Author: James A Brown III
Seismic activity had gotten stronger over the last couple of weeks, along with random power drops. It all started when a hole was punched through the center of the moon to take samples for mining.
Dex was taking a breather, looking out a window across the moonscape to the gas giant they orbited. It was odd how this one also had an eye, like Jupiter, and that eye was facing them like the behemoth was watching.
The strange thing about this was there were definite patterns to the quakes and power drains. The drill laser also encountered various levels of resistance as it bored to the moon’s center. Analysis showed harder parts of the moon than other parts, meaning the moon must have formed quickly.
The word had been given, so Dex and the forty-seven other Mining Recons were packing up, as being out in space was probably safer. He had been the first one packed and was doing more analysis while the big ship was being prepped.
There was something below that caught his eye and he studied it some more. It was about half a mile down and seemed to be a chunk of metal a couple of hundred feet long, bent in a perfect ninety angle in the middle. It was a very odd find for what seemed a standard moon.
Another quake started up. Dex paused to wait for it to stop. It didn’t. It got stronger.
An alarm sounded, evacuation. It was time to go.
He collected up his data pads, shoved them into his pack, and ran down the hallway toward his room. After five near-collisions, he made it and put on his spacesuit.
The whole base lurched to one side, violently. Dex ran for the hatch near him, one that went straight to the ship.
As he rounded a corner, he plowed right into a couple of others who were standing still. He pushed past them to see what was happening.
What he saw was the emergency force field holding in their air. What should have been the tube to the ship ended a few feet away and in its place was a deep cavern that disappeared into darkness. The ship was gone as well.
The whole base lurched and exploded, tossing him and everyone around him out into space.
As he sped over the moon’s surface, rising away from it, he saw the strangest sight he had ever seen. The surface of the moon was cracking and folding as if many doors were opening. He had a few minutes of propulsion, and having located the ship, intact and at a safe distance, he aimed himself at it and shot out, joined by the few others who had shared his foresight, and the bodies of those who hadn’t.
Once he had the right momentum, he spun around to look back.
The moon was opening like a puzzle sphere and from this distance, he could see there was a large central construct.
Lights flickered on and holographic projections appeared in the space around the moon. It reminded Dex of an amusement park.
Then came a voice in his mind, using his language.
“Welcome to the resting place of Emperor Jolas Strack IV. By our calculations, it has been … sixty-seven thousand, two hundred and twelve years since anyone visited our fine establishment. Please forgive our cleaning efforts as we were forced to go into dormant mode until we could recharge our systems. Have a nice visit!”
Dex watched the ancient mausoleum continuing to open as pieces of the colony traveled with him.
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