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2009. 3. 3. 19:18

영어로 작성된 소설 하나를 올립니다. SF라고 해야겠지요. 제가 아는 아마추어 작가(사실은 큰애 ^^)가 쓴 소설입니다. 주제는 제목과 관련이 많이 있습니다. '위에 있는 모든 것은 언젠가는 밑으로 내려온다'라는 이야기를 하고 싶었답니다. 번역해서 올릴까 하다가... 너무 길어서 그냥 올립니다. 알아서 보시기를 ^^


    The General nodded to the nearby scientist. Dr. Howitzer was a man that had the crushed air of a middle age man trying to keep up with the ever-growing hardships of life. The doctor then nodded through the screen on the command centers wall to the man at the computer, Thomas Anderson. Thomas turned to the rockets main computer, typed quickly on the keyboard then stated clearly into his headset, "Apollo 22 is a go. Is Houston ready?"

    General Hwang could not help but puff out his chest with pride. He had brought back the Apollo project, albeit a little late. Being 53 years old, he had seen all of the Apollo missions, and had been devastated when he had heard that the last Apollo missions would be canceled. Dan Hwang's dream had always been to be one of the men who walked on the moon. He had moved to America for that one purpose. Even at a young age, Hwang knew that living in small Korea would never fulfill his dreams. South Korea's economy had stagnated after the war; it would never produce enough money required to send a man to the moon.

"Going through the checklist. Boosters. Online. Fuel. Online. Life support. Stable. Oxygen. Plenty. Go, go, go," said Anderson. He couldn't help but smile. He would tell his children and their children that he had been the Chief Operator for the first mission in the Apollo Revival Project.

"Five. Four. Three. Two. One... Lift off."

The huge flumes of fire and smoke rippled through the air, glaring through the plexiglass windows and illuminating the white-walled room and the men's wolfish grins.

    Below the balcony was a throng of clapping, cheering men and women. Each stood before a humming computer and was staring out of the massive bay windows of the Command Center. The rocket slowly moved up the blue sky, searing it with a line of grey and red. The beast of fire writhed and, once again, the rocket jumped up. Hop. Roar. Hop. Roar.

    Howitzer and Hwang grinned simultaneously. They had developed a new method of flying, by simply "hopping" up to the top of the sky and into space. The had tested it so many times, almost to the point of becoming sick of it. Because it saved almost two-thirds of the fuel it would have taken, this experimental method of flying was the only way they would have gotten the grant for this project.

    Hwang's clear blue eyes traced the erratic motion of the future. 2009 was almost over. As it came to an end, so did America. America, thanks to Bush, was dying. Obama had fought bravely for a year, but it was a lost fight. Everyone knew it.

    Hwang closed his eyes. Those five stars were waiting for him. Only nine people had the honor of wearing those five stars. Ha. He would probably be awarded six stars. A rank made only for him, pulling America out of its self-made economic pit.

    By now, all of the operators had returned to their computers and were talking furiously into their microphones.

    "Altitude rising as expected. Fuel maintaining constant rate."
    "Oxygen levels still maxed. Pressure stable."
    "Heat plates holding. Coolant circulating."

    The two overseers stood impassive, letting the operators work their magic. As the rocket finally broke through the atmosphere, each member of the support team prayed for the three passenger's safety. And, with it, America's. Howitzer, later joined by Hwang, craned his neck to watch their offering to the heavens ascend.

    "Altitude constant. Fuel. Oxygen. Pressure. Heat. All are A-OK." Thomas Anderson threw off his headset and wheeled around to the co-pilot behind him. Luke Watchusett shrugged his thin shoulders and flipped back his jet black hair. Thomas Anderson sighed again. He absolutely loathed Luke and his little pretty boy hair and devil-could-care attitude. Thomas was sure that Luke felt the same way about him, as he was the direct opposite, with a close cut haircut and a direct personality. Thomas, once again, shoved on the headset with impatience and turned to face the screen. Howitzer's European face appeared, crisply clean on the high definition plasma. Thomas had yet to figure out what he was. Slim, Dutch face; electric blue German eyes, and a little mishmash of what could be called French. Probably German.

    "Is everything going all right?" Thomas noticed his eyes drifted over to the ship's third and final passenger, a former world class smuggler and member of Yakuza, Shintao. He was nervously fidgeting with his NASA suit and the various lapels on it. He was the man who was to make this whole thing work. A mining colony on the moon would provide America with an untapped deposit of minerals which, in today's world, translated to money. And this piggy bank needed a pilot to carry the goods.

