Night Terrors: 17A “Moonlight Sonata”
Act 1/3 | Integument |
A shuttle lifts from the ground and hovers shortly before aligning over the concrete departure area, it slowly lifts with effortless ease and begins ascent, leaving the Nevadan desert in the summer months en route to the moon, and in twenty minutes, it reaches a new orbit with a wide view of the pristine lunar atmosphere. In moments of nearing the endless green pastures and faint blue sky, security forces attend to verify the shuttle for security. A check of schedule, a check of shuttle, a check of cargo radio tags, and a visual comlink checking of the supplies transport pilot who has to remove his head-covering helmet to say hello.
On the surface without mountains, an endless nature preserve with scattered installation bases of operation where only the most esteemed of the scientific community can research. Each country after the wars decided that their meritless endeavors must subside to a more purposeful endeavor, this gave way to a new world order extraterrestrial, the allowance of capitalist technique isolated from political sanctions became a salvation for the humanity of Earth, giving rise to solutions without sanctimonious debate. As the prosperity became common influx to society, the moon’s military charter continues extrinsically intact and reciprocal to operations. Prior to terraforming and inhabitancy, the moon’s gravity was one-sixth to that of Earth’s, after an atmosphere was formed that was closer to one-fifth, and for a time combat operations had fun and games using ATV’s with roll cages and bouncy tires. Less than a decade later, in the middle of the dark side a particle accelerator built increased the overall gravity, and soon afterward three more accelerators beneath the surface that stretch around the entire surface, this brought the gravity up to two-thirds that of earth.
In one moon, a scientist can research in any of the many climates the earth has, but with more consistency. The jungles near the shadow horizon, the temperate zones where the dorms are, the savannah, and the desert commonly called the sun circle. The dark side has more restricted operations and belongs mostly to tactical researchers studying migration patterns of deadly nighttime predators, mostly how to war with the frightful creatures of the night. With the vegetation that grows in near darkness under close examination it looks most like another world, the camouflaged elevators rise to the dark side surface for the tanks and the hunters of hunters.
In the light, white complexes dot the landscape, each with different projects under research, in center 1138 a strapping young man named Ivalien Idonea sits, among the white walls, floor, and furniture, drinking a chocolate coffee and eating a simple sandwich. He watches the shuttle land through the slanted window wall that graces the entire north side of the building segment where he sits, the second and third floors have a runway that adjoins the glass panes and open around the cafeteria. As the shuttle lands on a parking lot just outside he stands and carries his cup and sandwich, and walks to the recycle unit. A section of the wall recedes where a conveyor belt waits, he drinks the last drop and puts the polystyrene cup on the counter, a red light glows and the cup compresses rushed to the recycling facilities.
He looks to his short sleeve at his last name, rank, and a third line with his research team and his current dorm location, for easy fraternization among the genders. He is new and in awe of acceptance to the lunar academy, he pulls his sleeve to admire and scratch the newish tattoo identical to the insignia on his shirtsleeve. Ivalien sees a friend of his and runs to meet him.
His feet stretch far in hurry and patters as he begins to stop still adjusting to the gravity.
Ivalien: “Hey Mark, I’m still getting used to the grav.”
Mark: “It’s like a dream about playing hockey while wearing your shoes on the ice, if they introduced bungee cords and piñatas, but it’ll be so worth it this weekend, look at this.”
He and Mark continue walking as Mark hands him a phone, with the press of a button Ivalien initiates a small three-dimensional projection of his private quarters, including a four-post bed with draping fabrics and a trapeze.
Mark: “I even have plastic cuffs so I can tell the lucky lady I’m the fuck police.”
Ivalien: “You’re one classy asshole, anybody ever tell you that?”
Mark: “What’s new with your application for Mars?”
Ivalien: “I don’t want to talk about it.”
They continue along the walkway against the glass, giving them a view of the serene pastures of the moon, the sun forever off-center the zenith, endless afternoon and immortal spring, the birds and the rivers and the childish forest of a young satellite planet. They arrive at a downward ramp, walking to a lower level a nearby escalator, over the railing near them and all elsewhere several beds levitating, the occupants in recovery from illnesses once considered terminal, but mostly soldiers and aristocrats, each wearing silver visors with neurological reprogramming disguised beneath major network television. Near the end of the ramp Mark and Ivalien, jump the banister where there is not a patient bed, an exploit in adventure and diminished gravity.
