Earth - 20 years ago
This story began on a warm August evening as a slight breeze cooled off the day and dusk set in. On a black velvet backdrop, the heavens were littered with stars, and the bright full moon illuminated the night.
Walking hand in hand, Lee Brooks and his energetic daughter Luna strolled along Casino Pier.
“Slow down, Princess, you’re wearing me out.” She ignored him and skipped ahead, pulling on his arm.
The sounds and lights of the New Jersey amusement park were in full swing in the background. “Papa, I want to ride the big roller coaster next.”
“Let’s stop at this bench and finish our dinner first,” Lee handed her a basket with a half-eaten hotdog in it.
“Please, Papa, please?”
He pointed at the bench. “Let’s sit and eat first. Then we’ll go back, okay?”
Luna plopped down on the bench and shoved a huge bite into her mouth.
Lee laughed, shook his head and sat down beside her. She was quiet now as she chewed the massive mouthful.
“Princess, I know it’s your birthday, and you’re a very brave five-year-old, but you may not be old enough for some of those rides.”
Overlooking the ocean, they dined on the rest of their hotdogs. Lee gazed at the elegance of the full moon.
Luna blurts, “Papa, you’re staring at the moon again!”
Lee smiled. “I know. Isn’t it beautiful? You’re supposed to make a wish on a full.”
She devoured the last bite. Luna looked up. “OK,” as she smiled at her dad. “I made my wish.”
Lee wiped the mustard from her smiling face. “Besides you being named after a goddess, ‘Luna’ also means ‘Moon’. The moon is wondrous and mysterious just like you. Which is why it’s your namesake.”
Luna jumped up and grabbed her father’s hand. “I know Papa; you’ve told me a billion, billion times. Come on, let’s go back to the rides!”
He is pulled to his feet by the eager child. Once standing, he removed a camera from his pocket. “OK, OK, but can I get a picture of us first? I want to remember tonight with my little princess forever.”
He imposed upon a young couple walking by to capture the moment. The resulting snapshot revealed one beaming birthday girl with her loving father and Luna’s brilliant namesake glowing in the upper right side of the photo.
CHAPTER 2: THE MAN IN THE MOON
Earth – Present Time
It was just past midnight, and a full moon beamed brightly in the desert sky. A lonely withered tumbleweed rolled across the ground until it hooked itself at the base of an eleven-foot chain-linked fence topped with several rows of concertina wire. The night was silent except for intermittent howls from coyotes in the distance.
Inside the fenced area, a warehouse structure resided. It was quiet, dark, and appeared vacant.
Unseen on the roof stood Lordiah, a handsome Caucasian man dressed in slim fit jeans rolled up at the bottom, blue high-top sneakers, and a conservative collared shirt.
His hand danced across his phone as he punched in a code. A large hidden door slid open in front of him. Within seconds a dark triangular craft emerged and rose straight up and out the opened rooftop.
“Stop,” he said into his phone. The spacecraft stopped and hovered as the doors below it closed.
The silence of night remained; not a sound emitted from this dark floating spacecraft.
“Hatch, please.” A drawbridge lowered from the bottom of the craft. He put his phone in his pocket and walked in.
“Close the door.” The drawbridge rose and locked tight. He walked up to the front of the craft and sat down in the pilot seat and strapped himself into the chair.
“Thank you, Lordiah,” a computer voice said. “Where is our destination today?”
“To the moon please,” he replied.
The ship rose above the roof and hovered. Two black wings unfolded and locked into position. The floating craft turned its nose towards the bright white glow of the full moon. In a flash, the dark shape accelerated out of view.
A few hours later, the craft hovered over a crater on the dark side of the moon. It slowed and lowered itself. Two enormous doors slid open and exposed a sizable illuminated landing dock.
The black ship maneuvered inside the docking doors and parked. The doors closed, restoring the moon’s surface to its typical pockmarked appearance.
Lordiah exited the ship. He frowned having expected for someone to meet him here.
“OK,” he mumbled to himself. “I thought this was an emergency.”
Lordiah looked familiar. Over the years, he had used many aliases, the last one being Lee Brooks, the same man at the pier with his daughter, Luna, twenty something years ago. By his present appearance, he hadn’t aged a day since that evening at the pier.
