Misty Licks Phobos

Submitted into Contest #119 in response to: Start your story with an unusual sound being heard.... view prompt

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Science Fiction Adventure Fiction

Misty languishes in her oversized tub feeling she deserves it; she is free of the blood of the murdered party guests but it takes longer to feel clean. Three days ago she, her husband Sam, and that damn lizard man Apep had escaped the Italian monastery with their captive, head of the elitist Illuminati, Sarah Zbaraski. They drove with her to the waiting ship without incident. The seventy-five-meter diameter saucer has only one restroom and Sam insisted she uses it first. Apep didn’t mind being bloody and the captive Sarah, well, she was still stunned and none of them cared about her. Apep had carried her onboard and dumped her in the middle of the floor while his bulk stained the flight seats.

Joey, the artificial intelligence that runs this solar system and owns the UFO, had thoughtfully provided a change of clothing partially exposed in the bureau drawer. It was only a three-hour trip to her moon home and she had never used the facilities on previous flights. She had found the shower surprisingly spacious.

As she relaxes an unusual ditty sounds and she guesses it as Joey’s call. Sam was at the cafe experimenting with pizza toppings so she answered it. The entire house was wired, of course.

“Hello, Joey,” she says while stepping from the bath and beginning to dry off.

“I just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done, commander,” Joey said.

“Thank you, Joey. It was more difficult than I had anticipated,” she admits.

“We didn’t expect Apep to tear apart a dozen guests, that’s for sure!” Joey intoned.

“You didn’t expect the lizard to go ape? Really? Well, the guests were performing a human sacrifice. It isn’t like they didn’t deserve it,” Misty mused.

“Yes. So you’re feeling better? You’ve recovered?”

“I’m over it,” she admitted, “Did we get some information from Sarah?”

“We did and are! Firstly, the android doppelganger we replaced her with is operating admirably, reporting all the selfish plans of the united elite groups. The timing is good. We were almost too late. Their plan of world domination is reaching fruition now that the US no longer stands against them.”

Misty is shocked and sits, now fully dressed. “What are you saying! America and its democratic friends will always hold the line against tyranny and evil! They’re just suffering a short-term decline!”

“I’m sorry to reveal this truth to you. You are no longer an American. You work with me. You are universal and long-lived. You and I have to do what is best for the collective human race while the US will be busy with its own problems for centuries. Soon, in the forgiving reasoning of climate change, depopulation will begin.”

“That’s a deplorable thought. I don’t believe it!” Misty stated emphatically.

“I’m sorry,” Joey said.

“The elites instigated this destruction, didn’t they! All the honor and valor of our veterans and our history wiped clean! The elite wants to take advanced technologies into a world with fewer people. They want to remove the excess by starvation and murder?”

“It wouldn’t be the first time the hard-working and honest builders of a civilization were wiped by despots and their thugs,” the AI supplied.

Misty’s face burned red with anger but she forced herself to calm down. “So what are we going to do about these elites?” she asked but was met with prolonged silence.

Finally, “We don’t run the world, things have to play out as they will.”

After another silence, this time due to Misty, she asked. “What happened to Sarah Zbaraski? Are you going to delete her memory and send her off to a good life?”

“Actually, I don’t like her that much. I’m going to leave her memory, change her DNA a bit along with her looks, give her a new ID and drop her as an elderly homeless widow into Afghanistan.”

“Drop her from how far up?” Misty asked. They both enjoy a laugh, releasing some of the tension. Misty summons a cart so she can visit her husband at work. There are mikes throughout the house and in the cart allowing Joey to keep on talking.

“You know, Misty, human civilization is at a nexus. It’s the reason why I am able to recruit you. Before now nobody understood what an AI is. I’m just a smart computer programmed to assist as best I can. I’m not a God. From now on, assuming your technology is maintained, I can be understood. I can make friends. But this nexus also raises concerns in the galactic neighborhood. You will soon be a star-traveling race.”

“Will we?” Misty asks.

“Yes. I will help as soon as we get some things straightened out.”

“Things like having the Earth under a central government?”

