As the sun rose over the emerald glass of the bio-dome, Jason took a moment to take it all in. To lead the crew setting up for the colonisation of Lapetus, a curiously shaped moon orbiting Saturn, was more than he’d ever hoped for. Who knew his dreams of seeing the stars would come true.
The ship flight there had been unremarkable. The crew were fantastic, everyone had gotten along famously. All twelve of them picked for emotional compatibility, to create the smoothest journey for all. He’d enjoyed the bicycle races around the gravity simulation module, they were out of this world.
He walked out into their newly established paddock to do his daily surveys, detecting heat signatures under the ground. With the recent earthquake activity they’d experienced, it was especially pertinent. He’d suspected the recent movements had been triggered by their recent drilling through the crust of the moon.
They had slowed down, patiently removing chunks of soil from around the drill and redistributing, allowing the tremors to slow before starting up their drill again, dropping the occasional explosive to help loosen some of the rock. This all meant the next ship from earth, which had already left carrying one hundred people, would find a home ready for colonisation.
He walked his sensor around, distracted by the beauty of the still foreign sunrise. He wandered near the drill, Denise was there starting it up again for the day and he wanted to chat. They had become pretty close on the ship. Late night rendezvous aside, being around her gave him a thrill. She was smart and her red hair shone like fire in the blaze of the morning sun. He cared about everyone on the ship, after months together in such close quarters who wouldn’t, but he was certain he’d fallen for Denise. He’d tell her too, as soon as he got the courage.
His sensor began to ping and he looked down to see some very strange readings. The heat signature was moving rapidly beneath his feet. It was morphing as though it were alive. Another tremor ran through the ground, they were getting larger. He saw Denise stumble and felt the urge to help her but the readings held him back.
He adjusted the image on his sensor and realised with a shock what he was looking at. It was alive and trying to get out. It was half the size of the moon, the shape of a large winged creature, scratching to break free. His mind raced to understand. In that instant he knew he had an horrific choice. Drop the explosives down the drill into the centre of the moon, killing this incredible, unimaginable creature, the first alien life ever witnessed, or watch the moon crumble beneath his feet, dying with all he cared about disintegrating around him. He looked at the sunrise one last time, ran to Denise and kissed her, holding her as the ground fell away beneath their feet.