54. The Ancient Engines of Deimos, Part I   3 comments

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 54: The Ancient Engines of Deimos, Part I: Field Trip

“So, I really don’t get the reason why this place is such a big deal,” Sundance said to Astralyn. He was piloting the StarTango out of the S.P.A.C.E. hangar bay. He, Astralyn, and Timmy were about to embark on a new adventure. He punched in the coordinates that Astralyn had given him. The ship’s computer gave him the location and he shook his head when the directions were done being calculated. “Deimos? We’re going to Deimos?”

“Deimos, one of the two moons of Mars,” Astralyn replied. She looked down at the brochure that she held in her hands and flipped through it. “It’s in the Sol Star System.”

“I know that! I learned that in grade school. But why are we going there?” Sundance looked to Timmy for a little support, but he merely smiled at him. He suspected that he was enjoying this. “I’m sure there are more interesting things to look at that are right here in our own star system.”

“Mars is the first planet the people of Old Earth colonized. Then from there, they went on to colonize the moons.” Astralyn was reading from the brochure. “While they were building their civilization, they discovered dozens of old engines with no idea what they were used for or who built them. They have been preserved throughout the centuries and is a must see! Doesn’t that sound like fun?”

“We’re really going to stare at a bunch of rusty, old engines that could crumble if someone looks at them the wrong way?” Sundance was not attempting to hold back his sarcasm. “Sounds like family fun for everyone.”

Astralyn folded the brochure up and set it on her lap. She pulled off her reading glasses and looked to Sundance. “You didn’t have to come, you know. I’m sure Timmy and I could have made it there just fine.”

“Sure I did. I never miss an opportunity to miss one of Astralyn Winner’s Field Trips; trouble is never far away.” Sundance looked back at Astralyn and winked at her. Her cheeks reddened as her frustration grew. This pleased him. He returned his attention to his flying as he flew through New Earth’s atmosphere.

Timmy chuckled because he could sense Astralyn’s frustration. “Don’t worry, Astralyn, I am looking forward to it. And maybe if there is time, we could look at the Old Earth Ruins.”

“Hooray.” Sundance engaged the thrusters and the StarTango went flying towards their destination.


The adventurers reached the moon, Deimos, and headed towards the domed city of Dunlin. There was a vast parking lot for the many ships that frequented the tourist attraction. Sundance set the StarTango down at the furthest spot available, in an attempt to avoid the craziness of trying to park the closest to the entrance. They disembarked the ship and headed to the security gate.

There was a long line of people waiting to be let into the city. The security guard frisked everyone and then let them pass. Sundance and Timmy flashed their S.P.A.C.E. badges, but they were still frisked thoroughly. As they were let through, Sundance and Timmy watched as Astralyn was frisked. She looked very uncomfortable. When she was admitted entrance into the city, they snickered at her.

“I don’t know what you’re smirking at,” Astralyn said, trying not to sound irritated. “I don’t recall you laughing when you were being frisked.” She ignored their insensitive chuckling.

They immediately headed to the large warehouse where the engine exhibit was. It was located just outside of the downtown area of Dunlin. Astralyn surmised they could view the rest of the city after the tour of the warehouse. There was a long line of people waiting to be let inside. They joined the line.

“Damn, it’s really cold out here!” Sundance said, rubbing his hands together. “You’d think with all the money this city makes from this tourist trap, you’d think they’d invest in some heat lamps or something.”

Astralyn looked down at Sundance’s pink shorts and smirked. “Well, maybe if you had put some pants on you wouldn’t be freezing, right, Timmy?” Timmy only nodded his agreement, but didn’t dare say anything. “See, Timmy agrees with me. Besides, we are on the dark side of the moon, it is bound to be a bit chilly.” Sundance mumbled something in response, but Astralyn didn’t care to make out what he said.

After waiting for thirty minutes, the three of them finally made it to the box office. Astralyn purchased their tickets and she handed Timmy and Sundance their half of the tickets. Sundance quickly crumpled his up and tossed it in the trash.

They entered the warehouse and walked down a flight of stairs. There was another door that led them to a large room that gathered all of the people waiting for the tour to begin. A man wearing a black and red uniform walked into the room. He smiled at the group of people and waved. Sundance rolled his eyes and thought, Oh, this is going to be fun.