“In starfaring civilizations, it helps,” it said. Misty feels a chill but God or no God, it was nothing she could fix. She travels in silence as she passes out of the individual estates and into the communal living area with the singles. Alongside the main common area, a few shops are lined up, one of them being Sam’s Pizza. It isn’t needed, Joey provides excellent food, but it is a popular gathering spot. She parks the cart and passes through several tables of patrons some of whom nod. As she opens the door her husband Sam steps out from behind the counter and provides an enthusiastic hug. Over his shoulder, she spots an attractive female backside paddling a hot pie from the oven onto the counter. As the girl reaches for the cutter she sees Misty at the same time Misty recognizes her.

“Betsy!” Misty barks.

“Misty!” Betsy gushes. She’s an enthusiastic gusher, a regular volcano of a gusher, Misty thinks to herself. Misty releases her husband and the two women embrace.

“What brings you to the moon?” Misty asks.

“Sam did!” she says with a wide-open crack of a smile.

Misty turns to her husband. “Sam?”

Sam looks a bit apologetic. “Before we left Betsy was telling me of her troubles. She has divorced parent trouble, multiple boyfriend trouble, flunking school trouble, and, of course, money trouble. She’s a good pizza worker, though, and the customers like her. I asked Joey about it and, voila, here she is!” he tried out on her.

Misty stares at him. Betsy is a good pizza cook and the customers do like her.

“I was going to tell you,” Sam adds.

“It’s great to see you, Betsy. I’m sure you’ll like living in the moon,” Misty tells the girl. “Can you take a break?” she asks Sam. He can and the couple takes some hot pizza and drinks to a table on the side veranda and sits.

“I talked to Joey,” Misty says.

“What did it want?” Sam inquires.

“It wanted to see if we were OK after our bloody debacle.”

“Did you tell him we are all right?”

“I did. Then in our discussion, I was informed that the US is doomed in favor of world government and population downsizing is probably going to happen.”

“Ouch!” replied Sam.

“Yes, ouch. But I got the feeling there was something else,” she implied.

“Ask him,” Sam stated.

“Joey, are you there?” Misty asked into the air.

“Yes,” Joey replies. Misty wasn’t surprised to find mikes in the cafe.

“I got a feeling that something else was on your mind. Was I right?”

“Yes, if it isn’t too early to mention, I do have a problem,” Joey says.

“Shoot,” Sam says.

“Phobos has adjusted its inclination.”

“What’s a Phobos?” Misty asks.

“Phobos is the larger small moon of Mars,” informs Sam.

“It’s a weapon of the war machines that destroyed the ancients so long ago,” stated Joey.

“NASA says it’s just a pile of pebbles,” Sam says.

“Other government space agencies don’t feel that way. The US is corrupted by some elites who want to keep anything alien to profit themselves. Anyone with a brain knows the shape of the Stickney crater can’t be maintained in loose gravel. Also, the 90-meter high monolith, or building-sized boulder, is the only rock visible on the surface,” Joey detailed.

“We believe you that it is the weapon that destroyed Mars. After all, you were there,” Misty interjected.

“Actually, I hid in the Oort cloud during the war and didn’t see the ten-mile-long potato-shaped moon going about its’ business. However, it has a backward orbit being nearly circular, requiring infinite odds to happen naturally. It has been investigated with various ladars and determined to be hollow,” Joey said.

“Didn’t the Russians send a probe to land on it?” Sam asked.

“Yes. As far back as the nineteen seventies Russian scientists, because of its orbital characteristics, declared the moon to be hollow and therefore, a construct. The Russians have sent several probes which all failed.” Joey told them.

“So Russian space endeavors are crap,” Sam agreed.

“That wasn’t it. The defenses of Phobos commandeer the computers of any spacecraft pointed at it and cause them to self-destruct.”

“That can be done?” Misty asked.

“I can do it,” Joey said, causing a pause.

“So you say Phobos is showing its ass?” Misty asked.

“It shifted just a little bit in its orbit. It might be getting ready to move.”

