It was a typical day in space. An asteroid shot by faster than a bullet and hit the top of the Moon. Drills as tall as skyscrapers added bigger and deeper craters to the already pockmarked surface of the Moon. Astronauts performed delicate ballet-like moves as they jumped to and fro on the surface. However, no chorus of angels or symphony orchestrated their choreography: they were on a mission to find minerals.
“Austin, Austin, can you read me? Over.”
“This is Austin. We read you loud and clear, Gurdeep. What’s the project status? Over.”
“We have all drills running, and we’re proceeding ahead of schedule. Should I give a full report to Mr. Houston?” said Commander Gurdeep.
“Excellent! Mr. Houston’s gone to grab a cup o’ joe. Do a full data analysis and beam it back to earth. Don’t forget to have T.O.M. check on the drills later.”
Gurdeep said, “Will do. Have a good night, Austin.”
“You too. Over and out,” replied Austin.
Gurdeep hopped and skipped to a Moon Lander that had a large camera mounted on it. He looked straight into the camera and spoke to an A.I., “Hey T.O.M., how’s it goin'”?
“Bah!” said T.O.M. “I’m tired of this tedious sifting. A big dot above the camera moved toward the left, pointing toward a group of astronauts that T.O.M. was speaking about. These astronauts used large metal sieves to sift through mountains of Moon rocks. The dot moved back to its original position before it started to appear sunken and deflated. T.O.M. said, “I wish I could play right now.”
“You can finish playing your games after you’ve sorted through your rocks,” said Gurdeep.
“Ugggh! Fine. I guess it’s back to the salt mines for me,” T.O.M. said.
Gurdeep cleared his throat and said, “Alright, now I’ve got to record my report to Mr. Houston. Please start the recording, T.O.M.”
“On March 6, 2051,” Gurdeep said, “I explored a crater on the dark side of the moon and found space dust, rocks and some kind of weird case. I think I threw away the case because it seemed irrelevant to the mission.” Gurdeep rambled on, and the dot above T.O.M.’s camera rolled around in circles — never again focusing on the astronaut.
Instead, T.O.M. scanned the pile of space rocks that Gurdeep had dumped in front of his camera. As T.O.M. scanned, his sensors found a piece of plastic in the pile. “That’s odd,” he thought, “because Earth and the Moon had banned and eradicated all traces of plastics in 2030.” Anyway, he looked closer and saw it was, in fact, a case. T.O.M. used his retractable arm to flip the case over, and a video game disc fell out. He picked up the disc with his arm and moved it closer to the camera to scan it.
The title read “Invader from Space!” Looking closer, T.O.M. saw a Martian with an automatic blaster, a menacing grin and an air quote that read, “We’re coming for you in 2052!”
“Oh boy,” though T.O.M., “I can’t wait!”