The second chapter of my fourth novel, Serah of the Runners, is now live! You can now read A Shadow on Luna. This second chapter delves into some new characters that are going to significatly influence the fate of our heroes (and villains). But you spoilers still!!! If you have not read The Battle for Langeles you may want to do so first.
You can find my first three entries to the series here
Serah of the Runners is due out October 17th 2019! Preorder coming soon!
A Shadow on Luna
“So that’s it?”
Kirka stood looking at her console. Her brown hair held streaks of gray and her short slender form shaped by the low gravity of Luna and a lifetime of food rations hovered just above her chair. Her sharp nose and hollow cheeks deepened the power of the gaze for her gray eyes.
“That’s it,” said Loni.
Loni was her opposite, short with darker skin and light hazel eyes. Everything about Loni, was round. Kirka had always wondered how, despite the lack of gravity of Luna, Loni had stayed so healthy and thick. Most Lunites were thin and wispy, but Loni, considered one of the most beautiful women of Luna, had her pick of all the men with her curvy feminine form.
The end was coming now, the image on the screen showed streaks of light, flaming arrows ready to end their world in fire. Most of the Lunites had no idea of their fate. But now, Kirka and Loni did. There were rumors, of course, hints that ROAM’s hostility had finally reached a critical point. Doomsday prophets preached from every corner that Kirka would let them. Of course, with such a small population, people didn’t pay them much mind, especially since the commons was only a twelve hundred meters long in the underground of Luna.
Kirka said, “Dammit, how could do they do this to us? After all we’ve done for them. They wouldn’t exist without all of our efforts. Centuries of work and neither of us have anything to show for it.
Loni said, “They’re jealous; they’ve always been jealous Commander.”
“I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming. I should have been suspicious when our delegation never arrived at their destination.”
“You don’t think it was an accident, do you?”
“I had my doubts, but now I see that all they wanted was our Solidonium.”
Loni said, “I don’t think most of ROAM knew what was happening and, well it’s not like we could skim that Asshole Ithica from here is it? He was probably planning this the whole time. Maybe only a few in his inner circle knew. Most of the Martians seemed open to long-standing trade, and I know at least a dozen people who were ready to migrate over there.”
Kirka shook her head. “We should have known when Ithaca won that election. All that talk of purity and now…”
Loni said, “I can’t believe there’s so much hate for telepaths there.”
To say that there was hatred for telepaths on ROAM might have been an understatement. When they had first learned that nearly a quarter of Luna 1 and Luna 2 were telepaths, and that the entire power structure of Luna surrounded telepathy, ROAM had stopped transmitting to Luna for two months. It seemed in that time that the key issue of the bi-annual elections on ROAM centered around what to do around Luna. Of course, it was Luna who needed ROAM more than ROAM needed Luna, especially now that all of Luna’s ships were filled with Solidsonium and more than halfway to ROAM. It was if the moment they had launched aid to their neighbors, the doors had closed. Those ships were supposed to be coming back filled with parts to upgrade and repair both Luna’s alcoves and food dispensers, something that all Luna desperately needed. But now that the ships were more than halfway, there was no turning back. Even if they reversed course, it would be 37 months for return with the remaining fuel and the pilots didn’t have enough supplies to survive that long.
Kirka said, “AI, How long till impact?”
“Commander, at their current velocity, the rockets will impact Luna 1 in 13 months, 5 days and 12 hours and Luna 2 thirty-four minutes later.”
Loni said, “Should would turn the ships around?”
Kirka thought long and hard, so long, that Loni repeated her question, but in direct mind to mind contact, as if Kirka hadn’t heard.
“I heard you. There’s no help for us. The ships would never make it back in time, and even if they did, they could only accommodate a few hundred, not even a third of our population. Plus, there are the pilots to think about isn’t there.”
Loni frowned, “What do you think they’ll do to Darsee and Collin when they get to ROAM?”
“Neither of them is telepathic, so they might be okay. It’s certainly better than dying of starvation, isn’t it? If the ships had an alcove, then maybe it would be worth turning them around.”
“And what if they decide to execute them or torture them?”
The lines on Kirka’s face deepened. “Even if we did call them back, Where would go?”
“There’s always earth.”
Kirka snorted. “You really want to go there, don’t you? That has to be the fifth time in the last six months you’ve suggested it. Have you seen any of the latest climate reports? Things are getting worse, not better. Besides, it’s not like anyone’s even alive down there.”
“It’s moot though isn’t it? It will take the ships twice as long to get back here as it will the rockets. We’re done. It’s over and no doubt the stabilizers will fail, and the moon will end any chance the earth might have had for recovery.”
For the centuries since the Lunar war split Luna into two discreet pieces, Kirka and the other survivors of that war had maintained the Lunar orbit above earth. Luna was on a slow decay and the power required to stabilize the orbit in full was far beyond their reach. They best they could do was delay the orbital decay and hope like hell, their best scientist, Loridian, could find a solution in the long term.
Loni said, “We should give them a choice.”
Kirka ran her hand through her hair and closed her eyes for a moment. Both pilots knew in advance that this was likely a one-way trip. Both had nothing to live for on Luna, and it was why they were both chosen. They were expecting to start a life on Mars. Still, that was a far cry different from going into what was now enemy territory with no way of defending yourself.
“That’s fair. They deserve to make the choice. AI?”
“Yes, Commander Kirka?”
“The next time we are in broadcast alignment for the shuttles, will you notify me so that I can send a message?”
Loni jumped and floated to another consule. This one closer to Kirka.“When are you going to tell everyone?”
“Tell them what? That ROAM, the people that we spent so many months convincing everyone to help has betrayed us and sent rockets to destroy us?”
“Yeah, that thing.”
