Sci-Fi Sample – Dalotek Base

moon, base, control room, SPace 1999
Image from Space 1999 TV Series

The doors slid aside and Doctor Forrester followed Colonel Stryker off the lift.

“I am truly impressed, Colonel, with your base. It is absolutely amazing what can be done with enough tax payer dollars!”

The stern faced Colonel just nodded.

“I understand now why you were so adamant that we keep our distance when we set up our own base here on the moon.   And I must say,” he smiled, “that I’m rather surprised that you not only took us in, but have been so open and forthcoming.  I have truly enjoyed this tour.”

Stryker, a head taller than Forrester, trim with a military crew cut and steel gray eyes said, without emotion, “Leaving you there to die when your base was damaged, didn’t seem to be the thing to do, Doctor Forrester.”

“No, I would hope not.  Although, frankly, I would not have been surprised if you had.  But I did expect the lot of us to be squirreled away in some storage room.  This tour was so unexpected!”

“Hmmm…” Nodded Styker.

“Especially since you are obviously not happy about having my team and I here.  But I assure you Colonel, your secrets are safe with me.  I shall never speak of them with anyone.”

“That is quite true, Doctor.”  

Doctor Forrester’s broad smile faded some, “Colonel, that sounds rather like a threat.  Is there something you ought to tell me?”

“You won’t be able to tell anyone about our moon base because you won’t be leaving this base.”

The Doctor’s persistent smile disappeared as he eyed the Colonel, “Do you plan to murder us or hold us captive, Colonel?”

“Captive?” Asked Stryker, raising his eyebrows, “What would be the purpose in that?  You’d be sucking in our air, consuming food and water and contributing nothing at all to the welfare of this base.  No, doctor, prisoners – at least long term prisoners  – are not a practical consideration.”

“So… it’s to be murder then?”

“If we wanted you and your team dead, Doctor, we would simply have left you in your facility to asphyxiate.”

Forrester’s heavy brows knitted as he blinked at Stryker, “What then… we can’t go, we can’t stay, you aren’t going to kill us.  What’s left?”

“I never said you couldn’t stay, Doctor.  I said it would be impractical to imprison you.  But we have need of you as a member of our staff here at our base.”

Forrester’s jaw dropped and his left eye squinted down as it did when he was faced with something perplexing, “We are not military, Colonel.  Quite the opposite in fact.  ‘Radical eggheads’ I believe is what you called us when the Dalotek Corporation announced its plans to establish a mining settlement on the moon.  We are a geological team.  This is a defense base, what possible use could we be to you? “

“I can’t tell you that, Doctor, unless you agree to stay.”

“That’s very unhelpful.”

“I’m sorry, it’s the best I can do. And the offer is extended only to you.  Your colleagues are ‘squirreled away in a storage room‘ awaiting an emergency transport to take them back to Earth.”

Forrester rubbed his face, his finger tracing along his cheekbone, wondering what he was missing.   He had been trapped in a chamber apart from the others.  It would have taken several hoppers to get his group to Moon Base, and he was transported alone, in the last hopper to leave.  It was possible his staff did not know he was still alive. “And if I choose not to join you?”

Stryker scowled, “Then we report that we were unable to locate you in what’s left of your mining base, and we take you back.”

Forrester’s eyes went wide, “The base is fractured, I’d have only the air in my suit!  You would be murdering me!”

“I would, Doctor, simply be returning you to the situation you created for yourself.”

Forrester stared at him, his thoughts racing in a confused jumble, but over it all was the resounding recollection of his often expressed refrain, ‘God I hate the military!’

 

~~/ * _ * ~~

 

My brain sneezed last night and expelled this bit of Sci-Fi sputum.  It does that from time to time.  I thought I’d post it here and ask my fiction writing friends to pick it apart.  If I were to turn it into a short story, what needs fixing to make it a good lead-in to a short story that might be worth publishing?

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22 Comments

  1. Nicely done, Allan! One of the key points of any story is to suck the reader in quickly and you’ve done that in a very short bit of space. I for one wouldn’t mind reading the first chapter.

