It is the year 2051 and the International Space Institute has just sent two rival astrobiologists to search for extraterrestrial life on Europa, the mysterious ice moon of Jupiter. What they encounter could not only revolutionize science, it might make one of them the most famous person on Earth. Or does the Universe have other plans?
Charlie found himself drifting on a cosmic wind toward a mound of skulls that looked curiously familiar. His pain had vanished, but he felt disoriented. The skulls appeared to be gigantic but he couldn’t be sure if they were large or if he had become exceedingly small. A swift, turbulent wind carried him into one of the skulls, through the orbit of an eye then its optic canal.
A dazzling light appeared before him, gradually fading into an aerial view of Sleeping Woman Mountain. Now he discovered he was a mere speck riding between what he perceived to be two enormous insect eyes. He immediately thought of the Ngala totem and concluded these were the eyes of a dragonfly.
Rainforest shadows parted below him to reveal the ruins of his former camp filled with soldiers lounging casually near the bloodstone, the site of Gnesh’s murder. Their arrogance fueled Charlie’s rage.
On his command, thousands of wasps flew out of the forest and descended on the soldiers.
The men screamed as the insects stung them. They swatted at the horde, firing their weapons uselessly. Desperate to escape the swarm, they dived into the river where they met a pack of hungry crocodiles. The waters ran red with blood.
Now Charlie saw Prime Minister Jahuara’s distinctive helicopter appear, hovering above the carnage. Charlie directed his dragonfly into the cockpit. The insect buzzed up to the head of the prime minister sitting at the helicopter’s controls, repeatedly biting the tyrant’s eyes with its great mandibles. Jahuara tried to swat it away but the dragonfly was too quick. He shrieked in pain as blood flowed from his sockets.
Flying blind, he lost control and the helicopter plummeted into the trees. Charlie and the dragonfly escaped the craft in time to watch it explode in a mass of flames.
Charlie found himself drifting above the forest canopy. He turned his gaze toward the black sky shimmering with starlight. One by one, stars fell from the night like droplets of a celestial mist. The Pleiades constellation was the last to fall. Merope lingered for a moment, then disappeared into the darkness. A feeling of immense tranquility settled over him as he relished the embrace of this sacred void.
The world was back in balance. He closed his eyes…and succumbed to peace.
AUTHOR Bios and Links:
The family that writes together stays together, so siblings Marlene Fabian Stiles and Hank Fabian co-authored a science fiction adventure that explores Jupiter’s moon Europa as two rival astrobiologists race to be the first to find extraterrestrial life. This discovery should ensure the winner fame and fortune, but the Universe has other plans.
Hank is the guy walking around with a long lens camera and binoculars, a tourist of the world fascinated by every creature that moves and every plant that grows. He teaches biology and helped devise a college genetics program. As a scientist he likes to work with facts, so there's a possibility that the creatures he’s created actually exist!
Marlene is the president of a nonprofit, The I Will Projects, dedicated to advancing educational venues that include a middle school aquaponics program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club which received a NASA grant. She writes in multiple genres and also has published “Elderchild,” an Alzheimer’s narrative written in the first person. She shares Hank’s love of the natural world and is dazzled by the interconnectivity of all living things.
Hank Fabian Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/author/B0B9HTNXX7/about
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Thank you for hosting our sci fi adventure that stretches from the wilds of Papua New Guinea to Jupiter's mysterious ice moon Europa. Two rival astrobiologists race to be the first to discover extraterrestrial life, but the universe has other plans.
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