“I don’t know Loni. You know what it’s going to do to everyone? You know how tense things are already? Thousands of people suddenly told they are going to die? We might tear ourselves apart before those missiles reach us.”
“They have a right to know.”
“They do. But how much time in advance?”
Kirka wished she had the answers, but no matter how many years she served as commander, no matter how many times the council reappointed her, there was simply no easy answer here.
“I have to think about it Loni.”
“And the council?”
“This is a security issue. I am in sole command of security. All those five will do is to complicate the issue. Better to hold out for now.”
“They’ll stick you back in storage if you do that.”
Kirka shrugged. “Maybe. Maybe not. I am not interested in turning those rockets into another excuse for political theater. You know how Grayson and Sanders get.”
Loni nodded. “Well, don’t think too hard about it. You know that’s not going to help.”
“I need to get some rest. I’ve been on for 18 hours now. AI?”
“Keep all information about the incoming projectiles classified until I deem otherwise, maximum security clearance.”
Historians Note to the Text
Commander Raldaz Kirka had a long record of military service. Officially a military representative of the mid 21st century European Union, she lead the war on Luna for the Europeans and Americans against the Chinese and Russians. During the day of the great split, in which a fusion core ruptured and split the moon into Luna 1 and Luna 2, Commander Kirka was severely injured. She spent nearly a century inside an alcove. Upon revival, she was immediately commissioned to take control of both Luna 1 and Luna 2 which, were on the verge of total collapse from high crime rates, severe food shortages, and two warring gangs. At first, she was considered a poor leader, one of strict and apathetic persuasion, but, when after only a single year, Lunites found peace and stability, her talents were recognized, and she maintained command for centuries until the conflict with ROAM and the beginning of the Great Migration.
For more on Commander Raldaz Kirka, including her published works, biography and genealogical relations to Matron Angela, visit library 34n in section 9143.
Matron Mariposa Phillips 832.1.6 I.S.
Three days. For three days and nights Kirka tossed and turned and paced and braced herself for what she needed to do. She needed to tell Luna general, needed to announce to all her people that the end was coming and that death was a certainty. She tried to discover a way out, a route toward liberation, but it seemed certain that there was no path forward. So far, she had only told Loridian, and had then spent nearly every free moment for two days grilling them on possible strategies for saving Luna. Loridian had no answers.
Now she stood on the deck of her command, one of the only spots that had an open view of the surface of Luna 2 and allowed for a view of the greater starfield, and of the earth. She gazed down at the planet. Loni had been right, even a descent into the wasteland on the surface would have given some hope to the people. Even that would have provided them with an opportunity to rally around something, to cradle it and give birth to a chance. But they were denied even that.
“Commander, my long range scopes are detecting something coming our direction.”
“Yes, I know, you don’t have to remind me AI.”
“Commander, this object is different than the projectiles.”
She walked from the window and over to her center console.
“What? Describe it.”
“The object is massive and is approaching at a steady speed from the direction of earth.”
“What is it?”
“At this time, that is unknown. However, it has adjusted course on several occasions since I began tracking it, which would indicate that it is a humanmade object.”
“How long have you been tracking it?”
“And why didn’t you say something about it before?”
“The parameters you set for detection of an object require that I verify whether it is a naturally occurring or a manmade if time permits.”
“Fine, How big is it?”
“Exact dimensions are difficult to calculate from this distance, but it appears to be more than fifty kilometers in width and fifteen kilometers in height. I cannot tell the other dimensions from this angle.”
“Too large for a ship then. AI whats the ETA of the object?”
“Commander, at its current velocity, the object will reach Luna 2 in eighteen days, five hours and fifteen minutes.”
“I want you to alert me the moment you know more; anything at all do you understand?”
Kirka’s heart was pounding. She didn’t know why, but something about this object gave her a strange sense of hope. It wasn’t a natural object, so it could it be one of the long lost colonies from the asteroid belt? But that didn’t make any sense since it was coming from earth did it?
Kirka spun around in her chair and moved to her screen for a closer look. The object appeared to be some kind of oblong disc but in the scopes it was tiny.
“AI will you contact Loridian?”
“Captain, Luna 1 will not be in broadcast alignment for 2 more hours.”
“Fine, alert me when it’s time.”
Luna 1 no longer had any way of detecting long-range threats, not after the meteor shower had damaged their scopes a few decades back, so it was up to Kirka to be the eyes and ears of Luna general.
Kirka paced back and forth. Loni was late. She was always late for shift change, and Kirka was growing tired of that. Why had she promoted her in the first place? It’s not like she didn’t have others that she could have picked.
The object intrigued her. If it was making course corrections and coming from the planet, what did that mean?
“AI, what is the likelihood that this is a transport vehicle?”
“Probability is high.”
“During the end of the 21st century, there was the development of technology that would be capable of moving thousands of humans into space at one time. There was also the development of the technology to move entire cities.”
“We know that failed. We know cities never walked and that it was just a pipe dream before the Lunar war made things on the surface worse.”
“Commander, there is no reason to assume it failed. Just because we lost contact with the surface does not necessitate failure.”
What if it was a ship or a transport? Would they be able to accommodate all the Lunites? Could it be Earthlings? They had watched the earth for centuries now and had been certain that if all the population wasn’t dead, that they were at best scattered or more likey underground. But their scopes weren’t that powerful, everything that allowed for long distance viewing and been destroyed in the Lunar War. They had only discovered that ROAM was still around out of sheer dumb luck when ROAM had sent a transmission exactly as their communication array was aligned with the planet a few decades earlier.
For now, though, they would watch and wait and see what the object was. Maybe just maybe, when she announced that ROAM had sent missiles to destroy them, she would have good news as well. After all, it wasn’t as if their situation could get worse than impending doom right?