'The Vanishing Web'
by Chris Smillie
1. Silence Disrupted
The date: September, 13th 1999. The location: Earth's Moon. An explosion: a devastating accident involving nuclear waste. Catastrophically, the Moon is sent hurtling through space, with Commander Koenig and his 310 crew of the research outpost, Moonbase Alpha, marooned. Their destiny: to battle weird phenomena, bizarre races and dwindling supplies in an endless attempt to escape their asteroidal prison.
"Are you able to get that on visual?" The speaker was the Commander, as he moved from his private quarters into the Command Room. Koenig had been hoping to spend some time relaxing. Lately, his medical officer, Dr. Helena Russell had advised the Commander that his stress levels were becoming dangerously high. However, an urgent message could not be ignored.
"Coming into range -- now!" spoke Paul Morrow, the second-in-command of the Moonbase. As his hands flicked across the hi-tech console he was seated in front of, Morrow brought the object of concern into focus upon the oval main screen that was located in the Command Room.
The image that faded into view resembled a pile of loosely connected objects. The image could almost be identified as space junk, however, there appeared to be some reason to it's assemblage. To the left and right were massive blocks with some faint light distilled through the ribs of the masses. A number of smaller squares and rectangles were scattered around in ever-concentric circles attached by cables. The overall view was somewhat that of a spider web with detritus. In the centre was an enormous conical object, with the spike somewhat pointed out towards Alpha.
Koenig clasped his hand to his chin. He found it impossible to determine whether this web was a threat, a possible source of supplies, or merely useless remnants from a long dead civilisation. He needed more information.
"Kano!" shouted Koenig. "Any data on that thing?"
David Kano, at one time Earth's foremost computer expert, punched his requirements into the powerful computer wall bank. With a shocked expression, the analyst looked towards Koenig.
"Commander --" Kano swallowed hard, "it's four times the size of Alpha!"