“Hello and good evening! Thank you for choosing to visit the Engines of Deimos,” the tour guide said. “My name is Harold and I will be your guide this evening.” He clapped his hands and gave them a cheesy smile. “Before I take down to look at the engines, there are a few ground rules you need to be aware of. The first and most important is that you must not touch anything you see in there. The Caretakers, the people wearing the maroon robes, are specially trained to maintain them and would appreciate it if everyone refrained from touching them.” The tour guide continued to give them more instructions, mostly emphasizing on the things not to touch, but Sundance found it more fun to make hand puppets imitating him.

Finally, the tour began. The tour guide led everyone down to the dark basement. People murmured about how dark it was. A click sounded and the room was flooded with bright white fluorescent light. Lights continued to activate further down the warehouse. This added to the drama of the tour.

The tour participants noticed that they stood on a grated floor and allowed them to see the massive mechanical engines beneath them. Astralyn couldn’t catch her breathe, she was so taken aback by the majesty of it all. Some of the engines towered above them like trees. They lined the edges of the walkway. They all sat there, motionless, aching to once again be useful.

“These are the first engines the First Earth Settlers discovered,” Harold said. “We call this the Primary Engine Sector.” He watched as people took out their cameras and took pictures. “And if you follow me, I will take you to a chamber where you can see some of the cogs and gears from inside one of the engines.” He led the group to the next room.

Sundance couldn’t help but be impressed by the magnitude of the engines he saw. He thought that there would be some clunky old car engines sitting on the floor someplace. He tried not to let on that he was starting to enjoy himself. Astralyn was not fooled for a second. Timmy chuckled to himself at this display.

Harold brought them to another room where there were large silver boxes encased in glass on the floor. People ooh’d and ahh’d as they walked past. Along the walls were showcases of small rusty cogs. People placed their hands on the glass and Harold quickly told them to knock it off.

Sundance and Timmy brought up the rear of the tour; they were taking special care to examine the specimens closely. When they reached the room where some of the power generators were, they stayed behind to look at them.

The generators were cordoned off with black velvet ropes. They looked like they had been savaged by time. Every inch of them were covered in rust. This fascinated Timmy and Sundance. They stood before one of them and just admired it.

“Isn’t this incredible, Captain?” Timmy asked. “Just think about the Settlers coming from Old Earth and discovering this. How strange would it feel to know that something lived here before you did. This must have given them goosebumps.”

“Goosebumps and a soiled pair of pants,” Sundance replied.

Astralyn, who had continued on with the tour, turned back when she realized that Sundance and Timmy were no longer with the group. She found the two of them staring at one of the generators. “Guys, we’re being left behind! Come on, hurry up!”

“Astralyn, come and look at this.” Sundance beckoned to her. “Now look at this generator. If you look real closely, you can almost make out a design that is similar to the ones we use back on New Earth.” He leaned over the velvet rope for a closer inspection. Timmy did this as well.”If I didn’t know better, I’d say that Old Earth colonized Deimos a lot sooner than history lets on.”

“Oh, now you want to play anthropologist?” Astralyn whispered angrily. “Let’s go… Timmy?” She watched as Timmy stepped over the velvet rope. “Timmy, what are you doing?” It looked like he was in a trance of some kind. She looked to Sundance and saw that he, too was stepping over the ropes. “Sundance!” She ran her hands through her hair and took a deep breath. “Guys, we shouldn’t be here!”

“It was your idea,” Sundance said.

Astralyn looked around and her blood ran cold as she noticed that three men in maroon robes were coming their way. “Guys, the Caretakers are coming. We really need to go.”

Sundance smiled at Timmy as he reached out his hand towards the generator. Timmy did the same, only he did not look at Sundance. He stared straight ahead at the generator, as if it was engaging him somehow.

“Don’t you dare do it!” Astralyn shouted.

“Give it a rest,” Sundance said dismissively.

Both of their hands touched the cold, resting machine. They both seemed to be relieved once their hands made contact, but the serenity only lasted for a brief moment. The generator gave a loud whirr and began to shake into life. The sound of machines powering themselves on filled the chamber. This had been what the engines had been waiting for all along. Sundance and Timmy turned to each other and wondered what they had just done.


Posted May 28, 2012 by Xanto P. Jones in Flash Fiction

3 responses to “54. The Ancient Engines of Deimos, Part I

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  1. Oh dear it sounds like Sundance and Timmy are in for trouble again! ^_^

  2. Welcome back! and I bet that stops the Caretakers in their tracks!

  3. Haha, shouldn’t you be charging for that kind of knw?eldgeo!

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