    If I have any constructive criticism at all it’s that any military guy with the name “Stryker” is a bit cliche. But then again, if he’s a cliche military guy too, then there’s something to be said about riding out the stereotype for a bit of tongue-in-cheek.

    1. My brain likes to spew punny cliches. Soldier named Stryker, a geologist named Forrester… If I got serious about this I’d change the names. This is just the way it rolled off the gray matter. Thanks, Rick I appreciate the feedback.

  2. I agree with Rick: time for the Name Game and change them. Otherwise, I enjoyed it.

    Now…just so you know, I AM a spam slinging alien lifeform, waiting to take over this moonbase. Spam for every meal!!!

    1. I wrote a book called Children of Saurkhan in which I had a tough military type and a scientist that would very nicely fit these roles. The book was never published, so I could scavenge my character notes from there and plug them in here – I’d just need to remember where I put the notebook. It may be under the broken leg of the sofa.

      Spam is the fruit of the moon. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, spam-kabobs, spam creole, spam gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple spam, lemon spam, coconut spam, pepper spam, spam soup, spam stew, spam salad, spam and potatoes, spam burger, spam sandwich. That- that’s about it.

    1. Thanks J.C. Looks like it might be worth pursuing. I have a vague idea of where the story will go, but there are some fair sized questions to answer. This is the point where I kill off many of my story ideas – poking at it with analysis before the inspiration has cooled tends to cause it to crack and fall apart.

  3. That’s really good Allan! I reckon the good doctor will take him up on his offer too. I wonder if they will pronounce him dead or tell the truth, that he defected 😉

    1. I expect he will too. And I suppose they’ll have to invent some reason that he did not return with the others – probably the one already stated. At this point I know why they want him and what happened to the other base, but there are many questions to answer before forging ahead. Just one is: why the dickens is there a defense base on the moon, who are they defending, from whom, and how? OK, maybe that is more than one, but they’re all closely related and need answering before I can proceed. Muse has given me a hint… hashing it out now. Thanks for the encouragement, Sire.

        1. Sinister? The military? Ohhhh, c’mon! 🙂
          Defending one nation from another via the moon would be pointless: satellites would be much more effective. Defending Earth from aliens — maybe: better view of space and all that, but scrambling fighters from the moon to intercept invaders coming in on the other side of Earth would be equally pointless. As an observation post – watching for something; that would make sense; no atmosphere to block views. And if a base/scanner array were mounted on the so-called “dark” side of the moon it would always be facing out away from Earth and offering great views of the neighborhood. At the moment I’m thinking a N.E.O. watch post with the ability to detect and defend against those football stadium sized rocks that occasionally crash into our planet. How they’d discourage them from doing that I’m not sure yet. Maybe a giant slingshot.

          1. OK, b ut what if they know that something catastrophic is going to happen on Earth and the Moon is the closest haven and the military is there to secure the moon for their citizens against other comers?

          2. Funny you should mention that! This was NOT part of my original inkling, but I was recently pondering the fact that if it should become a novella length story it will have to include at least one torrid love scene and either vampires of zombies in order to have any chance at all of becoming popular. (Only partly kidding) I suppose the government could be sending key personnel to a moon base in order to isolate them from some horrible zombie creating disease on Earth – hoping it will run its course and they can go back “home” when it’s done. I have no desire to write a zombie novel, but I could use it – briefly – as a plot factor. Of course providing food, water and air to a burgeoning population would need to be considered, especially in light of the possibility that transmittable pathogens could taint supplies they bring with them. Worth thinking about: thanks!

  4. This is promising, Allan. I read the comments, so I don’t have to add my ducats regarding the name Stryker. However, I am glad you explained the reasoning. I never realized WHY Stryker was such a well-worn military name.

    I came here from your referring post (Mysteries of the Moon.) I love the idea of a refinery. With one stroke, you’ve eliminated the possibility that the moon would be a useless source for minerals.

    Where is the best site to plug into, in order to learn when this story is available?

    Cheers,

    Mitch

      1. Ooh, is it going to be a comedy space opera? By all means, call him Fester. LOL

        Cheers,

        Mitch

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