Chapter 1 - The Entrance
Director KG was focused on something on the whiteboard when he heard a knock. He turned towards his office door and said, “Come in.”
Aranya entered the office, she was out of breath. KG looked at her and said, “Aranya are you ok?”
Aranya is a beautiful woman in her mid-twenties, with long dark hair and eyes that seemed to shimmer with intelligence. She was also one of the most brilliant minds in the ISA.
Aranya said, “The drones deployed on the dark side of the moon have detected subsurface structure on areas 108 and we are getting strange energy readings.”
Director KG made an excited face and said, “Your assumptions were accurate.”
Aranya placed a document she had been holding on the table and said, “Look at this Sir, I have been analyzing these reading and scan data for a while, and I have come to the conclusion that there is a symmetrical structure beneath based on the data. Therefore, there is a strong likelihood that it was created by an intelligent being.”
Director KG looked at the document Aranya placed on the table and said, “Can the drones investigate more?”
Aranya said, “No, the current drones are not useful in this case as the structure is subsurface.”
Director KG said, “I see, do you think we should send an exploration team to investigate?”
Aranya said, “Yes, but I would like someone from the defense unit to join.”
Director KG said, “Ok, let me contact our defense wing and ask them to send someone.”
Director KG picked up his office phone and made a call. He said, “This is KG speaking; the exploration team may travel to the moon and require assistance from the defense team; could you please send someone to my office for discussion?”
Director KG placed the phone back down and paced in front of Aranya, who was watching him.
Director KG said, “A member of the defense team will be here in an hour. They will probably send a commander rank officer.”
Aranya said, “Ok, I will leave now and will be back in an hour then.” Aranya stood up and left the director’s office.
India Space Agency (ISA) began as a space agency and has since expanded into satellite internet providers, private space tourism, and it has its own defense division. As India became a global player, it saw the value in having a foothold on the moon. ISA formed a moon exploration project team including astronomers, engineers, and scientists from different parts of the country. The team was tasked with exploring the moon and returning samples to Earth. Several manned mission were already conducted and successfully returned sample to earth.
Rudra stepped into the meeting room and came to an abrupt halt when he saw who was waiting for him. Director KG was one of the most important people in the ISA, and Rudra knew that he would not be summoned to a meeting with the director unless it was something serious. And next to the director was Aranya, she looked up at Rudra with a mixture of excitement and trepidation..
Rudra took a seat at the table and Director KG began to speak.
“Rudra, as you know, we have deployed drones on the surface of the moon for research and data collection. Aranya, our exploration team lead, has noticed odd readings from the drones in area 108. The area number is based on the coordinates, and we suspect there is a hollow structure beneath the surface.”
Director KG paused and asked Aranya to took over.
“Commander Rudra,” Aranya said, “you see from the surface, it does not look any different from any other part of the moon, but a detno-scan revealed that it was hollow underneath, and the structure appears to be symmetrical.”
Detonation scan, also known as detno-scan, is a device that employs small scale detonation on any surface to identify whether the beneath surface is hollow or solid. It works similarly to tapping on a wall to determine whether it is solid or hollow.
“Is it possible that it formed naturally?” Rudra asked.
“Yes, it’s possible,” Aranya replied.
“Aranya, and I, we did talk about it, Rudra,” Director KG said. “However, we cannot ignore the possibility that we may uncover something that was maybe made by intelligent beings. So, Aranya here who is member of the exploration team, will go to the location to investigate. We need the defense team to tag along since we are being cautious about the structures.”
“With all due respect sir, if we think it’s dangerous, Wouldn’t it be better if only the defense team looked into it?” Rudra said, concerned.
“Yes, there is risk involved, but we also need someone with experience in astrophysics. Aranya is therefore qualified for this operation because she has received training in space combat in addition to her understanding of astrophysics and space teaching.” Director KG explained.
Rudra knew that it would be futile to object. If Director KG and Aranya thought it was necessary for the exploration team to go, then Rudra would just have to trust their judgment.
“Certainly, sir, if you see it necessary.”