Mark: “Look, Ivalien, it’s a long list, and she’s smarter than you, when terraforming completes, you’ll have your chance.”
He laughs at Ivalien and waits emotionally reposed.
Ivalien: “By then anyone here will look like second class rejects.”
Mark: “Allow me to take umbrage, dude, look man, fish, and sea, be captain hook, and get over it.”
Mark spoke with his hands weighing his presented options and curving his finger then bending it precociously. They approach an elevator and stop for computer commands.
Mark: “Open elevator.”
The doors open for them and they peacefully enter. Each wall of the elevator has two doors.
Ivalien: “This place, is, effin awesome.”
Mark: “That’s the spirit, look out there; did you have that view at home? Sublevel 76 A.”
Mark puts his hand to the palm-reader-verification-panel (PRVP) to the right of the doors. Ivalien is lost in a thought about his past while the golden light over green glades shines through the window wall. He has forgotten to put his hand as well on the palm reader to the left conditional regarding security for all personnel use. He escapes his memory and places his hand for the quick scan and the doors close, the white elevator doors glow with the words ‘Hold the Bar’ as they do awhile the elevator descends into the depths of the planet.
Ivalien: “Sublevel 62 C.”
Mark: “What are you doing?”
Ivalien: “I nearly forgot – you know Tim in Artificial Cartilage?”
Mark: “Wears the glasses.”
Ivalien: “He messaged me this morning about a breakthrough that might help us on hand shielding.”
Mark: “First news is good news, is even more good news!”
Ivalien: “Isn’t it?”
The elevator stops and the doors behind them open with a wisp, having missed predicting the doors to open they adjust and exit. A healthy young female receptionist with red hair welcomes them, her gun clear to her side, another beneath her chair, and another beneath the large desk, and the alarm at the ready. Surrounded by laboratories with windows electronically silvered to hide the contents, the two men sign a digital screen as a red laser scans and maps their entire face, particularly their eyes with second green laser. As both pass security clearance, the windows of each laboratory room turn clear as the occupants are mostly unawares, the blocking complete transitionally to only the outer side of the glass.
Mark makes an added effort to show his bicep as he waits for Ivalien to lead the search.
Ivalien: “What lab is agent McLaren using?”
Lara: “23, behind me left, right, left.”
Ivalien: “Thank you.”
Lara (Redosc): “Are you going to the gala?”
Mark: “Only if you are.”
Lara: “I’ll see you there.”
Ivalien: “I won’t credit you in my research.”
Mark: “Gotta go.”
Mark winks at her and runs to Ivalien, she bites her stylus as he leaves. He runs passed several labs, mostly biological prosthetic engineering.
Their faces turn into the first hallway.
Mark: “You’re messing with my magical charisma.”
Ivalien: “She was way more into me.”
Their faces turn into the second hallway.
Ivalien: “I bet you 20 credits she gives me her com address when we leave.”
Mark: “Ye have little faith, why not make it 200?”
Ivalien: “Sounds like you’ll lose.”
Their faces turn into the third hallway.
Mark: “So what’s the breakthrough, and why share it with you if you’ll lose the bet?”
Ivalien: “Let’s ask him.”
Timothy McLaren, second lead of molecular regenerative research, Artificial Cartilage division, waves to them thru a window, a smoky glass door open slides.
Tim: “Hello friend, welcome to my own private madness. What I have for you is a new particle solution set for regenerative growth that offers complete displacement of flawed substrate.”
On the table resides a slimy chemical bath where a steel bone clasped rests submerged and clamped, pressing a button on the table, a porous femur bone made of metal rises from the substance. One ends of the bone severed and tubes joining a soft core.
Ivalien: “So where’s the sample?”
Tim: “This is the sample, regenerative metallic substrate, complete with reproductive humanoid marrow.”
Mark: “My god in heaven, you’ve found the terminator god.”
Tim: “I’ll accept minor deity.”
Ivalien: “A wizard among men, but won’t the marrow die with atmosphere exposure.”
Tim: “In extended time, but I’ve got plenty more, this is merely the showroom toy.”
Tim pushes the button again, submerging the bone into the fluid.
Tim: “If you’re wondering why share, it’s because we’ll be working together after the gala, with, a rise in clearance and pay, I thought I just be the one to tell you first.”
Mark: “Is that everyone from biomechanics?”
Tim: “Put your hand on that screen, Mark.”