    "Yes, its all right. No trouble. Psh, we're professionals," silked Luke's Native American voice. Thomas turned and gave him an ugly glare, and then said without looking at Howitzer,"Exactly."
    "Umm...okay then. Howitzer's out. The fate of America's economy is in your hands."
    "No pressure or anything," grumbled a now slightly ticked-off Thomas. He turned back to face an empty plasma screen and the blackness of space. Sporadic bursts of fire could be heard from the back of the ship, but otherwise it was silent. And everything was floating.

    Thomas tried to maintain his composure as he tried to avoid hitting his head on the ceiling. He failed to do either. Luke's barking laugh pierced into the silence, and he didn't know why he was laughing. Almost immediately, Thomas joined in, as if he was just waiting for a chance to let off some pressure, too. Soon, both were floating in hysterics in front of a bewildered Shintao.

    "Guys. C'mon. Straighten up. We can't be laughing like this, I thought you guys were professionals. Huh?" His staccato, Japanese-accented protests were steamrolled below both grown men's guffawing, until they got the mobster chuckling too. This continued until a massive whump was heard on the left of the rocket. After an awkward moment between all three, a siren started to ring above a flashing light.

    Thomas immediately dived for the headset and pulled it on. "Emergency, Emergency, oxygen leaking, leaking. Unidentified object has pierced the life support system. Houston, we've got a problem." Behind him, Thomas could hear hissing and various popping noises, as the oxygen started to rapidly leak out of the hull.

    Luke, now aware of what could become of them, slammed his hand down on the emergency door, sealing the doors in front of the section with the hole and therefore saving the rest of the oxygen. Thomas nodded his thanks, and returned to the headset.

    "Houston, Houston, I repeat: WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM! Do you copy? Please, Please Please Please, Please copy." Static filled his ear as various images ran through his mind. Apollo 13 had had a whole crew of operators to help them live through the same situation. Aliens versus Predators. The first Apollo blew up. Oh my God.

    Thomas turned around to the other two men. Luke's face had a knowing, resigned look, while Shintao look confused, as always. Luke nodded at Thomas and, upon this cue, turned to the gangster.

    "Right now, our life support system is punctured, and so it will probably be hard to make it back. This happened only one time before, and they had a whole team of operators. It's only us this time." All the words gushed, out of control, from Thomas' mouth. He hiccuped one of those pre-cry breaths and continued, "We're going to have to find a way to get back to Earth alive, with no help from outside." Another hiccup. "I know this sounds hard. But we're going to make it through." Thomas repeated that to himself again. We're going to make it through.

    "How?" Shintao asked the obvious, but it was a truth that the other two would have rather ignored. Hiccup, Hiccup.

    "I don't know. But we're going to make it through." This time, he repeated it more loudly and assertively, "We're going to make it through." Shintao smiled reassuringly but feeling uncomfortable with the crying man.

    Luke stood up, unsure of what he was doing, and gave Thomas a hug. This act of affection surprised everyone in the room, including Luke. They stood like this for a moment too long, and Thomas pushed him away, wiping a tear in the process.

    "We should figure out a way to get back." Once again, Shintao with the obvious. Thomas grinned a little to himself and stood up.

    "Yes we should."

    Thomas once again checked the connection between the tank and the suit. Going out into open space was so much scarier than the training sessions. If I let go I could die. Just like that.

    He breathed in deeply, taking in the recycled air being fed to him. The bulky astronaut suit was working perfectly, and he had wasted enough oxygen. He let go of the thick, weightless plate he was holding and gave a thumbs-up to Luke, and watched as he flipped on a switch. Immediately, the air started to suck out of Thomas' small, isolated room. When the monstrous noise stopped, so did the oxygen. Apollo 22's only doors opened. Immediately, Thomas felt the vacuum of space. He clutched onto the replacement for the hull all the harder and started to swim down the ship. His one free hand gripped onto the rail; he could not help but wish for a jet pack. This is what happens when the government has no money.

    As the rupture hole came closer and closer, Thomas felt a cold sense of dread creep over his temperature controlled arms. The hole was elliptical, with edges that looked exactly like teeth. Through the hole, Thomas could see flickers of tails and shapeless heads, creatures that looked like nothing on earth.

