The First Man
Hello? Hello? I hope this thing is on. Sorry about the noise. I’ll try to be quick.
One of my ancestors was the first man in space. Do you know how big of a deal that is? First man in space! He was incredible! An actual legend. But then another man was shot into the great beyond after him and set foot on the moon. This is the man most people remember. I think it’s unfair.
My name is Yuri. Or should I say it was? I doubt that I’ll be alive when you receive this message. I was named after the first man. The first created man and the first one in space and for all my life I hoped that I would be the first man to do something great. Something so significant that people would remember my name.
“Who is that?” One would ask.
“You don’t know who that is?” Another would say. “That’s Yuri!”
But of course, that hasn’t happened yet. I live in a fantasy world. Until just recently I have spent my days on a mostly deserted hunk of metal orbiting my homeworld. It’s called Earth II and that, in my opinion, is a stupid name. A thousand years ago scientists discovered a similar planet to ours and labeled it Earth I. Why? They said it was because it was a planet in its infancy. Barely any technological advancements and teeming with feudal societies. Some of its inhabitants even owned others as property! A baby planet. So Earth I it was. A low number for a lowly planet. I thought we were more deserving of that name since we were clearly better. But what do I know?
And it’s too late to change it now, isn’t it? We’ve been Earth II for a millennium.
Anyway, since Earth I’s discovery we have devoted most of our resources to discovering other parallel worlds. Now and again the paranauts look into Earth I and report on its progress. The last I heard was that an orange man was in charge of most of it and that they were experimenting with nuclear power and weapons.
Laughable. Nuclear power is so last century.
But apart from looking for parallel worlds, we also look for other worlds in our own galaxy and timeline. Life beyond the stars. Life on Mars II – because of course there was a Mars I now. And life on the moon.
At least we used to look for life on the moon.
My job on the space station was to observe the moon’s surface and record anything anomalous. It was a dead-end job that the rejects of the Galactic Academy got. Or in my case, the obsessive ones. Sadly, nothing ever happened on the moon. Sure an occasional asteroid would hit and surprise! a new crater appeared but even that kind of action was rare. I recorded everything I saw through the station’s telescope but most of my time I spent watching videos of cats on the internet. On some days, I would talk to my mother when she remembered to call- she hardly picked up when I called. I don’t blame her. She had two other sons to dote on. The successful pianist and the senator. Both had wives and children so, of course, she didn’t have time for the one up in the stars.
Out of sight out of mind.
It used to be that every three weeks a transport shuttle would come and I would get the chance to go down to earth for three days. It was meant as a leave of sorts, so I wouldn’t go crazy up here alone. What did drive me mad was the noise in the real world. Eventually, I stopped going back and they stopped sending the transport shuttle. They did send supplies though. Once every month.
On the day the moon twisted on an axis we never knew it had, I had been on the station for three straight years. In that time I had spoken to my mother twice and to my brothers one time each. On that day I wanted to call them up and tell them the news but first I had to call it in. I was excited. Nothing ever happened on the moon. Nothing! And so I was told by my supervisor when I called.
“You’re still alive?” Is how he answered my call.
“As long as you keep sending supplies,” is what I said back.
I let him know what happened and he let me know, quite haughtily I may add, that they were busy organizing a team to go to Mars II. I told him to send them to the moon instead. He hung up.
I scoured my recording of the moon that day. I zoomed in and out to study the first view of the dark side of the moon. It was paler than the side we were used to – almost a light blue. Apart from that, there was nothing. That night I slept and I thought about that pale blue strip on the moon. And I heard my supervisor’s voice in my head.
“You’re still alive?”
I find that funny now but it hurt then.
I woke up and rushed straight to my screens. The moon had rotated another few degrees. They had to have seen it from the earth. They had to.
And another thing.
I saw a dome.
I saw it clear as day. It was huge, probably the size of a country if my scale was correct. It was made up of hexagonal glass panels and, in my view, looked like half of a giant soccer ball. There were lights inside it.
Of course, I called it in. Of course, I called my supervisor. Of course, I sent in my data. And of course, they didn’t believe me.
“Check it out for yourself,” I said. “Do you not see it?”
“We have,” he said. “There’s nothing there.”
“Bull shit!” I said.
“You need to calm down. Look, you must be going nuts up there. Why don’t you hitch a ride on the next supply shuttle? Spend a few days on the ground. Get your mind right,” he said.
“I know what I saw,” I said.
“Yuri, there’s nothing there,” he said.
And that time I was the one who hung up. If they didn’t believe me I was going to get proof. So I took half of my supervisor’s advice. The next shuttle came and after docking and unloading, I hijacked it. I left the mailman at the station. He was okay, he had food.
Food would be so awesome right now. I wish I had a burger.
By my calculations, it should have taken me four hours to land on the surface of the moon. It took two. I landed close to the dome. I broadcasted the weird “We Come In Peace” message loud. I started a live feed and sent a link to the space station. I did everything by the book. Well, except for stealing the supply shuttle.
There was an opening in the dome. A round fifteen-foot wide hole. A large figure stood by it. It was draped in black or maybe that was its skin? Take a look at the feed and see for yourselves. It had two extra pairs of hands one pair was lifted high above its head as if in surrender. They distracted me. I didn’t see what the other hands were doing and suddenly there was a pain in my chest. It shot me! There was a hole the size of a grape just under my collar bone on the left. Right where the camera was.
Adrenaline kicked in and I ran. I ran as fast as the low gravity would let me. I got to the door of the shuttle before I received another jolt of pain. This time in my right thigh.
I closed the doors, activated the force fields.
Unfortunately, the supply shuttle does not have enough juice to run with the force fields up. It also has very few first aid supplies. I’m cold and bleeding. It won’t be long before the black alien with too many arms breaches the hull. You can hear the noise, can’t you?
If I’m still transmitting, tell my mother that I did it! I was the first man to discover alien life. Sadly, I’m also the first to be killed by an alien.
And tell my boss that he can go fuc-
Writing prompt: Your character, by chance or habit, peers through a telescope. They see something unusual — what is it?
It was weird writing a SciFi story based in space. I generally don’t like space – I think that’s because there’s no oxygen there and it’s cold. But I followed a prompt and this is the story I got. Hope you enjoy it.
See you… I don’t even know when.