In a solar system far, far from the sun, there was a giant ringed planet. Around that planet revolved five moons: Roa, Suti, Serath, Julta, and Cor. The largest of these was Cor, on which intelligent life existed.
On Cor there was a man named Andar who had three friends: Bortus, Sorn, and Cyro. One day the four men were looking up at the daylight sky. In that sky they could see the four other moons of the giant ringed planet, none of which had been explored by anyone.
“I hear the sound of a hundred trumpets blaring in my soul,” said Andar. “And they are telling me: go and explore that moon in the sky.” Andar pointed to the moon Roa.
The other men thought this was a mere flight of fancy, but Andar, a natural leader, soon convinced them he was absolutely serious. Andar persuaded the other three men to join him in a bold attempt to be the first people from their moon to journey into space. The men spent years raising funds for a spaceship. No government wanted to support this project, but the men were able to raise the money from private citizens. When the spaceship was completed, the men named it Fearless. The four men entered into the spaceship and set off for the mysterious moon Roa.
To the Icy Moon Roa
Roa was a frigid moon, and the men hoped that when the landing vehicle of their spaceship landed on Roa, it would land on a big solid plane of ice. But as the landing vehicle approached the surface of Roa, there was a terrible surprise. As the men got very close to the surface, they found that what they had thought was a solid ice surface was really like a bathtub with twenty small ice cubes floating in it. Almost all of the surface of the moon was really icy water, and there was only an occasional small patch of solid ice.
“We're going to sink into the icy water!” yelled Bortus.
“I got this,” said Andar calmly. He landed the landing vehicle on a small chunk of ice.
Wearing a spacesuit, Andar then left the vehicle and went out to the edge of the ice chunk on which the vehicle had landed. He got ready to plunge into the icy water to search for signs of life.
“Not a good idea!” said Sorn. “You'll freeze to death in that water!”
But the intrepid Andar went ahead and jumped into the water. He spent hours swimming in the icy water, and photographed many strange forms of aquatic life. Finally he returned to the landing craft.
“I have photographic proof there's aquatic life on this moon!” exulted Andar. “And I even caught two types of strange fish.”
The landing vehicle then blasted off and returned to the Fearless, which then took the four men back to their home moon of Cor. The four men were hailed by all as the first heroes of space. They had proven that Cor was not the only place in the universe where life existed.
For a few years the men basked in the glory of this triumph. But then one day Andar, Bortus, Sorn, and Cyro were all together outside, and Andar looked up at the sky.
“I hear the sound of a hundred trumpets blaring in my soul,” said Andar. “And they are telling me: go and explore that moon in the sky.” Andar pointed to the moon Suti.
The other three men joined Andar in the second great expedition. After years of preparation, the four men blasted off in the Fearless, aiming to land on a very different type of moon.
To the Fiery Moon Suti
Suti was a fiery moon where many volcanoes poured out burning red lava. As their landing craft approached the surface of the moon, it looked for a while as if the craft would sink into molten lava.
“We're going to burn to death!” howled Bortus.
“I got this,” said Andar calmly. He landed the landing vehicle on a little island of solid rock, surrounded by red fiery lava.
Using a small telescope, Andar saw that 100 meters away in one direction was a hill, and on that hill were some glistening minerals.
“We should go explore that,” Andar said.
“Are you nuts?” said Sorn. “To get over there, you'd have to jump from rock to rock ten different times, leaping over fiery lava each time.”
“But the gravity of this moon is so weak, I should be able to do it,” said Andar. Then he performed the daring set of leaps. On the hill Andar discovered a treasure trove of priceless exotic jewels.
After doing the same set of leaps to get back to the landing vehicle, Andar said: “That's enough heroics for one mission. Let's get out of here.”
The landing vehicle then blasted off and returned to the Fearless, which then took the four men back to their home moon of Cor. The four men were again hailed by all as great heroes of space exploration. The jewels they discovered were made the main exhibit at a famous museum.
