IN THE BEGINNING… a New Sci-fi HyperShort by Ethan Lawrence #story #sciencefiction #tale #inthebeginning

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The end of the world only brings possibilities in this new tale from Sci-Fier and Fireball Bro, Ethan…

“IN THE BEGINNING…” by Ethan Lawrence

The asteroid Hermes has been orbiting the sun and the outer planets for a thousand years, and is now coming into its closest affinity to the earth.  It will soon pass close enough for the International spacecrafts to reach the double synchronous bodies that will continue to arc along an orbiting pathway toward the planet Mars.  NASA’s calculations indicate that, even if they could hitch a ride on one or the other of the asteroids, they could not actually reach the surface of Mars, but there is a better than even chance they could make it to one of Mars’ orbiting moons.

As the Senior Officer, Commander Benjamin Acker soon finds himself in the unenviable position of having to choose between those who may live and those who will definitely die.  Only a certain number of the crews and remaining humans would fit into the two dozen spaceship’s constricted cargo holds should they launch the vehicles, one-by-one, toward the near-earth asteroid Hermes.  It is a risky but desperate attempt to land them on the small surfaces of either of the two orbiting components that make up the doubly synchronous bodies.  Then, there is an even slimmer chance one of the spacecrafts can manage to survive hitch-hiking on the asteroid until its orbit brings it close enough to allow them a second launch from the asteroid to the single closest planetary body on its course.  It would be for a calculated landing on the surface of Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons, (the innermost moonlet) both mysterious remnants of the original accretions of the solar system, that is, the long sought but still undiscovered “Rosetta Stone” of early planetary formation and evolution.  But no theory has yet explained the existence or origins of Phobos and Deimos.

A strong conflict emerges over the plan, so little being known about the ‘diseased potato’ shaped moonlets or their capacity to sustain life now that the earth is dying.  It would be too far to jump from either one to the surface of Mars, so they would be stuck there.  But the determined Acker points out that some scientists have long thought the two moonlets would be more interesting than Mars itself.  What they do know would indicate that the grooves seen in photos of Phobos may be raised lip craters strongly suggestive of outgassing, or the escape of vapors from within the moonlet.  Trapped water ice within the interior rocks could be found, mined and utilized for primitive but survivable terraforming.

The Deepstar, Acker’s ship, is the first vehicle to make the attempt to hitch a ride on the orbiting asteroid, managing a skillful slide into the surface soil, the ‘regolith’ that covers a system of grooves on Phobos’ three-mile-wide crater called ‘Stickney’.  But the second attempt proves fatal, with the next spacecraft smashing into the edge of the crater, disintegrating the shuttle’s occupants in a ball of fire.

The rest of the ships manage to successfully land on Phobos and, in an exploration of the moonlet’s surface, the crews discover steam vent crater chains from the interior of the moonlet.  But instead of discovering pure deposits of water ice in the interior, it is Acker who uncovers the incredible fact that Phobos, Mars’ orbiting satellite, long known to involve a mysterious “secular acceleration,” is due to the fact that it is hollow and artificial, the apparent construct of intelligent life.  Inside Phobos, the crews ultimately discover the source of visitors to earth for a thousand years, the alien beings who had created a base here but are now long gone into the blackness of space.  Acker and the rest of the spacecrafts’ population can now begin a new destiny as strangers on a strange ship seemingly capable of traveling anywhere in the known universe.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.”  REVELATIONS 21:1

©2014EthanLawrence

Ethan Lawrence has served on the writing staffs of the TV series The Pretender, Murder in Small Town X, Fearing Mind, So Weird and SyFy’s acclaimed series Eureka.  He has developed web series for Generate Management/Alloy Entertainment such as Full Metal Alchemist and has sold TV pilots to NBC, ABC and The Gold Company.   He wrote the screenplay Hellraiser 5 for Dimension Films, Nevermore for Propaganda Films, Downloader for Stuart Gordon/Red Hen Productions, Mortal Velocity for Warner Bros. Studios, Creepers for Papa Joe Films (based on the David Morrell New York Times bestseller Creepers) and wrote the feature film Asylum for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios/Hyde Park Entertainment.

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