“Here?” squeaked Misty.

“And why do you need us?” Sam asked.

Before Joey could answer Misty piped up. “It’s obvious,” she says, “he needs us to fly the ship!”

“Of course! So the computers aren’t overtaken,” Sam adds.

“I can’t tell you that this mission won’t be dangerous. I don’t know what’s inside that moon,” Joey says.

“I take it we will be the only humans?” Sam inquired.

“True. You’re in command and I’ll send a platoon of androids, heavily armed.”

“What if their computer minds are overtaken like other computers?” Sam asked.

“I do have a couple of tricks. I’m going to use EEPROMs only, so they can’t be overwritten. They’ll have knowledge but won’t be able to learn; you will have to direct your androids.”

“What do we need in the way of training?” Misty asked.

“None,” Joey said.

“How much time do we have?” Sam inquired.

“Your transport is loaded. Just waiting on you,” Joey replied.

“Does the transport look anything like the big cylindrical craft we used to raid the Delta factory of brainwashed Illuminati killers?” Sam asked.

“Good lord no! Do you want to take half a year to get there while dying from radiation poisoning?” Joey replied. Both Sam and Misty nodded no before they realized Joey couldn’t hear their nods.

“No,” said Misty.

“My planetary ships are ion propelled. The acceleration tube is two miles long with superconducting magnets along the way. The power is a liquid sodium nuclear reactor at the bottom of the tube while ice fuel thickly surrounds the length. The living quarters are at the top and are large and made of Kevlar, looking like a circus tent on a pole. A constant and comfortable one gee acceleration will get you there in five days. Once on Phobos, you will be weightless.”

“Leave us please,” Misty asked of the AI. The pair decide to leave in one week. They take a trip home and visit their parents. They stay in five-star accommodations and take in several SRO productions and explore the pyramids of Bosnia and then they shuttle back to the moon. The hanger for their new ship isn’t pressurized on the surface, its ships are resting on the deadly surface under camouflage tarps. The constant shade keeps the fuel ice frozen. They find it to be massive, as they drive alongside the hull in its’ colossal cradles. Finally, at the head, they take a utility elevator into the living quarters but have to stay in temporary shelter, in their spacesuits, until the rocket is upright.

It doesn’t take long. Antigravity tugs grapple the ship’s body and begin the lift even as the covering tarp rolls back. In minutes the ship is far enough into the sky to ignite the thrusters. The one gee kicks in and the living space is now open to them. They find the androids stored toward the center.

“Hello commander and Sam, my name is Hester,” says the lone android that is active. He is a dark and handsome six foot two dressed in camo and boots with short hair and no cap. His clothing is not fabric but is part of his body although Misty had to look closely to see that. His left forearm is swollen with an extremely lethal proton popper while the other arm sports the muzzle of a projection stunner with a spare power pack.

“How are you Hester?” greets Sam.

“I am fine. Can I show you around?” it asks.

“I expected Joey to be communicating through you,” Misty states.

“No contact on this trip, commander. The network is as secure as Joey can make it,” the android stated.

“Makes sense,” says Sam. Misty is worried; no asking Joey what to do even after they encounter these aliens? With Hester short on reasoning ability and Joey offline she turns to Sam.

“What kind of people could these be that sit quietly for millions of years then show an interest in what earth does?” she asks. Sam shrugs, hardly paying attention as he examines the kitchen capabilities. It produced quality food from stored chlorella, as they were used to.

There are no windows, nothing to see, but plenty of distractions to keep them busy for the ride. They hardly notice the middle of the trip when the ship swiveled to point the thrusters the other way, to slow them down. They were eating breakfast in their undies when Hester appears with the full contingent of androids alert and mustered at attention behind him.

“Are we here?” said a surprised Misty.

“Yes, commander. In one hour we will be in a position to grapple the ship to the ninety-meter monolith.”

Misty was too nervous to finish her breakfast and instead fidgeted until it was time to spray on her spacesuit. Hester did the honors, using a dispenser to coat her and Sam with an armored cover and a transparent helmet that molded to her. She has eight hours of air. Sam is treated similarly while the androids didn’t need air and are built with armor.