Director KG smiled as he said, “So, we’ve decided to form a four-person team consisting of you, Aranya, and two other members of the defense team. You must depart tomorrow at 18:00 hrs. Rudra, you will lead the team and have access to the Gruda 5 spacecraft for this mission.”
Aranya said that they should be landing towards the north side of area 108. There was a hill like structure there which was interesting. Rudra agreed.
After discussing a few more mission-related matters, they concluded.
Rudra stood up and exchanged handshakes with both Director KG and Aranya. He knew that this was a serious mission, and he would need to be prepared.
Director KG said, “This will be a covert mission, and no one else should be aware of it except those involved. We also need to act quickly before any other space agency notices.”
With that, the meeting was adjourned and Rudra and Aranya left the room.
The space agency’s fifth generation spacecraft, known as Gruda 5, is quite dependable and speedy. It has the newest supersonic engines and the ability to escape the gravitational pull of the planet thanks to its escape velocity.
Rudra stood in the hangar, looking up at the Gruda 5 spacecraft. It was a sleek, advanced vessel, and he was honored to be chosen to lead the team on this mission. He knew there was a risk involved, but he was confident in his ability to protect his team and complete the mission successfully.
He turned as he heard footsteps behind him, and saw Aranya approaching. She looked nervous, but determined. He knew she was up to the task, and he would make sure to keep her safe.
The two other members of the team, Jay and Surya, joined them, and they all boarded the spacecraft, they all wore the latest spacesuit.
ISA’s advanced, state-of-the-art spacesuit is made of lightweight, yet extremely durable materials. It is specially designed to protect the wearer from the harsh conditions of space travel. The suit is equipped with a life support system that provides the wearer with oxygen, water and food. It also has a built-in computer that allows the wearer to stay in contact with mission control.
Rudra took his seat at the front of the ship, with Aranya beside him. He looked at the team and confirmed that they were all strapped in and sealed in their spacesuits. He gave the thumbs up and the launch sequence began. The engines roared to life and they lifted off the ground, soaring into the sky. They could feel the excitement and anticipation running through as they took off.
They launched into space gracefully and quickly reached supersonic speed, breaking the sound barrier, and Rudra guided the ship towards the moon. It will be 24 hours before they reach the site on the moon.
“We’re almost there,” Commander Rudra said as he looked at the spaceship’s navigation screen.
As the spaceship landed near the site, they disembarked from the spaceship and began moving towards the area 108.
“Aranya, the hill structure we discussed in the mission briefing should be closer, right?” Rudra asked as the team approached Area 108.
“You can all me Rudra.”
“Sure. The hill is 500 meters to the north. It appears to have caves, based on drone readings and satellite imagery. I believe we should begin our investigation there.”
They started moving towards the hill, the night vision allowed them to see their surroundings clearly, and they could see the caves.
They reached the hill and entered the caves, it was not cramped as they expected it would be.
“We’ll need to be prepared for anything,” Rudra said. “We don’t know what we might encounter.”
The team was moving ahead into the caves and Rudra was constantly providing update to mission control via the communication channel.
“Commander do you see anything ahead,” Surya asked. “Was this cave naturally formed?” Surya wondered.
“No,” Rudra responded. “But the distance looks darker and might be a large space.”
They entered a large space as they continued to walk through the cave tunnels, but they did not anticipate it to be that large.
The space was immense hall that rose up above them, its vaulted ceilings and vast expanse of space overwhelmed them with a sense of awe.
They moved forward cautiously, unsure of what they would find. But what they found was an entrance of sorts, ancient and imposing. It was made of some hard stone-like material, adorned with intricate carvings. The walls besides the entrance were covered in tapestries, and the floors near the entrance looked polished.
Aranya was the first to speak. “Rudra, there is something written on the entrance.”
Rudra, the leader of the group, moved closer to take a look. “You are right.”
Aranya was surprised and excited at the same time. “You guys won’t believe what the carving on the wall says.”
“What does it say?” All three asked at once.
“Turn on the augmented translation in your spacesuit quickly,” Aranya replied.
They enabled the augmented translation via the computer on their spacesuit, and it was clear to all. It said Chandralok
The Moon World.
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