Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
jimdodds would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Eggs

By jimdodds All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi

Eggs

“Houston? We have an anomaly. Houston? This is Mars Base, Syrtis Major. Come in, please. We have a major anomaly!”

Finally the console crackled a little, and the voice of the flight controller fifty-five million miles away on Earth filled the room. Calhoun let out a long breath and leaned back in his creaking chair.

“Mars Base, this is Houston. We are receiving you…”

“Receiving us, hell!” Calhoun fumed. “The ship is leaving orbit, Danielle. What the hell is going on? What’s gone wrong up there? Have the trip computers got some kind of virus?”

“Virus?” Danielle’s voice came back, after the five minute delay. It had seemed so cumbersome at first. Then they’d gotten used to it, and hardly noticed. He’d made coffee while he waited. But now it seemed to take forever.

“It was a joke, Danielle,” Calhoun said bitterly. “What are you doing? Is there some kind of solar storm or something? Are you changing the orbit for some reason?”

Five minutes. Eternities it seemed like.

“No, Francis. It’s not a solar storm. Your first guess – well, we’re bringing the ship back to Earth. We have to.”

“To Earth?” Calhoun shouted. Or was it a shout? He felt like he was shouting, but it sounded like a whisper. “But – but Danielle. Are you crazy? That means another six months up here for us! Why are you doing this?”

And then the pause. And then the beginning of something that would never end for him.

“Francis, just listen to me. And don’t interrupt. Don’t say anything. Record this – I’m sure you are anyway, but make sure you are this time. You’ll have to tell the others when I’m done. But just listen to me, now. Okay? Answer me on that, before I start.”

“Yes, Danielle,” he said softly, rubbing the back of his hand across his forehead. The humidity in the dome was constant, but his skin was clammy. What in God’s name had happened?

The long minutes passed, and then Danielle was back, her voice coming in loud and clear, all the way from the Houston Space Center.

“This situation has been brewing since shortly after you left, Francis. CDC only told us what they thought about six weeks ago, and we decided to sit on it, until we were sure. And I apologize, but we’ve kept you out of the loop. It’s some kind of super flu, Francis. We thought the epidemic was leveling off at first, if you can call half of Africa and a quarter of Asia gone leveling off.

“Washington decided to make sure no news of this could reach you, Francis. Hell! We’re the only one’s who have a radio that can transmit across 88 million klicks. When you get it, it’s just like a cold, and then your immune system – well, it goes to shit. Very quickly. The drugs aren’t helping at all. And nobody realized, Francis. Nobody!”

Danielle’s voice went silent, and Calhoun was getting ready to say something when she started up again.

“It’s infected the whole world, Francis,” she said then, and his heart nearly stopped.

“No one knew. Until it was too late. Way too late. Even the natural immunes have got it now. Everyone is testing positive. We thought the crew of the ship might be okay. But they weren’t, so we had to bring the ship back. We have over two billion deaths already. It’s the end of humanity, Francis.

“So we’re awfully glad you guys are up there.”

Calhoun was completely at a loss. Words were so inadequate, his mouth just opened and something came out by itself.

“I – I love you, Danielle,” he told her. “I never had time to say anything. I thought when we came back – ”

It seemed like years later when her sweet voice came back across the gulf to him, and he could hear the tears.

“I know, Francis,” she said. “I know. I love you, too. And I’m glad you’re up there. Safe. It’s so good that your farming and your oxygen making are going so well. You’re self-sustaining now.”

“But goddamn it!” he yelled into the microphone. “That wasn’t the idea! We can’t be all that’s left. We can’t be! What will I tell them?”

“Tell them the truth,” she said. “When we see how long this is going to take to burn itself out and disappear, we’re going to program a ship to come back for you. It may be ten years before it’s safe. It may be a hundred, Francis. But we’re going to send it back.”

Francis was crying now, too. Softly, though. He was too traumatized for great, wracking sobs.

“How could this happen?” he asked her, his voice sailing out over the great sanitizing gulf of airless space – the ultimate quarantine curtain.

