“‘One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’ As soon as those words were uttered, generations were inspired to ask themselves one question: Is there life on other planets? The people were half right.”
Jul 16, 1969
“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
As soon as those words were uttered, generations were inspired to ask themselves one question: Is there life on other planets? The people were half right.
To: XXXXXX XXXXX
Chairman Of The Board
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Should we tell the public? About what we really XXXXXXXXXX XX XX? It’s good we cut out half the transmission, right? I have so many questions. The XXXXXX would panic if they knew what we really saw! It’s amazing, isn’t it? Anyway, we’ll have to tell them at some point, right? But not right now, for I have a feeling we can keep it a secret.
Yours truly, XXXX XXXXXXXXX
Chapter One: The Lonely World
December 6, 2087 – 10:00 AM
Asphodel Space Station
They knew by now. They did. They knew what cataclysmic event doomed the human race to a miserable future of living on a space station. Even Mason Dell did, didn’t he? Mason was only ten, maybe eleven, because it was hard to tell your age in a place where the sun never set. The future wasn’t purely bleak, however. Humans had invented many devices, such as the SenseSet, a virtual reality device that was compatible with all five senses. Mason spent some time there, battling dragons or racing hovercars. Then there was the BioSim, a holographic device that could make you feel like you were on Earth, the Earth that existed before the “Event,” as the scientists called it. But Mason’s true favorite was the SpeedBike, a hundred-mile-per-hour bike that could take him anywhere, or on this occasion, school.
Chapter Two: Interrogation
December 6, 2087 – 2:00 PM
The Institute Of Educational Facilities
“A caterpillar evolves into a cocoon, and that cocoon evolves into a butterfly,” the teacher said, eager to share his facts about Earth with everyone in the class.
Why share this with us if we could learn about this in the BioSim? thought Mason as he copied it down in his notebook. Tyler flicked a spitball at him, for he could not find a straw with which to do it. Tyler was the “mentally challenged” boy in Mason’s class. He was a boy who tended to explore the BioSim for days at a time, without even seeing real humans until he took it off.
At recess, Mason heard a familiar voice behind him.
“That spitball was only the warning shot, twerp,” Tyler said, grinning. “Now I’m locked and loaded, ready to finish you off!”
Mason ducked as Tyler shot his spitball gun at him rapidly until he couldn’t take it anymore. Tyler aimed for his ear when suddenly he heard a voice he had heard many times before.
“Put the gun down,” said the PC-467 automated law enforcement officer. “Want me to take you to Wilson, you criminal?”
The PC-467 grabbed Tyler by the shirt and began to walk away, still holding Tyler.
Mason stepped in front of the PC-467 and said, “You aren’t taking him to Wilson, you robotic freak!”
“Why not, if I may ask?” it replied.
“Because Tyler is my brother,” he replied. “And he isn’t going anywhere.”
Chapter Three: Wilson
December 6, 2087 – 4:00 PM
There were two chairs in the room. Mason looked around cautiously. He peered and saw someone hiding in the shadows, watching him.
“Show yourself!” he said.
The man stepped out of the shadows and sat in the chair. He wore a blue pinstriped suit and an elegant bow tie. Wilson, thought Mason. Wilson was a robot created to be the “president” of the space station. He was created to make decisions, help solve problems, and most importantly, be the perfect leader so people would not consider overthrowing him. His voice was made to sound like a real human’s.
“I heard there was an ‘incident’ involving a patrol-bot,” he said.
“Do you know the real reason your brother stays in the BioSim for days at a time? It’s because he wants to go back to Earth. He hates it here. That’s the reason he bullies you all the time, you know. I wish I could help you, but he’s your brother, which means he’s your problem. Now step in the Transporter and head home. Bet your mother’s waiting for you.”
“You’re letting me off this easy?” said Mason as he stepped in the Transporter and punched in the coordinates.
“Your mother’s a personal friend of mine, remember?” Wilson replied.
“Thanks,” muttered Mason.
My mother isn’t a personal friend of Wilson’s, she’s his secretary, he thought bitterly.
“Wait,” said Wilson. “I have one question for you. Do you also want to go back to Earth?”
Mason ignored him and teleported away.
Chapter Four: Home
December 6, 2087 – 6:00 PM
Mason flopped onto the couch. Tyler was fiddling with some sort of strange gaming console.
“What’s that?” asked Mason.
“Found it in the space junk dump. People said it could be around 70 years old. Doesn’t even have a virtual reality aspect to it. The label says ‘XBOX 360.’”
Mason watched as Tyler tried to plug it into their VRVD (Virtual Reality Viewing Device) and a buzzing sound came on, and the words XBOX 360 flashed on the screen.
“Yes!” yelled Tyler.
He walked away and headed to the SenseSet.
“I thought you were going to play on it,” said Mason.
“Nah,” said Tyler. “I was just setting it up.”
He walked away and put on the SenseSet.
“Can I play?” asked Mason.
“Wait a minute,” said a familiar voice. It was Mason’s mother, Liz. “You boys should get something to eat.”
“But we want to play on the SenseSet!” they both said in unison.
“Okay, boys, but only for a short while.”
Mom winked at them, and he put the headset on.
Chapter Five: Decisions
December 6, 2087 – 7:30 PM
Somewhere In Cyberspace
Mason heard a buzzing sound as he was transported to an unfamiliar world. Where am I? he wondered. He stared around, unsure of his surroundings. There was a waterfall, a grove of trees up ahead, and a knight in crystalline black armor next to him. Tyler’s character, he thought. He looked down and saw that he was wearing simple leather gear and carried a metal sword made of some sort of strange iron. Out of nowhere, aliens burst out of the grove, holding some sort of futuristic sword. Tyler grabbed a obsidian black bow, to match his armor, and started to pick off the aliens one by one.
