“The Red Moons Of NeOrion” (1968)
a Norman L. Brisbane short story
The moon was red and hard, and so was the other moon.
Krepp had never seen the moons this way, it frightened him.
NeOrion was a world in peril. It was a dying planet, in fact. The red moons of NeOrion had kept the planet alive for aeons: their warmth, their energy, their pulse meant life could explode all around. But when “THE CHANGE” occurred, all sense and logic became a thing of the past. Fear now reigned among the NeOrionians: the moons were getting lower and closer. How long until they vanished altogether? Or even worse, made contact.
How long until the end?
Looking up at his people’s impending demise, Krepp swallowed his fear and thought: “I can’t be afraid, the moons have their way. Who am I to distrust them?”.
– “I hate the moons!”
– “Don’t say that, Shp, it’s not allowed!”
– “I don’t care: I hate them…”
Not knowing what to do, Krepp snapped Shp’s neck.
Shp was Krepp’s sondaughter (for hundreds of years the sexes had merged into one unisex on NeOrion). The penalty for speaking ill of the moons being worse than instant death, Krepp had spared Shp much discomfort. Besides, with the end so near, what did it matter? He thought.
It was on the facevision box that Krepp had first heard about “THE CHANGE”. In fact, that’s how most NeOrionians heard about it. NeOrion’s unique facevision channel, Channel A, had spread the news in the early hours of the morning. The Observatorium’s Chief Skyman had produced evidence that the moons were, indeed, beginning to orbit NeOrion and according to his calculations, the chances of them resurfacing were, in his words, “highly unlikely”. Further studies to determine how long NeOrion had left were still being carried out but so far had proven inconclusive. Impact or desertion would be the cause of the planet’s death, this was a definite, but at this stage The Sky Council could only speculate. More specifics would no doubt surface soon.
Shp’s body having finally been cooked and eaten, as per the old ways of the Moon Elders’ sacred scrolls, Krepp once again started thinking about the end. His days, or even hours (who knew?) were numbered, what was left to do? How to best make use of his remaining time on NeOrion?
Look out for Chapter II on Monday 20/08/12
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