Welcome to Planet Moon (excerpt)

“Well, I was born a little over four hundred years ago, so you could say I am pretty old,” Wallace replied. He looked in his middle forties. “If you’ll follow me, you’ll get your stuff back and meet some of the others.”

They followed Wallace through the hall into another amply lit room that contained several tables and chairs. Their belongings were in a locker near one of the smaller tables. A few other people were sitting at another table eating an foul looking but otherwise pleasant smelling pasty substance which could only be food. Some roaches were shuffling about the room as well.

“Don’t mind the roaches, we train them to pass the time, and locate lost friends,” Wallace added as he saw the dislike for the roaches in Carl and Cameron’s eyes.

“So were the roaches sent by you that scattered out party?” asked Carl.

“Well, some of our roaches reported back that a large group of strangers were coming this way, and had been wandering down the road for a while,” Wallace added. “We didn’t mean any harm, we just had to be sure you weren’t going to harm us.”

“The roaches can talk!?” spoke an alarmed Cameron.

“Oh no,” Wallace chuckled. “They do a sort of dance to communicate with us. Kind of like what an insect called a bee would do to direct the other bees to a food supply. It takes a while to train them how to dance though, but once you teach one of them, the others seem to learn pretty quickly.”

“So do you do a dance as well to communicate with them?” Max asked curiously.

“No, we just talk to them. They can understand simple commands and hand signals fairly well.”

“Where did these roaches come from?” asked Max.

“They’ve been here as long as man has. Although this large semi intelligent variety were modified by us a while before the apocalypse. After everything fell apart, we decided to train them to hunt for survivors. They are rather good at detecting scents and finding living people,” he spoke.

“If you’re food is rationed to your personnel, which I am assuming it must be if you expect to last another 300 years with these roaches around, then what do they eat?” inquired Mark.

“Mostly the dead bodies from those who starved to death, as well as some produce.”

“That would explain the lack of corpses,” commented Max sarcastically.

“Did you just say that they eat produce?” asked Mark.

“Yes, and it appears to be rather fresh as well.”

“On a dead world, underground, and taking in mind that produce spoils rather quickly, and considering that there has been no shipping for the past several hundred years, where does a roach get nearly fresh produce?” asked Max more deeply.