“I thought this was medieval!” yelled Mason as Tyler speared an alien through the head, and it exploded into green goop.
“Hey, Tyler,” screamed Mason over the vicious roar of the aliens. “Do you really want to leave the space station?”
And just like that, everything stopped. Mason remembered many things about the space station he didn’t like, such as the ever-growing Tropic Zone, a place where humans could experience a man-made rainforest, or the Greenfield, a gigantic farm where most of Asphodel’s food came from. But his saddest memory was at the Lunar Aeronautics Facility, the place where his father used to work.
Chapter Five and a Half: A Dark Memory
July 29, 2081 – 1:30
Lunar Aeronautics Facility
Mason was six when it happened. His father was a pilot, a man who drove the rocket ships back and forth from Asphodel, either carrying cargo or passengers. One day, Mason’s father was assigned to a cargo flight where he carried something of utmost importance: moondust, the main building material in Asphodel. During the flight, a bag of moondust burst open, slid towards the window, and fogged up his windows, which caused a collision that killed everyone onboard both rockets. It is time, thought Mason. Time to leave the space station.
Chapter Six: Preparations
December 7, 2087 – 7:30 AM
“Time to draw out the plan,” said Tyler as he began to draw on the board.
“You call this a plan?” asked Mason, as he read Tyler’s steps carefully. “And who would we recruit?”
They knew where to go first, of course. They opened the door, slowly and surely, and were flooded by light.
“Hey guys!” Joan sighed in relief.
“What’s all that code for?” asked Tyler.
“Just fixing the microwave. Anyhoo, what do you want me to hack?”
Tyler showed Joan his plan, and she said, “The Defenses, huh? I can hack those, probably even from here! And I’ve got the weapons covered too.”
She walked over to her MatterPrinter and pulled out a trove of futuristic weapons.
“Printed out weapons straight from the SenseSet. Tyler, you get the PlasmaBlade, I’ll take the PhotonBlaster, and Mason, you get the StarBow.”
“Cool!” yelled Mason excitedly.
“Yup! I’ve finished hacking,” reported Joan, and they set out for the hangar bay.
“Looks like the defenses are down,” exclaimed Tyler. “This is too easy.”
They ran towards the escape pod, but suddenly they heard a familiar voice behind them.
“And where do you think you’re going, children?”
Chapter Seven: Battle
December 7, 2087 – 12:30 PM
Asphodel Hangar Bay
The first bullet grazed Mason’s ear. Wilson stood there with a group of many police-bots.
“There will be no leaving Asphodel!” screamed Wilson, and the robot army surged forward.
A robot aimed for Tyler, but before he could fire, Mason’s arrow pierced its head. The robot promptly crumpled to the ground. Tyler gave Mason a thumbs-up, and they continued to battle. Mason’s arrows took down many robots, but there was just too many of them.
“Cover me!” yelled Joan, and she ran towards the Main Robotic System Control Room.
When Mason thought he just couldn’t take it anymore, he saw a flood of Asphodelians run to the battle. They were using anything to destroy the robots, even chairs. Suddenly, a robot ran up to Mason, but before it could get to him, it fell. What just happened? thought Mason. He looked around and saw all the robots falling onto the ground.
“Emergency… Shutdown…” shrieked one of them, and its eyes blinked out.
Joan stepped out of the control room.
“It’s amazing what you can do with a little hacking,” she said triumphantly.
Everyone cheered happily, but when Mason turned around, he saw a horrifying sight: Wilson was still alive, and he was holding a gun to Tyler’s head!
“Do you really want to leave, Mason? Do you want to go back to the planet the aliens overtook?” he said.
Mason remembered the story, of course. There was extraterrestrial life on the moon, and it had been on the moon for millions of years. One day, in 2036, it dropped a small capsule that carried an extremely lethal virus into the ocean. The virus spread fast, and anyone who drank the water was dead within a minute. Millions died every day, until every country in the world put all their money together to create Asphodel. Asphodel, thought Mason, the last place where the human race is safe. He looked over at Wilson.
“Say goodbye to your – ” Wilson fell to the ground, and standing behind him was Mom, holding a laser gun.
She looked at Wilson and said, “You aren’t touching my kids you little – ”
The next parts she said were not appropriate for younger readers. The crowd cheered louder this time, for their victory in the Battle of Asphodel!
Chapter Eight: Departure
December 7, 2087-2:30 PM
Asphodel Hangar Bay
It was time to leave, time to take the escape pods back to Earth.
“Raise your hand if you wish to leave Asphodel,” yelled Mason.
Everyone raised their hand, of course.
“Okay, we are gonna need a lot of escape pods,” he chuckled.
He saw Joan boarding her pod. He ran up to her and promptly kissed her on the cheek.
“Um, thanks for what you did back there,” he said.
He looked her in the eye, blushed quickly, and ran back to his escape pod.
“Come on!” said Mom excitedly, and he boarded the pod.
Time to put on one of my favorites, thought Mason as he plugged the headphone jack into into his PortaTune, the device he listened to music on.
Imagine there’s no heaven,
It’s easy if you try
Mason’s mother revved the engine, and the escape pod began to float into the air.
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ha…
Their escape pod slowly headed out of Asphodel, and Mason looked back at what used to be his home.
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Earth quickly came into view, and the pod headed towards it.
Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace… you…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Mason stared straight into the eyes of the planet Earth, the planet he would soon call home.
Thank you to everyone in Writopia, especially my instructors, for providing me with a comfortable and exciting place where I could share my ideas with new people.
Thanks to my parents, for providing me with help every step of the way, and thanks to everyone in my Writopia class for providing me with great ideas.
“Imagine” written and sung by John Lennon, 1979