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Enjoy an excerpt:
Chapter 10. Returning Home
So they found life.
Ironic that the North Korean was the first to do so, eh?
This isn’t a time for levity.
I know. But given that life was found so easily and so quickly on that planet, it tells us that surely we’ll find more advanced lifeforms, and soon.
The bigger question is, why was the life we found there so primitive?
Following Soo-Kyung’s discovery, the mission changed. The scientific pods were to stay, along with an attachment of Phaetons, but the Explorer was to return home and restock. Stellar Cartography was working around-the-clock to find routes to other stars, given that life being found here meant that, of course, the Galaxy must be teeming with life, and most of it must be more complex than the basic lichens they found.
Aisha was still confused about one thing. Once they had broken orbit, and were cruising back to the Explorer, she had to ask. “Why did you ask me to stop?”
Soo-Kyung signaled for them to close external comms. She clearly wanted to keep the conversation private amongst the three of them.
“Once I knew that it was life,” said Soo-Kyung. “I realized that we hadn’t sterilized ourselves. Every further step we took could potentially contaminate, and perhaps kill, these primitive lifeforms. We’re carrying bacteria, spores, and who-knows-what-else with us that would be terribly invasive to the native species.”
“So why did they let us walk on the surface?”
“I guess they just assumed that there was no life there. That it was a dead planet.”
Something about it just bugged Aisha. “They didn’t ask us to stop,” she said. “They allowed us to walk on the surface. You’d think they’d know better. It was you who was smart enough to realize that we might impact any life there.”
“Maybe they were too busy?”
“Or maybe they didn’t care,” Aisha said, realizing how ominous it sounded.
“Guys,” said David. “We just discovered life. Don’t you realize the implications? At least immediately?”
“You think they’re going to just release this broadly on Earth? Look at all the wars that have been fought over religion. Between the Caliphate and my country for one. They can’t let this information loose on Earth. We’re not yet ready.”
“But we rushed into discovery.”
“Now I know why they kept Explorer a secret, building her on the far side of the moon.”
“But we’ve been asked to do things differently,” said Soo-Kyung, for once having some emotion in her voice. “And one of the things I want to do differently is share information like this equally amongst all people. And yes, I understand the irony that it’s me saying it, but wars like those in my country happened because of a few people keeping key information from the masses. I can’t let that happen again.”
“I don’t think we can stop them,” said David.
“What’ll they do?”
“Boot us out of the Academy and send us Earth-side, of course. Anything we have to say can be easily discredited.”
Aisha sighed. David was right and she knew it. She just hoped that Soo-Kyung did too.
“So,” she said. “We toe the party line. We keep this all a big secret. We play along until the time is right, where we can take control, and do what’s right for the world.”
Soo-Kyung was exasperated. “Isn’t that what they think they’re doing? Doesn’t that just make us the same as them?”
Seamus interrupted with an external comm. “Folks, Captain has ordered you back double-time.”
“We’re going home.”
About the Author: Laurence Moroney is the author of more books than he’s prepared to admit. After several best selling programming books, his first Young Adult novel “The Fourth World” became a #1 book on Amazon Kindle, spawned two sequels “The Million Year Journey” and “The Legend of the Locust”, and is currently being shopped around studios for a potential movie. “Space Cadets” is his latest, a cutting edge science fiction novel, based on real science that starts a new series charting out humanity’s course to the stars. He’s presently working on the sequel “The Quiet World”, which he hopes to finish in 2015. For his day job, Laurence works as a Developer Advocate for Google, where he is constantly counting his blessings for being part of the best workplace in the world…
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