his spaceship opened. He panicked, recalling there was no atmosphere to speak of on the Moon as it was nearly a total vacuum. Deciding he couldn’t hold his breath forever, he breathed in. It was fine: no headache, no dizziness, nothing. It was just like on Earth.
He knew from school that gravity on the moon was only one-sixth of that on earth, but it felt stronger than that. However, his stomach was not very happy anyway. Fortunately, he had not eaten much before the trip and he was able to hold everything down.
Other large doors around him opened and he could see that he was parked on a floor and that other vehicles, some like his, some larger and some very large, were parked in slots on all sides of him.
The landing bay must have been some kind of a compression chamber, he thought. Once it was filled with air, it could be opened to the rest of the cavern.
From off to his left he saw an egg-shaped object about 6 feet high coming towards him along the floor of the landing bay. It reached his spaceship and the front of it slid open, exposing a seat. Believing that whoever these creatures were they wanted him to get into the seat, he grabbed his backpack, stepped out of his spaceship and then walked over to it and got in.
As he looked back towards his spaceship he again noticed that curiously, when the top closed there was no seam. He also noticed that the spaceship’s four small legs had extended, more to keep it in one place than to support it.
The door on the egg-shaped transport closed and, as with the spaceship, he could see through it. The transport then turned around and headed towards a door, which at the last minute slid open to allow entrance into a room. He observed the only thing in the room was a long table, nothing else.
The door on the transport opened and he didn’t know if he should get out or not. Being that there was nothing in the room on which to sit, he decided to stay where he was. Then he heard a voice.
“Good morning, Russell Clarksten and welcome to the Moon,” a pleasant voice said. “I am Gamma, your translator. “Although we are very similar to you in our appearance, our vocal system is different from yours, and our language would be very difficult for your to speak. Likewise, yours would be very difficult for us to speak. So I volunteered to have myself surgically modified to be a translator so I can speak both your and our languages.
“I am named Gamma because we felt it would be easy for you if we had names you could understand. I am not in the room with you because we do have physiological differences and knowing your level of curiosity, thought it would be easier to first introduce ourselves by voice only, to keep your attention.
“I am sure you are wondering a million things at this moment, and have hundreds of questions. Why don’t you let me give you the basics and then we will have time for questions. I’m sure you will have many more by then.
“We on this Moon colony call ourselves the Odnisor, which is as close as we can get to it in your language.
“Many thousands of years ago we lived on a planet billions and billions of miles away from here. After going through wars, violence and everything else, we realized cooperation at the personal level was better than fighting. As a result, we were a thriving planet with a high standard of living, no war and very little crime.
“Then our scientists discovered that our sun was rising in temperature much faster than they had originally predicted and that in only a few hundred years – or less – our planet would become uninhabitable. “Our scientists, like yours have recently done, found there were many planets similar to ours spread throughout the universe, places that we might be able to colonize.
“We built great spaceships that we hoped could transport us to any of those planets that might be safe for life. Into each one we put a cross-section of our people and sent them out, each towards a different planet, hoping at least one would reach there and our species would survive.
“Our group was sent to your planet, the planet you call Earth. We traveled through space for several generations and arrived about 4,000 years ago. Earth, we found out, was already somewhat populated, but by several primitive, warring civilizations. “We could have easily destroyed all of them and taken over, but that is not our way. We are civilized beyond that point and wished only to live there and cooperate.
“We built colonies in several places and worked with some groups, teaching them engineering, mathematics, science and basic building methods, such as pyramids, canals, and such. But, because of Earth’s residents distrust for each other and especially us, about 2,000 years ago we started moving our colony to your moon instead.
“We decided to build our colony on the back side of the moon where we would be the least obvious. Our scouting parties located a large cavern here, so for the next thousand or so years we expanded it to what it is now.”
“But, there is no air on the Moon,” interrupted Russ, “but I can breathe.”
“We are oxygen breathers like you,” replied Gamma, “and we also need water to survive. We found both in the rocks of the moon. However, now and then we found we had to return to earth in large ships to collect additional water and air.
“We are vegetarians and grow our own food. Some of the plants we brought with us, but most we found on your Earth. We grow them in our system of large caverns, which we heat and light using very efficient solar panels on the surface and an energy storage system that carries us through the long nights.
“I know that is a lot of information for you to handle at one time, so if you want you can now ask any questions you have. I will try to answer them the best I can.”
Now given the opportunity, Russ immediately asked what bothered him the most,“Why am I here? What do you want from me?”
“We as a race are dying off,” continued Gamma. “Our medicine is far advanced of yours, yet we cannot figure out how to stop what is happening to us. We call it the Great Failing.
“We are in contact with two of the other colonies that survived and they are not having the same problem. Our scientists have decided that a radiation accident we had on our long trip here may have caused genetic changes that are now only showing up in our young.