“It was always mutating,” her voice came back. “But no one thought it could change this much.

“Funny thing,” she went on after a moment, her voice softer, a little quizzical. “There’s a large neo-pagan faction, growing very quickly, actually. They’re saying that Gaia is doing this purposely. They’re saying the Goddess has decided to get rid of us, Francis.”

He could hear the ambivalence in her voice, the touch of ridicule, the hint of seriousness.

“What do you think?” he asked her, and then he waited.

“Well, women do change their minds,” she came back, refusing him a straight answer.

“Men do, too,” he answered. Then he cleared his throat. “I’m going to have to talk to my people. But I want to talk to you more. God! A lot more! Danielle, if only – ”

Her voice came back to him five minutes later, soft, reassuring, loving.

“We’ll talk a lot, Francis. No regrets. If you hadn’t gone up there, if you hadn’t pushed and pushed for this, and put every ounce of energy and every waking hour into it, all our eggs would be in one basket. You have a thousand people up there now. And a very diverse group. It should be enough. The Mars colony will be the savior of humanity.”

He wanted to give her a smart comeback for that, but his voice was cracking.

“Okay, Danielle,” he finally managed. “Keep me informed. And we will talk, a lot. Goodbye for now. I love you!”

“Good night, Francis,” her sweet voice caressed him. “I love you, too. Call back soon.”

Calhoun cut the circuit and sat back in his chair. How in God’s name could he tell his people this? He tried to formulate words, but he couldn’t find anywhere to begin. So he got up and walked to the wide Plexiglas window overlooking the ruddy landscape the rovers had tracked up decades earlier. The blowing sand had etched the clarity of the outlook a little, softening the view. Or was it something in his eye, he asked himself wryly. What could he tell them? His nose itched, and he rubbed it, and then he felt a sneeze building…


Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, jimdodds
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

re8622: The Last Exodus quickly grabbed my attention. Almost as soon as I started reading the story, I couldn't put it down. I found that the ideas the author put forth were very thought provoking given the turmoil we have seen gradually rise over the last several years. I felt that I could understand th...

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

jigglypuff314: Feeling sad that you can't watch your harem hentai in class? This is the book for you! No one will suspect a thing (other than your boner) as you scroll through pages of some of the best porn you'll ever be able to imagine!Spectacular details and a wonderful tug of emotions, you won't know whethe...

Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!

Dina Husseini: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.

amarin8388: Bottom Line: I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Science Fiction. During my reading, I thought many times that this would make a good story for a movie. It reminded me of the StarWars movie franchise, not because of the plot but because of the diversity of chara...

Kelsey Miller: Page turner set in a gritty future. Loads of flavor and depth that makes the pages fly by until like me you are at the end of the book wanting more!The world is developed to the point it begs more stories set in this harsh reality. More adventures from Daryl and thr crew.

snowview03: This is the first book I have read on this app and I loved it! When I read the title I thought about the hunger games, but this novel is so much more. Some book have a comparison between other books that fallow like premises so i will do my own: Arena has the compellingly emotional stresses and t...

More Recommendations

Theresa Alley: I have not read a short story that was so well rounded out and Full of , not only fun, BUT well imagined characters!! This book actually made me TEARY EYED!! I LOVE IT!! GREAT JOB!! And a great joy to read!! thanks!!

usubitha1: I always hesitated to read a science fiction novel. But this one was different and unique for me. I liked the plot of the story as well as the characters of the story. The story is a satire of governments and countries. It possible that humans will themselves will responsible for their destructi...

borkarprasad: Nicely laid story. Needed a little more ghost and Raven conversations. Initially, Had everyone on suspect list but satisfied by the precision to capture the killer. Waiting for more Raven and Cade adventures.

Chevonne Prinsloo: I loved this book.. I didn't want to stop reading it! just my kind of book... I really love how the plot of the story carries along. I hope there are more books to follow after this one! I like the way she describes how Rogue is feeling and the way she shows the emotions going through Rogu. I als...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.