Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Apollo 18 - Part 1

April 1973
“Houston, approaching Copernicus Crater, initiating landing procedure in minus 90 seconds.” Commander Richard Gordon looked out of the viewport as the Mare Insularum raced beneath the Eagle Lander.
The radio crackled in delayed response. “Roger Eagle, please be aware that due to the height of the surrounding mountains you will be out of radio contact until the Command Module, Lightfoot, crosses the horizon. However it is advised to maintain radio silence at all times until lift off. Remember your mission is to record images and take soil samples and liaise with the Command Module in approximately 21 hours. Do not stray from your mission parameters.”
“Understood Houston, see you on the other side, Eagle out.”
“Roger Eagle. God speed to Apollo 18, Houston out.”

The radio subsided into a hum of white noise; Commander Gordon flicked the switch to silence it. 
Gerald Carr, the pilot nodded his approval. “Thank you Dick, that noise freaks me out. Well, we’re on our own now.” 
“It’s even worse for Vance,” the Commander replied, “When he takes the CSM into the dark side he will be the loneliest being in the universe.”
“He hopes…”
Carr grunted. “I still can’t believe the orders we were issued hours before take-off; I thought I was following in the giant steps of Armstrong.”
“You are, don’t you think the earlier Apollo missions saw strange things? They were recorded but the knowledge was never made public. Even Neil saw stuff, have no doubt about that. We don’t know what we’re dealing with here; Apollo 17 was put in the utmost danger by its chance discovery when it overflew Copernicus.”
In his mind’s eye the Commander remembered the briefing, he and his crew had been summoned to the secretive meeting with NASA Director James Fletcher and Vice President Ford just prior to their pre-flight quarantine. The Vice President’s face was ashen and he was wreathed in smoke as he nervously smoked his briar pipe. The Director played the recorded observations that Apollo 17 had made. He read the report that the Astronauts who had landed had been observed by humanoid entities and that the Command Module had been buzzed by unidentified craft that were clearly under intelligent control. The crew were originally supposed to spend 3 days on the surface but when their parked rover was destroyed by non-human hand, they quickly abandoned their base.  They then saw the photos that the Command Module had taken. The buildings and structures and of the large, half buried craft that lay, seemingly abandoned in the Copernicus crater. He remembered the words of the Vice President, his hand shakily holding his pipe. “These entities are clearly hostile; they are warning us away from our moon. We need to know why.”
Back in the Lander the Commander turned to the pilot. “You’ve seen the photos, think you can land in that hilly area?”
“Yes Dick I can do it. I wondered why I was trained to approach at a low trajectory. I guess to be as subtle as we can? Entering final approach vector.”
The Commander reached for his helmet and snapped it on. He flicked switches as he co-piloted the Eagle. He looked at his companion. “Gerald, put on your helmet.”
The pilot shook his head. “I can fly better without it. It’s bad enough having to wear these gloves; I need to be in tune with the bird. Ok here’s the Crater’s rim, engaging radar.”
“Check, damn we’re mere meters above these mountains; we’re coming in too fast!”
“relax. Hitting retros, five second burst.”
The Eagle shook as the retro rockets burst into life, slowing the craft. Carr skillfully swung the Eagle into an upright landing position and frantically looked for a clear landing site amid the hills and mounds of the southern half of Copernicus. Concentrating on his job in hand he didn’t notice the Commander scanning the area. 
“Sweet Jesus the reports were correct. There are buildings set into the northern rim. Gerald put us down, I see movement to the north, we’ve been seen. Get us down, now!”
Carr wrestled with the controls; the Eagle twisted this way and that. “The auto-pilot is engaged, it needs to find a clear landing site. You don’t know that they’ve seen us, I kept us low amid the hills. I can’t take us down too quickly…” 
Through the viewports the inky blackness turned brilliant white and the Lander shook. Alarms sounded and lights flashed. The Commander looked out of the portal northwards as the Pilot flicked switches trying to silence the alarms. “Manual Override, take us down, now, that’s an order.”
Carr, visibly shaken, nodded. “Starting rapid descent. Disengaging autopilot. Landfall in 10 seconds, “9, 8...”
He was interrupted as another flash lit up the outside of the Lander and strident sounds of alarms overpowered the roar of the retros.
“We’re under attack! They’re detecting us somehow.” Carr shouted. “It’s the RADAR…”

Carr’s scream and all other noises ceased abruptly as the hull breached, exposing the interior to the vacuum of space. The Commander looked on in horror as he saw Carr try to catch his helmet that shot towards the rupture along with other loose items. Strapped to this chair the struggling Carr’s body began to swell contained with his suit. The dying man’s eyes met the Commander’s one last time, their stare eternal as Carr’s eyes, nose and mouth instantly froze over. Carr’s face and close cropped scalp turned blue as the oxygen in his bloodstream reversed dissolved and his struggling ceased. The Commander quickly turned off the radar and two seconds later the Lander crashed heavily. He felt one of the legs buckle with the impact, his head slammed against the interior of his helmet and he knew no more. 
To be continued.


  1. Nice one Rob, I like the fact it's based on passed event etc and the theories that there are structures on the Moon, are you going to continue it or is that it for the whole crew?

    1. Glad you liked it Simon. Part 2 is coming soon!