• Published 23rd Aug 2013
  • 2,880 Views, 57 Comments

The Last Small Step for Man - nice joe

When a lone astronaut finds nightmare moon on the lunar surface, his entire universe is sent into a tail spin

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A Close Encounter

The last Small Step for Man

A Close Encounter

It seems that no matter how smart, strong or experienced you are, the one foe that can never be bested is, and always will be, time. At the height of mankind’s existence we took to the stars, and found a place that could support life. I can hardly believe that in my lifetime earthlings will have a new world to call home, and that that home can give mankind a second chance, a new life with a new history. Unfortunately that star is out of my reach, which is why I don’t really look out there anymore.

My name is Lieutenant John Mercy; well Captain now really, the year is 2058. I’ve never done one of these Captains logs, but protocol says I’m overdue , so I figured I’d do a little recap of the events leading me here. I come from a military family, I have the NAVY on my mothers’ side and the Army on my fathers’ side with me in the Air Force, but what I wanted to do more than anything was go to space, to be an astronaut. By the time that project pathfinder had gotten the green light I had worked my way through the ranks to Lieutenant. With a box full of medals from over 100 successful missions, I was on top of there recruiting list. It only seems like yesterday when I walked into my COs office, and there awaiting me was a sharply dressed man holding my file.

“Its Lieutenant Mercy isn’t it?” he said with a strong educated voice as I was just walking in, I immediately noticed the strips on his uniform and saluted which he returned.

“Yes sir” I said bringing my hand back down to my side. “I was told to meet with Cornel Dice?”

“You where, but I think this is a conversation best had in person, given its importance, so I told your Cornel to take an early lunch”

“Importance, sir?”

He opened my file “Says here that you’ve applied for NASA four times, why?”

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do sir, to this day the bonds of Earth have always felt like a ball and chain.”

With a smile he leaned in close and said “I know exactly what you mean”

And then he told me about Project Pathfinder. To sum up the operation, NASA decided that we’ve been looking through the same telescope for to long, and that its time for an upgrade. To build a bigger better telescope and move it further away from earth, a lot further. NASA decided to build a massive telescope on the moon. The crew of this mission was only fourteen in strength, aboard the USS Athens. The brand new Space Station, complete with all the best toys, everything from artificial gravity, to multi purpose drop ships, to a fully equipped kitchen and a ship board A.I. named Adam. When we finished construction, it was considered the greatest technological achievement in human history. They called it The Key, but I never new why. Nor did I really care, I came to the place where only a few humans have ever been to, I slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch to face of god. I was so happy, but at the same time a little sad. For me, the moon was always a taunting reminder of how small I really was and even though I’ve done so much with my life I would never touch it no matter how high I reached. But when my chance came and I walked in the foot steps of Neil Armstrong, I just laughed. It didn’t feel as good as I hoped.

For awhile we were like rock stars, talking to the media, kids in class rooms, the president and other world leaders all through a web cam. You see, we could not come back home yet; building the Key was just half of the mission. The other half was maintaining it, making repairs when needed and such. But it didn’t take NASA long to realize that the Key did not require an entire crew to function, and with the motivation of money behind the wheel, the fourteen crew of the USS Athens was cut down to one. The others where re-assigned to another project.

And now it’s just me, and Adam I suppose, but talking to a text based A.I. is not what I call a stimulating conversation, pretty good chess player though. I do miss my crew mates but NASA was not wrong, the Key can be maintained by one professional, and on the bright side the information that NASA taught me is worth billions, they speared no expense in making me as universal as possible, this includes engineering, physics, medical, even combat; no better way to relieve stress then getting in the ring and having a few sparing matches with a good friend. Any skill I could need.

But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw out there, in the dust and rock. This is where it gets weird; I got a reading on a few of the solar panels that power the telescope, most likely a stray asteroid sent some debris scratching the surface of the panels, happens all the time, so I suited up, grabbed my gear and launched out of the hanger, bound for the light side of the moon, where the solar panels are stationed. It was a routine task and it really didn’t take me long, using my educated scanners I found the damage and applied a super conductive electrical sealant and then repositioned the askew panel back towards the sun. As soon as Adam confirmed energy output returning to optimal levels, I decided to go for a little walk seeing as how I have a few more hours of oxygen left anyway I figured, why not?

The modern day space suit is very similar to the EMU model of 2013, if a little more conservative. But ever since Pat Vincent got torn in half due to and asteroid impact, all modern day EMU come with armor plaiting. It’s really an eloquent design, keeping that iconic look of the astronaut wile being much safer and more maneuverable; I can actually sit down in it. Witch is exactly what I did when I spotted a comfortable looking rock after walking around for half an hour and ignoring Adam telling me to return to the Athens. So there I am just chilling on the moon and looking up at home among the stars, but when I returned my attention to strait ahead, and what I saw completely changed my opinion of reality forever. There staring me right in the face, was a large black horse, with a horn, emerald eyes and a mane and tail made of the stars themselves. Now, I don’t have a lot of experience in dealing with psychotic delusions but I’d like to think I acted fairly rationally.

“Holy shit!” I yelled as I fell backwards over the rock, I stammered to my feet and turned to be on eye level, which is when I noticed that the horse had wings

“w-what the hell are-“ my sentence was cut short, I cant really explain it but somehow this thing tossed me a good 100 feet without even touching me, low gravity sucks.

After she flew over to where I landed she did it again but just held me in place a few feet off the ground “How dare you sully our moon with your presence, vile creature! What are you anyway? Have you been banished here as well?”

“I don’t even know what you talking about you crazy horse, I don’t even know if your real!”

“You insolent creature of metal and cloth!” With that, it slammed me into the ground and drug me over to her until I was right below it, placing its hoof down on my chest plait with a surprising strength, despite my struggling and the added help from my suit I could not get away from its clutches, however from the sound of its voice I was able to deduce that it is at least female.

“I ask you again, what are you, speak now or I will end your misbegotten existence”
she spoke with the kind of authority that dictators speak with, the kind of authority laced with danger, hatered and full blown evil, feminine but evil. But like all dictators eventually do, she made a mistake. She brought me close enough to tase her ass. The taser extends from my right fist into an electrified brass knuckle, and I punch it right into her chest and as she cried out in pain the combined effort of the electricity and the force of the hit was enough to send her flying a good 15 feet, low gravity is awesome. Wile she’s crippled in pain I jump to my feet and take off like a bat out of hell, towards my drop ship. I reach my ships large drop down door and spin around to see how close she is behind me, but shes right where I left her, though she’s not in pain anymore, it’s a little hard to tell because of the distance, but it look as though she’s just sitting there staring in my direction, I shake it off, open the door and head for the cockpit.

When I arrive in the hanger of the Athens, I didn’t leave cock pit, I just sat there in limbo, staring at the screens, switches, and all the other components of the flight mechanisms. I look up at a flashing light next to a computer monitor,

“Captain Mercy, are you okay?”

“No Adam, I am far from okay.”

Author's Note:

My first; don't plan on spending to much time on this story, but tell me what you think so far.

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