“We have not decided what we are going to do yet, but whether we try to travel to one of the other colonies or remain here, soon there will be nobody alive in this colony. That leaves us with the problem of whether or not we are going to destroy it or turn it over to people we can trust. We will discuss that with you later.
“Much of what you have today came from us. Your rapid advances in the field of electronics and computers did not happen by chance. One way or another we were involved. We are not done and still have a lot to share with the people of Earth.
“Unfortunately, your people are not ready for everything we could tell you, so we felt if we passed what we know on to a few we could trust, they could do it for us at the proper time. “Why we chose you is a different question.
“For many, many years we have followed a number of people on Earth who we thought were suitable to hold our secrets and provide them at the right time to the right people. We gave them spaceships such as the one we gave you, provided them clues and then waited to see what happened.
“Many of them ignored our clues, so we took back the spaceships and returned everything to the way it was. The rest aborted the flight and returned to earth by simply pushing on the red light for a few seconds. If you had really wanted to do that, your mind would have told you to do it.
“We blocked the memory of those who did abort the flight and returned everything to the way it was. We hope for more, but so far you are the only one who has completed the trip here.
“We will talk more about that later, because we do need at least two more like you. Perhaps the best way would be for you to find them for us.”
“But, I am 76 years old,” responded Russ. “If I am not around for long, how can I help you?”
“The reason we selected you is because of your knowledge and experience,” replied Gamma.
“Your age is not a problem. Our doctors can easily return your body to that of a very healthy 20 year old while leaving you looking the same on the outside. Or, with a bit more work, they can totally change you back to that age. The choice is up to you.
“Perhaps now, since you seem comfortable with the situation, and if you don’t mind, I will come out and greet you in person.”
A door slid back and out stepped Gamma, who reached out at shook Russ’ hand.
“I am a female of our race,” she said, “but there is little difference between our males and females.”
She stood about 5 feet tall, had very white skin, no visible body hair and was wearing a silver colored jumpsuit. Her head was slightly larger than a human of the same stature and she had larger eyes and nostrils and a small mouth. She also had two normal looking arms and legs, but six fingers, including an opposable thumb, on each hand. He could not tell anything about her feet, since she was wearing some kind of slippers.
“I’m sure you are wondering, our planet had lower light than earth and was slowly losing its oxygen, so we needed both larger eyes and nostrils to survive there.”
Turning and beckoning him to follow, she added, “So, let me show you around our home.”
Russ arose from his seat in the transport, grabbed his backpack and followed Gamma through the same door that she had used to enter the room.
“Our colony here is several thousand feet deep and extends outward several thousand feet. The best method of getting around is a system of transports we have constructed. If you would follow me, I will show you around.”
The two of them entered an egg shaped capsule similar to the one he had ridden in before, but this one was larger and had more seats. Like the other one, it was transparent to the viewer from the inside.
They shot upwards, then slowed, paused, went laterally and then stopped. Russ was now in a brightly lit area hundreds of acres in size that was filled with growing plants.
“This is only one of our gardens,” said Gamma. “There are many, many more. As I mentioned before, solar panels on the surface collect the sunlight when it is available and charge large storage centers. That energy is used to provide the light needed for the plants and powers nearly everything we have. Our whole system is much more efficient than yours. That is one of the secrets that you may be asked to pass on.”
The next stop was a huge room filled with spaceships and other equipment.
“Here is where your spaceship was built,” continued Gamma. “It is also where we repair everything we have.”
The capsule now descended for a while, stopping where it overlooked a very large room filled with people sitting in front of large television like screens.
“This is our main control room,” commented Gamma. “From here everything is continually monitored: heat, light, air and Earth. We also have antennas on the other side of the moon, the part that is continually pointed at earth. From those we pick up television and radio signals from all over and direct them here. We can understand all of the languages you use.
“All the antennas are covered so that they are undetectable, however, during your Apollo series of Moon landings, one team came to within just a few hundred feet of one, before turning back.”
The capsule continued on its trip through the caverns, finally stopping at what looked like a hospital.
“Remember when I told you we were similar to you but have some physiological differences?” asked Gamma. We also have one very different biological difference. If you look to the right you will notice large cabinets with many drawers. Those are filled with eggs being hatched, our eggs. We are egg layers.
“The male and female of our species breed in a way similar to yours, but the result is not a live birth, like you might expect, but an embryo in a leathery shell that needs to be incubated for many of your months before it is ready to come out, or as you would say, ‘hatch.’
“To you that surely seem strange, but to us it is an advantage since the female of our species can continue to work while the child incubates and is raised by specialists for a time before being returned to its mother.
“The ‘Great Failing’ is a survival problem we are having while our young are still in the egg. Our eggs are not maturing and we have no young to replace those who die. Our population is only one hundredth of what it was once. It is a dead end unless we can solve the problem.”