On the metallic wall he punched in the code on an eleven-digit pad. An invisible door opened out of the wall and he walked in.
Inside the guts of the moon were metallic hallways, rooms, controls, engines, sleeping quarters, and humanoid life forms walking into and out of the doorways and openings.
“Hello Lordiah, welcome back,” a woman said while she walked by. He smiled and nodded to her.
Lordiah navigated through a spaghetti bowl of intersecting corridors. From his determined gait, it was obvious that he knew exactly where he was heading.
The sound of boots clanged from the metal floors and echoed down the hallway. A human male with a long red scar down his right cheek limped towards him. Alongside him was a bounding nine-foot-two-inch hairy, apish creature.
The huge hairy creature rushed towards Lordiah.
“Oh, crap,” Lordiah said as he froze.
The apish creature grabbed Lordiah and lifted him several feet off the ground.
After several seconds, Lordiah slowly patted the creature on the back. “Hello, Henry. Good to see you too. Can you please put me down now?”
Henry smiled and lowered him. He smoothed out Lordiah’s shirt that crept up during the hug. Major Thomas, the human male, stepped forward and reached his hand out. “Welcome back, sir.”
“Thanks, Major Thomas. Is everything programmed, ready, and aligned?”
“Yes, sir,” he nodded.
“Henry, Major Thomas, let’s go save the world again.”
Henry put his arm lovingly around Lordiah’s shoulder while the three of them walked back down the hallway. Reaching a dead end, Major Thomas placed his palm against the metal wall. Two metal doors slid open with a whoosh.
Inside was a large open area filled with active workstations. Diligently working at each post was a technician, all dressed the same. Monitors, buttons, control panels all pointed towards a large concave hexagonal window that looked out at the Earth.
“Two asteroids are traveling on a collision course towards Earth at the velocity of 29 kilometers per second,” Major Thomas explained.
Lordiah pointed at the table in the center of the room. “Is the info loaded?”
Major Thomas responded curtly, “Yes, sir.”
Lordiah grabbed a remote off of the table and pressed a sequence of buttons. Appearing several inches above the tabletop, a 3-dimensional hologram of the sun, Earth, and moon emerged. Also, in the hologram, two massive asteroids were hurtling on a direct path towards Earth. The room grew silent, watching Lordiah as he studied the hologram. Several more seconds passed as they watch the asteroids crash into the Earth.
Major Thomas stepped up, pointing at the smoking areas. “If the asteroids follow their course, Chicago will be flattened, with a death toll estimated at 3.8 million. The second asteroid will hit Delhi, India, causing another 6.5 million causalities.”
“Well, that’s not good.” Lordiah circled the table, lips tightening as he pondered and studied the hologram. He pulled out his phone and a small notebook from his back pocket. All bystanders in the control room watched and waited patiently while he made his calculations. “Major Thomas, do you have the holo programmed with the countermeasures?”
Major Thomas nodded. “Yes, sir, and with asteroids of this size and caliber, I calculated several full blasts from the proton sound wave cannons eleven seconds apart.”
Lordiah contemplated for a second. “Let’s reset the holo and take another view.”
Major Thomas grabbed the remote. “I already have, sir.”
Once again, the sun appeared in the center of the table with the Earth and moon revolving around it. Two large asteroids arrived. Major Thomas stopped the hologram.
With his laser pointer, he indicated on the asteroids:
“My calculations are to send the blasts at this projection because it’s the shortest range of the orbit.”
Lordiah nodded in agreement. “With the heavier pulses from these blast angles, we can use the cannons from the dark side of the moon too. They’ll be impossible to detect from Earth when fired. Proceed please.”
Major Thomas turned the hologram back on. An illustrated ray of white waves was emitted from the backside of the holographic moon. The first ray hit. This set the two asteroids spinning slightly. Eleven seconds later another set of waves hit, breaking up the asteroids into millions of pieces and spinning them off course.
“Nice work, Major T,” Henry called out in his gravelly voice as he put his arms around Major Thomas.
Lordiah studied the hologram one last time. “When are we scheduled to fire the cannons?”
On the table the sun, earth, and moon vanished, and a new hologram transformed into a digital clock timer. “2 hours and 27 minutes, sir,” Major Thomas said.