For a few years the men enjoyed the glory of their second triumph. But then one day Andar, Bortus, Sorn, and Cyro were all together outside, and Andar looked up at the sky.
“I hear the sound of a hundred trumpets blaring in my soul,” said Andar. “And they are telling me: go and explore that moon in the sky.” Andar pointed to the moon Serath.
The other three men joined Andar in the third great space expedition. After years of preparation, the four men blasted off in the Fearless, aiming to land on a very different type of moon, the moon Serath.
To the Rocky Moon Serath
Serath was a flat, dry, rocky moon where it was perfectly safe to land. The main danger of the moon was its very frequent earthquakes.
Andar landed the landing vehicle on Serath with no difficulty. Almost immediately after landing, the three members of the landing party felt a seismic tremor.
Andar decided to go exploring the rocky surface with Bortus and Sorn. The surface of the planet had deep crevices, narrow faults formed by geological processes that had split open the rock surface. Andar had the theory that at the bottom of those crevices, life might exist.
Andar went to the edge of a crevice, and tied a rope around his waist. He requested that the other two men hold the rope. Andar was going to lower himself down into the crevice.
“This is too dangerous,” said Bortus. “If something goes wrong, we'll never be able to get you out of there.”
“I got this,” said Andar calmly, and lowered himself down into the crevice. Lowering himself fifty meters deep, he reached the bottom of the crevice.
They felt another tremor. “Come up now!” cried Sorn.
“No, I have to look for life down here,” said Andar.
Finally after hours of exploration at the bottom of the crevice, Andar found the life forms he was looking for. After photographing them and taking some biological samples, he asked the others to pull him up to where they were, at the top of the crevice.
The tremors got worse, and the men hurried back to their landing craft. Feeling a full-scale earthquake starting, they lifted off from the moon, and entered into orbit, where they docked with the Fearless. The men then happily returned to their home moon of Cor.
The Last Hurrah
After returning home and touring their homeland to the greatest acclaim and applause from their admirers, Andar, Bortus, Sorn, and Cyro decided they were now too old to go on any more space missions. They had once dreamed of exploring the last unexplored moon in the sky: Julta. But they knew that moon was more dangerous than all the others, so they gave up that dream.
After writing a book which made them much money, and after going on a long speaking tour, the four men retired to a home for the aged. They received many visitors who asked them about their exploits.
The four old men sat one day in the garden of their old folks home. Then Andar looked up at the sky with a facial expression he had displayed three times before.
“Uh-oh, I think we're in trouble,” said Bortus. “I've seen that look in your eye before. Don't tell me – are you hearing the sound of a hundred trumpets blaring in your soul?”
“No, I am not,” said Andar. “This time I hear the sound of a thousand trumpets blaring in my soul. And they are telling me: go and explore that moon in the sky.” Andar pointed to the moon Julta, the one moon none of them had set foot on.
In a frenzy of excitement, Andar started barking out orders and encouragement.
“Bortus, what were you hoping, that you would die in a bed of some old folks home?” said Andar. “Lift up your old bones, and start contacting people, so we can revive our ship Fearless.”
“Sorn, you still got some juice in that old head?” said Andar. “Start working on a plan for us to land on Julta.”
“Cyro, you old fossil, you still got any courage or skill in that wrinkled body?” said Andar. “Then start raising some funds so we can go on one last mission.”
Andar looked up at the heavens again. “Sky, we're old as hell, but we're not finished with you!” he shouted. “We have one last moon to land on!”
The brave old men were all persuaded to go on one last mission, to the most dangerous moon of all, the mysterious unexplored moon Julta.
Somewhere in their minds they all suspected that their previous luck would not hold, and that they would end up freezing to death in icy waters, or burning up in a river of lava, or crashing into a mountain.
But they also knew in their hearts and their bones that they had to go on one last voyage into space.