Oct 21
fiction challenge: Reach

The Green Temple


“This, my friends, is moon 7852 of the Beta quadrant.”

I stuck my face against the glass, it fogged up as I looked at the marvel before me. Moon 7852, or as we called it, Sunset, was a sight to see. The brilliant orange and red flora dotted the surface, with the ruins of some ancient civilization, their bright green stone temples like a whale bursting through an orange sea. 

I’m Warren, and this was my first mission. I had been training at the Space Exploration Academy of Earth, and it was my first chance to shine on a real mission. We were going to study the alien ruins on Sunset, and collect some data on that extinct civilization, the creators of those amazing landmarks. 

“Now don’t fog up the glass too much, Pliers.” 

I ripped my eyes away from the beautiful view and turned to Chloe. 

Me and Chloe had known eachother since the Academy, and we had both graduated, and coincidentally, been sent on the same mission. I became our engineer, but she had graduated to become the co-pilot. 

I stuck my tongue out at her. 

“Don’t call me Pliers, you know you’re just calling me that to mess with me,” I said.

She laughed. 

“Why else would I be calling you that, numbskull.”

A voice blasted over the intercom as I turned back to the window. 

“L a n d i n g  i n  t - m i n u s  t w o  m i n u t e s ,  p l e a s e  b u c k l e  y o u r  

s e a t b e l t s”

I hopped back into my seat, and slung my seat belt across my shoulder. Chloe plopped down next to me, strapping herself in. 
***

    “This is it, rookies. We get in and out, and grab the package we were sent for.”

    Our leading officer, Morgan, was not someone you’d call kind. He wouldn’t teach you anything, saying, “That is what the Academy was for” or “Find out yourself, I don’t have all day”. Everyone we knew disliked him. 

    Dust billowed as our small craft, dislodged from our main ship, The Arrowhead, landed on Sunset. I slid on my pack and watched as the ramp lowered. 

Chloe nudged me and whispered, “This is it, Pliers. I’m not saving you if some alien beams you up.” 

I socked her in the shoulder. “You’re gonna be the one being beamed up.” 
    Me, Chloe, Morgan, and a few other members of our crew advanced into the forest. It seemed that everything around us was covered in a thin layer of Cheeto dust. The trees were orange, the bugs were orange, even the dirt on the ground was orange. Sunset was quite a fitting name. 

    We burst through the foliage, and came upon a giant green structure. 

    “Wow.”

    It was easily an architectural marvel. It was a floating sphere of some sort of stone, vibrating with some unknown power. But even in its beauty, there was some sort of evil intent coming off of it, like if a “Do not enter” sign was thrown right at your face. I looked at Chloe, and she had the look in her eyes that she had felt it too. 

    “Prepare yourself for what’s in there. This alien race has been extinct for years, but the members of our Space Program just found it activate with some sort of unknown energy. We were told to pick up the package in the center of the temple, which seems to be the source of the mysterious power source. STAY TOGETHER AT ALL COSTS. If you do get separated, contact me on your radio. If it gets ugly in there and you are attacked, call for a team member and leave immediately.” 

    Morgan pointed at me and Chloe

    “You two will come with me. Everyone else, divide up in groups and go in behind us.” 

    I looked at Chloe and she shrugged. I adjusted my pack and started to follow Morgan. 

    We advanced upon a tall flight of crumbling stairs leading up to the sphere. The green stone puzzled me. Where did they get such a material, on a planet of orange? We reached the top of the stairs and to the sphere. When we got close to it, I realized that it wasn’t stone, it was something else, like a bubble. 

    “Um, Morgan? How the heck are we gonna get inside this thing?” 

I asked, but Morgan paid no attention to me. He appeared to be in some sort of trance, slowly advancing towards the bubble. He stopped inches from it, and reached forward. He tapped it, and was sucked in. I yelped and ran forward. “Where did he go?” I looked behind me for Chloe, but she was gone too. So was all of our crew! I took a deep breath, bracing myself for the inevitable. I had to go in. I slowly advanced towards the sphere, taking slow, panicky breaths. I raised my arm shakily, and tapped the sphere. I felt a lurch in my stomach, and I was hurled in. 

And that was the moment when I knew it had all flown out of my reach.

To be continued...


 
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