Welcome to Planet Moon (excerpt)

Wallace had no immediate answer. “I am afraid I have no idea. I bet the others are wondering what has become of us. We can see what they think about this.”

Philbert and Doug were waiting by the open tube doors. The other warriors had wandered off to explore the garden while the others inspected the ship. Max was pressing buttons on the wall screen near the door, trying to learn why this ship remained on planet Moon, and what was wrong with it. He was not having much luck finding the menu for which he was looking. The metallic frame of the screen was dull and reflected little, and offered no clues as to which buttons to push to find what one is looking for.

Finally, he was able to bring up an image that was a representation of the ship in three views of two dimensional views, and sectioned off into colored areas, on a consuming black background. Most of these areas were colored green, however there were a few areas that were oscillating from red to black. Making the assumption that the red blinking sections were bad, he tapped the screen where the most prominent one was located.

A box with text filled the screen. The section he selected was the main drive engine. It was broken. The box said nothing else about the nature of the problem, such as how it was broken or where it was broken. He tapped the screen again, and the text changed. “See manual for more information.” What manual? Max thought. The ships manual? The screen’s manual? This screen was beginning to anger him.

He tapped off of the box, and it vanished, leaving the views of this ship with their colored sections. There were only two other sections that were oscillating from red to black. After tapping on these sections in turn, he discovered that there was a nonspecific problem with one of the airlocks, and that the communications equipment was apparently not working either.

He pressed the screen over a green section, and was informed by another text box that this section was operational, although it did not name the section he pushed.

A hand came down upon his shoulder, and Max turned around to see Mark, who was holding a small purplish object in the other hand.

“I found this grape,” Mark began, “Outside, as in what Philbert calls the land of the dead.”

“What was it doing outside?”

“Someone or something dropped it. I saw a dark object moving along the ground when I was about to take in the rope. When I went to where it was, it had gone, but left this grape behind.”

“Did a roach leave it behind? According to what Wallace said earlier they are sometimes seen with produce.”