The Red Phoenix 12: Strength Comes in Numbers

THE

RED PHOENIX

12

 

 

A Novel By

Ken Bush

Copyright© 2014

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015. Ken Bush. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce any or all of the contents of this book, in any manner. The author exclusively retains all rights to reproduce, transmit, upload, download, compile, decompile, reverse-engineer, hold in any retrieval system format, scan, photograph, photocopy or fax, distribute via the internet or in any other manner the contents of this book. Without exception, written permission of the author is required for any action relating to the content of this book.

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE
THE MOON FINDING

 

 

July 2019 A.D.

 

 

 

An alien starship flew through space, spiraling out of control, heading towards the moon. Metallic panels peeled off the top and sides of the ship as it continued to make its plunge towards the moon’s atmosphere. The starship was in the shape of an “X” with blue fiery thrusters off the rear that flickered on and off as the ship was losing power and fast. At the tips of the X-shaped wings were bright blue lights. In the middle of the ship was the pilot’s cockpit. It was shielded by a transparent, dome-shaped cover that had a bar running down through the middle and from one side to the other, forming a
cross
. It was piloted by a humanoid being—head, two arms and legs—that sat in a one-man seat, wearing a helmet with hoses attached and a space suit. His two beady eyes glowed blue through his helmet.

 

Inside the cockpit, red LED lights were flashing as part of the control panels popped sparks, causing vapors of smoke to flow from some of the dials. The pilot appeared to be bleeding as streaks of glowing, yellow blood ran down one side of his chest, his helmet and his arms, and pooled on his gloved, four-fingered hand.

 


Complete system failure
,” said the alien pilot in his own garbled language, turning a dial and flicking switches.

 

“Can you repair the ship?”
another alien voice asked over the intercom.

 

“Negative,”
the pilot replied as more red lights flashed across the dashboard.
“Crash landing inevitable. My coordinates are unknown. The ship has sustained severe damage by the enemy.”

 

“What is the status of the Tri-Dex?”
the voice over the radio asked.

 

The pilot turned to a square-shaped, metallic red and silver chest with triangular patterns on it that was fastened down near his seat. He reached for it but was too injured to grab it.

 

“Can it be saved from the impact?”
asked the voice over the radio.

 

“Negative, crash landing imminent,”
the pilot answered.

 

The starship flew across the surface of the moon for a distance then crashed into the soil, forming a trenched-wake in the sandy dirt, sliding across the surface, mowing down the American flag, dragging it across the soil, forming a shallow ditch in the dirt two-feet deep until it came to a stop.

 

The pilot struggled to free himself from his safety restraints when suddenly the ship exploded, blowing the wings, pieces of thruster and cockpit cover yards away as the clouds of fire erupted from the central area of the ship, incinerating the pilot.

 

The Tri-Dex chest was thrown from the ship after a second explosion, landing a short distance from the destroyed star craft, plunging halfway into the lunar soil. The chest sizzled in its anchored position while the flames of the wrecked starship died down in the background. The sizzling sound on the chest stopped. The charred layer on its sides and top began to dissipate, allowing its peculiar markings to show through all around it. It shined up by itself like it was new.

 

 

 

A YEAR LATER

 

 

A group of four astronauts bounced across the surface of the moon in their space suits for a publicity stunt called the Apollo Nineteen. The updated shiny Apollo shuttle sat in the background with the title
Apollo 19
and
N.A.S.A.
logo on the side. The bright lights that were mounted on the outside of the ship illuminated the lunar surface for the exploring astronauts.

 

Captain Tim Aldridge, Lt. John Dasner, Lt. Frank Willis and Lt. Phillip Howard perused the dirt-laden plain.

 

“Bring it in for a minute, guys,” stated Aldridge.

 

Howard bounced over the soil to Aldridge. The other two huddled up, forming a circle.

 

“We’re almost finished, Captain,” said Howard, smiling.

 

“We sure are,” Aldridge answered, sounding well-grounded and professional. “It’s time to explore the last area before we leave. It’s like the last seven days went by in a flash.”

 

“To the northeast?” asked Dasner with a sound of relief in his voice.

 

“Yep, that way,” Aldridge added, pointing his hand to the dark horizon. “We should find at least a dozen potential marks for lunar outposts. That’ll make them boys on Capitol Hill happy.”

 

The astronauts looked at the slopes in the short distance. The dark regions beyond the boundary of their light sources set off a burning desire to go and explore.

 

“Are you upset we haven’t found the American flag, Captain?” asked Willis as they began bouncing in a northeasterly direction.

 

“You know, that was going to be a landmark moment, having my picture taken next to the flag that Michael Collins posted into the soil,” Aldridge responded.

 

“Well, you landed the shuttle at the coordinates where the US flag was supposed to be,” stated Willis.

 

“Maybe solar wind blew it away, Captain?” Dasner suggested.

 

“It’s possible,” Howard added.

 

“Anyway, let’s scatter out and search for it,” stated Aldridge in an ambitious voice, making his way towards a slope. “It’s an iconic American symbol. It needs to be found.”

 

“Yes sir, Captain,” Willis responded, heading out in his own direction. “I’ll go this way, fellas.”

 

“I’ll go this way,” said Dasner, bouncing across the sandy soil.

