Time Bomb Moon
“Come on, it will be fun,” Nate begs.
“I don’t think so,” Derek responds.
“You said you were bored,” Nate counters.
“Climbing down into deep, narrow, jagged cracks for the remote possibility of seeing a fossil or two doesn’t sound very interesting,” Derek declares.
“Fine, we’ll be back in an hour,” Nate says. He places his helmet onto his spacesuit.
“Bye,” Keith says. Keith and Nate leave The Silver Storm and walk to a nearby crevice. Carefully, they squeeze their way down. Long, powerful beams of light shine down from the soles of their boots. They are one of Nate’s inventions that he names bootlights. Derek thinks the name needs work. Actually, Derek thinks the name needs major surgery. Down and down they climb, scanning the rock for signs of ancient life until they come to a stop on a ledge twenty minutes later.
“I’m disappointed; I haven’t seen anything but rock since I got here,” Nate says.
“It’s all granite, too. That means past volcanic activity, right?” Keith asks.
“Probably,” Nate remarks, “I’m going to take a sample for my microscope.” He pulls out his laser cutter. It is then that they notice light from above. In a couple minutes, Derek climbs down beside them, out of breath.
“Your communicators must both be broken,” he says.
“No, I can hear you fine. What’s wrong?” Nate asks.
“Then there must be exotic matter in the rock to block transmissions,” Derek says.
“What’s wrong?” Keith asks.
“Nothing’s wrong. You’ve just been gone an awfully long time,” Derek says.
“Oh, I fink wittle Derwik got scared,” Nate mocks.
“We said we’d be gone an hour, and we’ve only been gone twenty minutes,” Keith says.
“You have been gone…for over three hours,” Derek says.
The men hurry back to the ship. “Silver, how long have I been gone?” Nate asks the ship AI.
“Seven hours and three minutes,” The Silver Storm responds.