Welcome to Planet Moon (excerpt)

“He doesn’t think it was a roach, because the only way to get outside is to use an airlock. And since they lack hands, they are unable to operate an airlock supposedly.”

“But they’ve got six legs,” Max added.

Wallace, who had been standing just within earshot, came over and joined the conversation. “Even if it was a roach, why would it have gone outside?”

“He’s right, I saw them using an airshaft to get in and out of this place, so they would not need to go outside to get back inside to the rest of the compound.”

“Then that would mean that someone else has a space suit and we haven’t met them yet,” Mark said.

“Either way, talking about what a grape was doing outside is irrelevant. The communications system on this ship is nonfunctional. Nor is the engine. And one of the airlocks is also broken as well,” Max stated, putting them back on the topic of finding a way to get help.

“Well, how bad of a state are the engines in? How-” Mark was cut off by a series of answered from Max.

“Don’t know, don’t know, and don’t know. We’ll have to go down and take a look ourselves. Why does is matter if the engines work or not?”

“We could use the ship to intercept a satellite, which must have some sort of equipment we can use to broadcast signals to nearby ships,” Mark stated.

“Let take a look at the ship then.”

Pressing the screen some more, Max eventually got the shaft door to open. He looked down into the depths at the ship resting below. Turning around, he put his left foot on the rung, and began the long slow descent to the place below. As he climbed down, the air became cooler, and the metal of the shaft became colder to the touch. The air was still.

He stepped off the ladder and onto the top part of the cylindrical ship. A noticeable hatch was apparent from where he stood that allowed entrance to the ship. He turned strongly on the rotating locking wheel, but it was stuck. Mark helped turn. It gave way and the hatch was soon opened. Shortly after the hatch opened, the dark hole became illuminated and a simple metal ladder from the top to the floor of the airlock appeared. The second door in the airlock had been left wide open.

“That might be why this airlock was flashing red, someone left it wide open when they left,” Max said, who walked through it and into the main body of the ship. After making a close examination of the entire airlock for about twenty minutes, Mark determined that it was in perfect order, with the exception that a common pressure valve had rotted away. Luckily, he knew where a spare one could be found; back at their wrecked ship with the forgotten name.