Mark puts his palm to the screen; Tim’s monitor turns green to signal clearance, Marks face shows excitement. A short tone sounds in the room, the nearest communication panel turns red and Ivalien’s full name and credentials show on the screen.
Tim: “It’s for you.”
Tim turns on his heel and begins to show Mark some of the specification to the equipment used. Ivalien moves to the panel, entering his passcode a middle-aged man of around 90-years-old appears on the screen, black hair and a grey eye aside one brown.
Ivalien: “Hello, can I help you?”
Cdr. Ryu: “So you are Ivalien Idonea. Your accommodation is in high regard by Timothy, has he told you about the project?”
Ivalien: “He has commander and I am very glad to be considered an asset in your project.”
Ryu: “That is most excellent, glad to hear you in good spirit on the matter. Let Tim relay anything he has not and later I will meet you in your lab. Sound good to you?”
Ivalien: “It absolutely does, sir.”
Ryu: “Excellent, see you this afternoon, close link.”
The comlink ends and the screen returns to displaying general planetary information.
Ivalien: “What the hell is, close link?”
Tim: “The com gets more impressive downstairs.”
Ivalien: “Holy Mary, mother of God, we’ve struck oil!”
Ivalien and Mark rejoice in their success award, screams of celebration, and soon revel with reluctant Tim who smiles until they calm. They laud themselves as they part, they humble brag to each other as they walk thru the halls to the receptionist desk.
Ivalien: “Have you heard, we’re special people now, working with commander Ryu, and I would love for you to be seen with me at the gala, if you give me your com addy we can talk it over.”
Lara: “Well, since you asked so nicely.”
Ivalien: “I’m as nice as a gen-cat.”
Her last name showing on her sleeve, after pausing she holds her phone and sends her credentials to his, it beeps making him smile.
Ivalien: “Big day, but I’ll call tonight.”
Lara: “I’ll see you soon.”
Her pleasing voice warms both of their emotions as they depart, the elevator doors open allowing them to enter, they put their hands on the security panels, as the door closes Ivalien looks upon his com-device.
Ivalien: “Sublevel 76 A, oh my fucking god, look at this.”
Mark: “Let’s see, she lives on the other side of the circle and she has regular shit cats.”
Ivalien: “No, you missed by a long shot; she sent me a picture with her number.”
Mark: “Sharing is caring.”
Holding the bar Ivalien leans and shows his phone to Mark, the picture is of Lara holding, not wearing, her dress in front of herself. As they enjoy the many forms of good news the reach level 76, but the elevator’s white walls turn red. With confusion they wait silently as the walls return to being white, a message on the doors reads what they have never seen, ‘Secure Transport: Destination Sublevel 110’.
Mark: “I always thought each hive only went to 100?”
Ivalien: “New security clearance, new secrets, we’ll probably have to get new vacx.”
Mark: “If we meet anyone named Dante, I will shit my Sunday best.”
A pleasant tone sounds and the doors open, beyond the elevator is a larger hall of white several floors tall, filled with all the recreations a VIP would demand, trays of delicious algae that regrow to fill their containers minutes after servings, juice trees, fungal cell meats, all common in officer quarters but lavish nonetheless. Physical entertainment, virtual reality pads and visors, robotic arms that play tennis or racket ball or handball, recreational hover bikes and hover trikes, military defense vehicles and weaponry and firearms typically outlawed to even the wealthiest of enthusiasts. It marks Ivalien’s mind as a retreat for the military elite, how a place like this would help his social stature.
Ryu: “Gentleman, welcome to the nest, come, come, we shall discuss what I shall put to you!”
Among the people, two seemingly irrelevant guards thought to be passing them, approach Ivalien and Mark.
Guard: “Hold up your hands for your markers.”
They hold up their hands and the guards use a demarcation device to pull their tracker nodes from beneath the skin of their hands. A beep sounds and three seconds pass, then a pass of air while clasping his marked hand, the device painfully removes the beacon from their hands. The guards give the devices to assistants and take jet injectors, immediately inoculating them.
Ivalien: “What was that, a new vacx?”
Ryu: “No, we’re not in the habit of saving the lives of our new test subjects.”
Feeling woozy, the two freshman scientists begins to fight, Ivalien pulls his arm from the guard’s grasp, he elbows the sentinel in the stomach, but in doing so barely and without effect he succumbs to darkness and sleep, the floor the last he sees.
| Moonlight Sonata | 3/3