A scientist and his wife escape their dying world in search for another. As they come in range of a nearby, habitable planet, what they find proves to be much worse than they anticipated.
written by M. Sydnor Jr.
The bright stars coated the space ahead, as the Trojan planets minimized in the background. There hadn’t been a ship to leave Uridia’s atmosphere in six-hundred years. There would not be a pursuit any time soon.
The ship was one of three space vehicles ever constructed on Uridia and until recently, all ships were believed to be decommissioned. Red, the warship, Idol, the freighter and Blue, the explorer. Blue was a long box with rounded wings and the fastest and most advanced of the three.
Eighty-six hours after escaping Uridia, they entered a new system with a new sun, approaching a new rock. Kee was the artificial intelligence integrated into the ship’s computer system. “Approaching Moyna X. Prepare for entry into the atmosphere.” Kee had the voice of the ship’s female designer. “Signs of life. Species unidentified. Population; one-point-two million.”
Blue had the capacity of three-hundred Uridians but there were only two aboard.
“It’s beautiful,” Ada, the pilot, said, as she gazed at the dark blue alien world that had specks of red. She took Blue into the planet’s atmosphere, hovering high above the school of mountains that seemed to never end.
“Where do we land, Kee?” Ada’s husband, Etos, asked.
“Twelve kilometers southwest, commander.”
The landing was smooth and the two Uridians moved to the communications center at the rear of the ship where the cargo door opened to the alien world. They wore bodysuits and helmets to protect themselves from the unknown toxins in the air; Kee couldn’t specify.
Ada was a short Uridian at seven feet with long yellow hair and brown skin. Like her husband, her ears were pointy but her skull was not as big. Her wide eyes and smile made her the best-looking in her sector back home. Etos was more the serious type with a permanent frown. As a Uridian general, he was a warrior but well known as one of the smartest on Uridia.
Ada didn’t agree with the mission and often made it known. “Are you sure about this?”
“This is how we save our people.”
“We need to find a cure, not a world.”
Etos grabbed his pack and his weapon and took off on the rover as Ada took her place at a station to communicate with him.
Rocky terrain and gravity made navigation tough for Etos. After parking his rover, the flashlight from his helmet was all he had to see, and it proved to be no match for the Moyna darkness; a few times he stumbled.
The underground cave ahead had breathable air according to Kee. The first thing Etos saw inside was light, natural light. The second thing he saw…a decapitated body. “Schloran remains. Must’ve been here…fifty years, at least,” he told his wife of the body from Uridia’s sister planet, Schlora.
“Come back to the ship,” she pled.
After the body, Etos’ eyes wandered around the cave that Kee said covered forty percent of the planet. But there were no other entryways or tunnels, just a room with light shining from the walls.
Etos admired the wavy shaped walls that dimmed the room. The nearest to him had writings he couldn’t make out, but he moved closer and tried. With his back to the entrance and the rest of the cave lobby, he rubbed his hands over the writing. “Kee, Ada, this is—”
Something knocked the helmet off of his head and it smashed into the wall across the room. The strength of whatever it was sent him to a knee. Communication with Ada and Kee ceased.
Etos turned and faced the force that caused him to the ground. The air was thick and hot and moisty and smelly, but breathable. And as he huffed and puffed the foreign space, he scooted away from the monstrous native.
Two wide legs held up the thick figure that growled with each breath it took. A set of arms on each side of the belly and another set above that. All fur from the waist to the face, and it surrounded the wide mouth and green eye of the cyclops. Drool slithered out the thing’s mouth after each foreign word it spoke. But Etos understood…“Come to finish the job, Schloran scum?” it said.
Etos shook his head and defended himself but one of the four arms lashed out. The Moynan monster had foot-long razors for fingers and Etos barely escaped the deadly blow. He retrieved his sidearm, but it was knocked out of his grips before he could fire. Another cyclops stepped beside him and he fought back before the other could strike. His kicks gave him just enough space and time to think of the next move, but he didn’t have one. The entrance was clear but he needed his helmet on the other side of the room to escape, behind the two cyclops’.
And then the walls went dark. Blinked. That light—those eyes, were from a couple dozen cyclops gawking down at Etos. There was no escape, the entrance was on his back and the breeze outside crept. He needed his helmet…but how?
Facing the deadly outside air seemed better than being torn apart or eaten by these monstrous beings.
He put one foot behind the other but someone pushed him back inside the cave. “Get down,” the familiar voice ordered him. Ada stepped forward with her weapon and blasted one cyclops, and then another; a pathway to her husband’s gun. “Kee said shoot the eye,” she screamed.
Eye after eye, each cyclops disintegrated into the cave walls until there were only a dozen left.
After Etos retrieved his weapon, then his helmet, side by side, the Uridians took care of the rest.
Curiosity persisted in the commander’s large mind but Ada stood her ground in leaving the cave and the planet, and she dragged her husband to his rover to make their way back to the ship.
On the move, half-mile away from the ship, they were being trailed. The eyes of more cyclops closing in on them. It was hard enough to steer over that tough terrain, but they tried and sped toward the cargo door. “Close the door when I say, Kee,” Ada screamed.
When Etos arrived at the door, Ada shadowed him.
“Now,” she told Kee, and her rover rolled over the rising hatch.
Ada followed her husband inside as the door closed but a Moynan hung on to the latch. The cyclops arm reached out and a razor sharp finger dug into the pilot’s suit and into her brown skin. The arm returned to the outside of the ship as the cargo door closed.
Ada fell to her stomach as blood spilled out of her back.
written & created by
M. Sydnor Jr.
‘The Legend’ is a prequel to the YA novel The Legends of the World — it covers Etos’ 90-year journey to find a new home world.
It is a short story series created by M. Sydnor Jr., written by multiple authors.
copyright © M. Sydnor Jr.