A few minutes later the capsule returned to where it had started and Russ and Gamma exited.
“Would you like something to eat or drink?” said Gamma.
“I’m really not hungry,” said Russ, “but I need to take my morning pills, since, by my watch it is morning.”
Searching through his backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, he found that in the excitement of the day he had not packed his pills.
“I don’t have my pills,” said Russ a bit frightened, “and two of them are prescription and needed keep my blood pressure down and my pulse even. I may need to return to earth and get them.”
“Don’t worry,” said Gamma. “We have all of your medical records and know exactly what you take and when. We can provide everything you need. It would have been silly for us to invite you here without knowing that.”
Gamma touched the side of her head, near what appeared to be her ear and talked to someone in a language totally foreign to Russ.
“One of our medical personnel will be here shortly with what you need,” she said. “Don’t worry, with only you as our messenger, we will not take a chance on losing you.”
The two of them approached the spaceship that had brought Russ to the Moon. Gamma placed her hand on it and it opened. “Let’s get in and I will answer any immediate questions you have,” said Gamma.
Russ was at a loss for words. “I don’t know where to start,” he said.
“Then I will start,” said Gamma.
“You probably noticed on your way here that you started to read and translate into your language our symbols, so by now you should be able to figure out most of the controls. That is only because just a few days before you left earth, we implanted a small device under your scalp that teaches them to you.”
Russ immediately rubbed his head, looking for something, but he didn’t know what.
“It is tiny, very tiny,” said Gamma. “You can’t feel it and it won’t show up on any body scans.
“Your spaceship, as you want to call it, is not alive, as you originally thought when it first opened, but it is very close to that in the way it acts. It is learning your thoughts and soon will react to them immediately, like it did when you stood up on your way here and it expanded to allow you to walk around.
“The material it is made from is one of the inventions you will soon learn all about. It is one solid piece, but will create a seam and open where needed. And when it closes, it becomes whole again. Therefore, there are no doors that could leak or come off and should it be somehow penetrated, it will instantly repair itself.
“The same goes for windows. It needs none. From the outside it is invisible to the eye and any of your radar devices, yet, from the inside it is transparent to you. That is just the character of the material from which we made it. You do have the ability to turn these features on and off, if it becomes necessary.
“The surface is also one large solar panel, more efficient than any you have knowledge of. It also stores the energy which is used as its source of power.
“It flies by interacting with the gravity of any bodies around it, such as your Earth, Moon and Sun. Mostly for your protection, your spaceship can only travel about one million of your miles from Earth and, if a problem occurs, it will automatically return to here or call us to come get it.
“We have more sophisticated vehicles that can travel far into space, much more advanced from those we used to arrive here. Now we can easily travel to the other two colonies in much less time than it took to get here.
“If you wonder how we do it, your scientists are exploring what you call ‘wormholes,’ connections between distant areas of the universe. They are real, we use them, and the speed of light is not a barrier.
“All of the information we have will be given to you and others that may qualify as our messengers in the future, should there be any. It will be implanted in you and will only become available at the proper time to pass it on, and only to those who will use it for good purposes. No one will be able take it from you by force or threat.
“Now, if you are ready, I would like to introduce you to our medical specialists who will start the process of making you young again.”
Like with a person faced with serious danger, Russ’ life rapidly passed through his mind as he decided what to do. He waited a few moments and then turned to Gamma.
“I’m ready. Let’s do it,” he said.
On his trip back to earth, Russ could not explain, even to himself, the wonderful feeling of being in his 20s again, but still looking his mid-70s age.
The Odnisor had given him back his youth, but he declined the opportunity to have his body visibly modified to look young again.
“Explaining my energy is going to be hard enough,” he had told them, “looking young would be impossible to explain and might end up with some legal issues.”
The Odnisor like him and had discussed the possibility of him recruiting some of his single friends to join him. He was a member of several senior’s groups and immediately had at least three in mind.
Maybe, he thought, we would end up as a group of senior super-heros. “Fat chance,” he answered himself out loud. “You’re dreaming again Russ, but then…”
When he arrived back at his home, he parked his spaceship and ran up the basement stairs into his house. Pausing for a second and realizing his new found energy, he ran back down into the basement and back up several times.
“Damn, that feels great,” he yelled, “Damn that feels great.”
He had only been gone five days, but it had felt like less than that, due to the time he had been under treatment to revive his youth.
Everything was the same and he had only four messages on his telephone message machine, only one of which was of any importance. That one was from one of his walking buddies who had apparently not got the message about him being gone for a few days.
“Good think he didn’t think something had happened to me and called the sheriff,” he mumbled to himself,”that might have been a real problem.”
Sitting down at his desk and picking up his phone, he said out loud to himself, “I better start making some calls to my single friends. This could be a really exciting adventure for us.”
TO BE CONTINUED
© Copyright 2015 by Douglas Noble
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