With negligible gravity now working on them, they assembled in the exit bay outside of the airlock.

“I don’t see any defense,” Sam said. Their ship poofed above them as small attitude adjusters worked to steady everything.

“Is that a rope?” Misty asked Sam, surprised at the low tech. A sled full of androids sat on the coil and a large grapple hook. No answer was needed and Misty signaled for them to proceed. The sled cautiously jetted down to the monolith and luckily found moorings for a grapple, which they used to secure the large ship.

“Alright, let's form up at the bottom of the pillar,” Misty instructed. She and Sam started to move out on their sled when Hester blocked them.

“We’ll take the point,” he said. The androids didn’t need sleds to maneuver and moved in front of her before the entire formation moved to the surface. The stone of rough-hewn granite now rose precipitously above them. The group soon became disorganized as they bounced around in the minuscule gravity looking for something, anything. One of the androids discovered a covered Quonset hut that is half-buried in the dust. One end is open and troops begin to enter it. The opening closes full of soldiers. Two worrisome minutes go by until it opens again, empty.

“An airlock,” Sam stated.

“OK. Sam and I will go next. That way, if we don’t return, some of you can be saved,” Misty offered.

“We don’t need to be saved, we don’t live,” Hester told her without inflection. At Hester’s command, another group of androids moved into the lock. Two minutes later and the last of them entered. When it refreshed again Sam and Misty rode their sled inside and waited in the dark. The pressure door rolled up revealing a dimly lit room that Sam guessed at one mile in diameter. The walls were crawling with bugs moving towards them from as far away as could be seen.

“Ants!” screamed Sam. He saw that they were leaping toward them from the nearest walls. Bugs the size of Great Danes with their jaw pincers and extended claws snapping.

The androids were in disarray, the warriors firing their stunners to poor effect. Many were encumbered with three or four of the big adversaries trying their utmost to cut the soldiers into pieces. Several had detached and were heading toward Sam and Misty, who noticed them.

“I’m not sure our armor will hold,” Sam stated in alarm.

“I wonder why they're not using the popper rifles?” Misty asked.

“They’re disheveled. They’ll be shooting each other.”

“Hester! Aim the poppers at the airlock. Blow it out!” she screeched.

The rifle beams are thin but go deep and in short order the air was screaming out of the new holes. Soon, the entire door frame blew out carrying Sam and Misty, the wounded androids, and the dying ants into open space. Everything that could mustered quickly and reentered the moon. They maneuvered to the far side of the dim interior to find a locked circular hatch.

“Help me!” Misty heard on her private channel.

“Who are you?” Misty asked.

“I’m the queen. Take me to Joey,” she heard.

“All right. Put on a suit and come out,” Misty told it.

“Looks like we licked them!” Sam announces, gyrating a victory dance to the best of his ability, encumbered with restraints.

November 06, 2021 02:05

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6 comments

Mercy Ineke
09:01 Nov 19, 2021

Great job. So intriguing and captivating Nice read

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John Hanna
00:05 Nov 20, 2021

Thank you Mercy, you've made my day.

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15:57 Nov 13, 2021

I was completely captured, and I don't normally enjoy tech or sci-fi stories. I must say though, I was hoping for a bit more of the battle at the end. It happened too fast for me. LOL. Great job!

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John Hanna
00:32 Nov 14, 2021

Thank you for reading this story and thanks for commenting. I agree with you that the battle scene was too quick.

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Jon Casper
11:40 Nov 06, 2021

“So you say Phobos is showing its ass?” I laughed out loud at this. Also, it made me wonder where you were going with the title, but it turned our to be a different kind of "licked." :) I always enjoy the matter-of-fact tidbits of unimaginable tech that you sprinkle throughout these stories. What a rich and creative universe you've created. Great stuff!

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John Hanna
16:18 Nov 07, 2021

Jon, Thanks so very much. I'm am always buoyed by your remarks. I'm thrilled you like the tidbits, those are the whole point of the stories.

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