This is my first time writefagging over here in THP, and my first time writing a CYOA. I'd say go easy on me, but literary criticism doesn't work when it's nice, so please feel free to crush my dreams and make me want to die. Not that you needed my permission, of course.
“Ten. Nine. Eight.” A soft-sounding male voice blared through the loudspeakers. In a nearby room, a multitude of bodies were scrambling around, or frantically flicking switches, or otherwise sitting silently.
“Seven. Six. Five.” With the countdown came renewed urgency for some.
“Four. Three. Two.” For others, their job complete, nothing was left to do but sit, and hope. And pray, if they thought it useful.
“One. Liftoff!” Two switches, three buttons, and 400,000 gallons of propellant were all it took to launch a rocket.
Onboard the flying bomb, two men and one woman held on to their collective metaphorical hats, hoping that the controlled explosions going on beneath wouldn’t grow to consume their tiny space.
Through the chaos and g-forces onboard the craft, nobody was surprised when announcements from the launch pad were garbled.
“Liftoff of Orion 5… carrying three… and the Altair… Mare Imbrium.”
On the ground, however, there was considerable confusion. Even the people in the launch room were perplexed as to how shortwave transmissions could become so garbled.
However, malfunctioning broadcast systems were shoved to the back burner, and promptly removed from the NASA stove entirely. More pressing concerns, like making sure the LO2-LH mix didn’t incinerate billions of dollars of scientific apparatus and three astronauts, replaced it.
After a few minutes, the men and woman onboard Orion saw the blue of the sky fade to the deep black of space. With the color gradient came a gravity gradient, as it were; the intrepid explorers felt the weights pressed on their bodies lift, bit by bit. Barring a few jolts as now-superfluous bits of metal jetted away from their flaming chariot, the ride became almost pleasant.
Of course, the work began in earnest at that point. Not one man or woman in the control room was idle, as there were many things to do, trajectories to calculate. Orbital rendezvous is not a simple matter.
“Three, two, one, mark,” and still more dihydrogen monoxide was generated, this time much closer to home for the three astronauts. 125.33 seconds later, and they could breathe a small sigh of relief. Until, of course, the window opened.
Not a window per se, but in any case the all-important barrier between the air-breathers and the airless void chose a very particular moment to shatter. Thankfully, there were safety interlocks, and the breach was sealed in a matter of moments. What was so mystifying, the astronauts thought, was that the glass wasn’t glass, it was bulletproof polycarbonate. How do bulletproof plastics randomly break apart?
Once again, such musings had no place in the collective mind of the spacemen. Prioritization, they said – let the eggheads in Houston figure it out. In the meantime, keeping an atmosphere in their little tin prison and making sure it didn’t hurtle off into the sun were the big concerns that would fill the next hundred-or-so hours.
The days were filled with TV broadcasts and minor crises. The TV was meant to entertain the masses. Crises, on the other hand, seem to arise in all spaceflight endeavors. Mostly minor things, thankfully, like computer glitches and micrometeoroids pinging off of windows.
Finally, the four hundred thousand miles between the launch site and the barren rock that follows it were bridged once more. Yet again, cryogenic compounds jumped thousands of degrees up the thermometer, and the ship dropped into orbit around the Moon. A perfect ride, if a near-collision with a lunar satellite and that mishap with the window weren’t counted.
The two men clambered into the Altair, flicked a switch, and sent the Eagle-by-another-name floating away, leaving their friend and comrade to tend to her business aboard their ride home.
The long descent was even more nail-bitingly terrifying when everyone realized there was no way for the crew to directly phone home. They were on the far side, contrary to what the announcement back at Houston had implied (for Mare Imbrium had already been explored) and radio waves don’t penetrate thousands of kilometers of solid rock.
Several strange things happened at that moment, only recorded due to the opportune passing of an ironically-named imaging satellite.
The astronauts in Altair noted a ‘tree’. Trees on the moon seemed like science fiction, yet there it was. It even bloomed right before their eyes, displaying fruits with the appearance of gemstones.
The astronauts then noted another anomaly, this one sharing their altitude. An object rose from the surface and landed in geostationary (luna-stationary) orbit, not 15 miles from the lander. Astronomically speaking, they might as well have been touching.
When this object was tentatively identified as an anomalous meteoroid, it proved everyone wrong by changing course. Rocks can’t randomly decide to turn around. Rocks also don’t glow blue. Rocks certainly can’t account for evasive maneuvers.
The astronauts came to the conclusion that it wasn’t a rock. That thought was the last thing that would go through their heads before the not-rock did.
Constructs of titanium and steel have never been a patch for things moving at cosmic velocities. Altair, for all its over-engineering, was completely removed from existence by this malicious object.
Orion invoked the ire of the blue ball of death by simply existing, and met the same fate as its sister craft. This time, however, thousands of pounds of propellant added to the fireworks. The satellite capturing the images was blinded by the light.
Oddly enough, the satellite itself didn’t suffer the same fate. The death-ball simply dropped back to the surface of the moon, towards a strange body of water that shouldn’t have existed. Perhaps it thought the name of the satellite doubly ironic. Perhaps it wanted to leave a warning for the foolish humans. Maybe it just didn't care. Either way, the satellite survived to send the images of the humans’ demise back to the little blue marble in its sky. The most important of the group concerned a certain capital, situated where no man had ever set foot.
Furthermore, the satellite also picked up a transmission of lunar origin, aimed at an unknown location in the Orient. It was in Japanese, giving some clues to the intended recipients. However, the transmission was strangely encrypted, and only one word was recognizable. The name of the very satellite that recorded it.
The public was told that Orion 5 met its end by way of an overlooked asteroid. The president was told that questions outnumbered answers.
NASA was told to prepare for an unprecedented event.
Meanwhile, an eternally-young girl looked up at her former home, not knowing that the ball of stone she was looking at was about to turn her world upside-down once more…
A few hours later, you awoke, as ignorant of the girl of your role in the days to come.
[ ] A tourist, flying into Japan from a layover in Shanghai. The plane has been having a few issues. [ ] An astronaut, part of the Orion program. You were scheduled to fly on Orion 6, what would have been the second Orion mission to land on the Moon. [ ] A civilian astronomer. You’ve noticed some strange objects entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
[ ] A hipster who thinks the writefag’s choices are too mainstream. (Write-in, please don’t be too ridiculous.)
Your name is:
[ ]Write in because I suck at names. Again, please don’t be too ridiculous.
I'll go ahead and call the votes now. It's a bit earlier than I plan to call them in the future, but I'm in a writing mood and want to get working. So, we are: [X] A civilian astronomer. -[X] Thomas Herschel, a descendant of William Herschel, the famed astronomer.
So, yes. Wait warmly and all that.
Also >>25445 Yeah, I realized that this morning, when I looked at Kaguya's page on the Touhou Wiki. Given the amount of research I've done for this, I feel really, really stupid for not having realized that.
I feel incredibly awkward typing this, but I don't think I'll be able to write this, actually. Multiple things have come up that I'm sure you don't want to hear about, but long story short I'm not likely to even have a computer for a few months. I apologize to everyone for starting something I couldn't even continue. I'll definitely keep writing if I can, but like I said, I probably won't have a computer.
So, yeah. Another one for the scrap pile, guys. For what it's worth, I'm sorry.