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摩拉之门第一部 蛤蜊(1)

(2022-01-12 09:02:49) 下一个

前言:《摩拉之门——Maura's Gate》是我几年前开始写的英文星际科幻,讲的是宇航员Devin在星际旅行中遇到的一些鄙夷所思的发现,而这些发现与地球和太阳系即将面临的毁灭危机息息相关。

共分五卷,1,Clam(蛤蜊);2,Roseta(罗塞塔彗星);3,The Lost Jupiter(丢失的火星),4,Strands(线),5,Scorching World(炼狱)。每卷一两万字上下,目前已完成前四卷。

卷一:Clam(蛤蜊)

故事简介:When Devin arrives at Planet Mullos 17 b twelve years later, he is determined to retrieve his lost memory about the last mission, during which three astronauts were mysteriously gone. Before he and his new colleagues land on the planet, they find themselves on an exotic journey to one of the planet’s moons. As their adventure proceeds, the past and the present coalesce to unfold the destiny of an advanced civilization. The hard part is not to believe the unbelievable, but to discover what they thought they had known.

=======================================

 

Chapter 1   The Moon

“Looks like you are holding the last can,” said the old man, leaning back in his chair, his hand fumbling inside a pocket. Before he put a simulated cigarette in his mouth, he murmured something like hate it.


“Aren't you a biologist?” Devin said as he peeled the lid off the can and poured the precooked clams into a bowl. With a deep breath, he momentarily forgot about the gray-haired biology professor sitting at the same table, as well as those questions that kept popping up in his mind since their ship entered Mullos 17, a planetary system located eighty light years away from home.


“Why would somebody ask me this question every time I smoke?” Roland smiled. The wrinkles around his eyes reminded Devin of the growth rings on a clamshell. Roland had a small figure, an aquiline nose, and eyes that always expressed interests in his surroundings. Though, at the moment, Devin couldn't think of anything fascinating in the windowless kitchen of a spaceship.


“A biologist is a human,” Roland continued. “And humans don't stop doing things just because they know the harm.”


Devin made no reply and quietly ate his clams. Was he really here seven years ago? How could there be no memories left? He shook his head, trying to concentrate on the food, but after a while his mind was busy again. What had happened to his colleagues …


“Sometimes I wonder,” Roland interrupted at the right time, “what's the point of living a life as a clam, or … or a lobster? Well, at least lobsters have brains.” He gazed down and frowned at the fake cigarette, but soon decided to resume smoking. “As clams, do they even know they exist? I mean, after they are born … You know, in my junior year I was once interested in clams' reproductive systems. They can be male, female, or hermaphroditic …”


Devin suddenly lost his appetite. The idea that the mushy gooey stuff in his mouth may have been self-conscious turned his stomach. He enjoyed talking to Roland most of the time. Well, most of the time! He dumped the unfinished clams with the shells into a garbage bag and cleaned up the table. He needed a moment alone.


* * *
He climbed up with ease the long and narrow stairway leading to the bridge. At the age of forty-nine, Devin was swifter and stronger than most of his peers as a result of regular exercise. He had tanned and tight skin, bright eyes with superb eyesight. Health, career, and personal life had been great, barring the last mission that had made him a hero to some people, and to others “a coward who ran home alone with his colleagues left to die”.


And unless he retrieved his lost memory, he could argue against neither, even to himself.


The bridge was a circular room with windows providing a 360-degree view. Pleasant hums surrounded various machines that had been deliberately arranged to make use of every available spot. To his surprise, Mina was still sitting at her station, and he couldn't recall seeing her at all in the kitchen. The young Asian woman was scrutinizing something on the screen in front of her. The long smooth hair lay freely on her back, and her right hand was habitually holding the black frame of her eyeglasses as if that could make her see better. With simple and effective eye surgeries—Devin reflected—few women still wore glasses nowadays. Somehow she persisted.


“This isn't right,” she glanced at him and said. She had a freckle-free face with long eyebrows and limpid eyes. A very “clean” look, Devin always thought.


He kept walking and ignored her comment. Girls are always paranoid. He knew that as a father of two teenage daughters. He stopped at the front of the room and gazed at the blue planet ahead. Still far, it resembled Earth in many ways with notable dissimilarities. The side of the globe facing them had a single ring-shaped continent. The center of the ring was filled with blue water. Devin wasn't sure whether it should be classified as a large lake or a small ocean. A massive white cloud with a swirl hole perched to the northwest of the continent. It wasn't impossible for an island to hide underneath the storm, but Devin couldn't tell unless he resorted to the computers.


Then the sour feeling stirred in his heart again. How could he not remember seeing the planet? Over the past seven years not a single day had passed without him trying to recall details of the previous mission. And what happened to his colleagues?


“This just can't be real!” Now Mina was almost screaming.


Devin sighed and left for her desk. The screen she was looking at showed a shadow-like image, roughly oval-shaped except for the large crack that ran all the way from the surface to the center. Mina tapped her fingers on the screen to make the object rotate. At certain angles the crack was revealed as a hollow sector of thirty degrees or so. It cut so deeply that the whole thing was almost split into halves. 


Creepy! Devin straightened up and shook his head. He knew the computer was trying to portray the smaller moon orbiting Planet Mullos 17 b, since he had just spotted the other moon in front of the planet. It wasn't uncommon for celestial objects to carry signs of intensive collisions, normally in the form of humongous craters or cracks on the surface. But such a clean and deep cut could not have been natural.


“What do you think?” he heard Mina asking.


“That's why we are here, right?” He was senior to her, so he should sound more composed.

“Looking for evidence of life. This thing gives us a heads up.”


It was true that the goal of this mission, as well as a series of other missions to different planetary systems, was to discover extraterritorial lives, but Devin had just realized they weren't ready for what awaited them ahead. To date humans had built various facilities on Earth's moon, but what would be the reason for taking away a large chunk of a celestial body? And how could anyone have managed to carry out the task?


Soon, Roland and Kenton joined them after receiving Mina's brief message. The four of them gathered in front of a large screen, watching new details being filled in as Belief-II slowed down around the orbit of the larger moon. Just as Devin thought things couldn't have become eerier, the scanning of the moon's surface was complete. Rather than an olive with a chunk of it taken, a better description of the moon would be a relatively flat bottom attached to a half-open lid, or valve. In fact—Devin swallowed hard—the whole thing looked like one of the clams he had just consumed.

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