 

Howard trotted off on his own, his space suit lights shining twenty-five feet in front of him. He stopped his bouncy-moonwalk, looking into the distance, noticing something sticking up on the other side of a hill in the distance. He climbed up the slope, galloping to the top. He looked out in wonder as his lights shined onto the mysterious crash site of the wrecked starship. He glanced over his shoulder and observed a shallow trench at least sixty feet long in the soil that led to the demolished star cruiser.

 

“Good lord,” mumbled Howard, his tone of voice revealing his amazement as he gazed over the wreckage in awe.

 

“What do you have over there, Phil?” asked Aldridge, accompanying him, bouncing his way to the top of the hill.

 

“Can you believe this?” Howard replied.

 

“Oh my,” said Aldridge in wonder as he gazed over the remains of the crashed interstellar vessel.

 

“This ship doesn’t seem to be one of ours, Captain,” Howard stated with concern, looking over the other parts of the ship, moving in closer. “I thought it was an enormous satellite that crashed or something but, no, this is different.”

 

They both shined their lights over the area, finding other pieces of the ship lying in the soil a short distance away.

 

“I don’t think it’s from Earth either,” said Howard with a tad of concern evident in his voice.

 

“Any sign of the pilot?” asked Aldridge, scanning the area with his lights.

 

“I’ll bet the pilot died in the crash,” Howard responded, shining his lights in the torched cockpit area.

 

“It has to be an extraterrestrial space shuttle of some kind,” stated Aldridge, picking up a piece of burned panel from the ship, examining it on both sides. “What else is in the ship?”

 

Howard bounced his way to the largest piece of wreckage where the cockpit used to connect to the “X” shape star cruiser’s wings; part of the cockpit still remained. He shined his light onto the burned and broken hunk of twisted metal.

 

“Damn,” he said in a soft voice, running his light over the wreckage.

 

“What?” asked Aldridge, sounding excitable.

 

“Whoever was flying this thing hit the surface pretty hard,” Howard answered. “There is nothing left of the cockpit. Check out how long the wake in the soil is.”

 

“The real question is where did they come from? Where were they going? And why wasn’t their ship functioning properly to cause it to crash?” asked Aldridge, shining his light on the tall, broken wings that leaned against a large hill of sandy dirt.

 

“An alien star craft from another galaxy,” Howard stated, still investigating the area. “So, what do you want to do, boss?”

 

“Go get Dasner and Willis,” Aldridge ordered. “We’re going to need all the help we can get to collect as much of this as possible. Make sure Willis brings his camera and all the SD cards too.”

 

“I’m on it,” Howard replied, bouncing his way back up the hill, leaving the crash site.

 

Aldridge continued to shine his light over the wreckage as he walked to the opposite side of the scene. He heard strange, soft, echoing, whispery sounds coming from the area.

 

“What was that?” he wondered aloud in a soft voice, shining his light around, turning, and pacing over broken panels of starship.

 

He stumbled upon something that was wedged into the soil. He turned around and shined his light down on what looked like a metallic chest the size of a two-gallon picnic cooler that had silver and red triangular patterns on each side of it. The triangular patterns faced each other with an “O” shape in between them. Aldridge crouched down and wiped moon dust and burnt, encrusted particles from the top of the Tri-Dex. He dug around the sides of it and pulled it out of its entrenched spot. The chest sounded off more whispery voices that were in some other language.

 

“What is this, a box of some kind?” he mumbled, crouching, running his fingers across the top and sides of its strange metallic silver and red markings.

 

He searched for a lid or crevice by which to open it but saw neither. The chest appeared sealed up like it was it glued together by its triangular and “
W
” shaped patterns. He ran his fingers all over it, turning it to examine every part of it, trying to find something that would cause it to do something.

 

“Maybe you’re not supposed to open,” he said, running his hands over the chest.

 

His gloved fingers grazed over some etched-in wavy lines on the sides of the peculiar box.

 

Suddenly, the chest opened by itself as the triangular patterns moved outwards. A wondrous, bright, whitish light the size of a light bulb, emitting slow-moving blue vapors in the form of thin streaks of smoke floated out of the chest to eye-level with Aldridge. He gazed at the ghost-like apparition as it shined on his face, causing him to squint.  Its bluish vapors swirled around his head, shoulders, chest and arms. Aldridge was so mesmerized by its mystifying, peaceful beauty, as it sounded off whispery echoes, that he didn’t notice the misty phantasma encircle his person.

 

A warm feeling enveloped him as he stared at it like he was peeking through a tiny doorway into Heaven. He moved his fingers through the middle of the phantasma, going through the brightest portion of it, noticing it was like a small, misty cloud with no solid core. He grinned as the spiritual mist twirled and spun around his wrist and part of his forearm with its bluish vapor, toying with him. He stood up, opened his hand as the lighted vapor hovered above his palm.

 

“Incredible,” said Aldridge in a soft voice, not taking his eyes off it.

 

The blue mist cast thin streaks of pink, green and purple lightning bolts a short distance from him and landed on the surface like it was putting on a brief magic show for him. He held up his other hand. The streaks of lightning flowed from the vapor, through his left forearm and hand, before shooting outwards several yards away where they landed on the sandy ground and disappeared. It reminded him of the toy he had in his bedroom when he was a teenager, the
Eye of the Storm
.

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