    "Oh my God," came Luke's muffled breathing as he saw the hole via the space suit's camera, "That looks exactly like...teeth." Oh God. "What is that thing in there? What are we gonna do? What if..."

    "Whatever it is, keep it in there." That was Shintao's voice. Okay. That's what I'll do. I'll just keep it in there, and worry about it later. Luke quickly switched the bitten-into titanium with it's replacement and pulled himself back through the doors. He heard them close and felt his heart return to normal.

    As the oxygen returned to the chamber, Thomas stripped off the choking suit and tugged off his helmet. His hair matted with sweat, he returned to the rest of the crew. Shintao patted him on the back, while Luke looked at him through those serious black eyes.

    "So what are we going to do with that...thing?" Luke's eyes wavered for just a second as he said this, and Thomas could see fear and a creeping panic that Luke was fighting hard to keep under control.

    "I'll tell you what we are going to do. We are going to ignore it until we get home." Shintao nodded at this, as it seemed to corresponded to what he had in mind. Luke, however, was being a problem. "But but but but the THING. IT BIT THROUGH STEEL AND A...A... CERAMIC PLATE!" Luke's voice escalated, hysteria ruling. "WHAT IF IT TRIES TO EAT US?!" At this, Thomas could not help but looked pained. He had thought of the same thing. If it can bite through the hull, Why can't it bite through some measly pressurized door?

    "If it wanted to, it would have done so long ago. The fact that we are alive now testifies to the fact that we probably will be in the near future." Again Shintao with the clear judgment. At this, Luke seemed to deflate, and the panic feeling started to dissipate.

    "Okay, I have an idea," Shintao continued, "because we have enough fuel to-"
    "Whoa, wait a minute," Luke said, obviously not trusting a smuggler, "How do you know that?"

    After tapping the walls of the ship, the Japanese smiled and stated, "Because this baby told me. Now, since we have enough fuel, the problem is just going back. Because it's hot — right?" After affirmation from the two astronauts, Shintao persevered with his idea. "And we have plenty of coolant, right?" More nods. "I mean, it might get a little hot, but what if we moved all that coolant to the front of the ship..."

    Realization hit both of the veterans instantly. Coolant. A smile crept onto Thomas' sweaty face." just might work. YES!" Thomas accentuated this last word with a raised fist. Hope was back.

    "Coolant ready. Reserve supplies enabled. Apollo 22 is targeted toward the Pacific Ocean. It is good to go." Thomas clear voice rang over the network of headsets. He nodded at a stern-faced Shintao, and once more to Luke. After 12 hours of dream-filled sleep, the trio had all but forgotten the creatures that were lurking in the back half of the ship. Everyone wanted to see home again. The three continued to go through the standard checklist until they heard a scratching coming from the back of the ship.

    Instantly, the air of hysteria returned. "GO GO GO!" shouted Luke. Immediately, Shintao accelerated the ship, throwing all three of them back into their seats.

    Thomas turned back to his state-of-the-art laptop and prepared to manipulate the coolant. The scratching grew louder, and became more and more constant. Already, red tinges were starting to show on the front of Apollo 22. As this red started to envelop the whole ship, the scratching grew more frantic.

    "Coolant holding. Reserves mixing."
    "Altitude remaining constant. Fuel will last. Keep going."

    As the heat increased, the scratching was replaced with an incessant screeching. The Earth was no longer a distant orb with clouds, but a huge, blue horizon. Luke pressed a button and the Apollo broke off into pieces, each with their own parachute. He watched as the fragments landed next to the calm Californian coast.


    Admiral Thomas stood before the gray rock.

    "Are you sure that this was found on the ship?" When addressed by a man with more medals than there were states, most people would be a little intimidated. But not Shintao.
    "Yes. In the room where those things were," said the former member of Yakuza. "There were others, but they apparently were broken."

    The scientists in the room respectfully ignored the conversation. Everyone knew that the Admiral of the Navy and the General of the Air Force were unnaturally close. Almost like brothers, most said.

    "So what could it be?" said Thomas, impatient to get to the point.
    "Well, after the research we did, most people, including me, think it is an egg." Upon seeing the growing blanching of the Admiral's face, he continued, "But there have been no concrete reports-" A sudden cracking sound made Shintao stop mid-sentence and look back at the rock. A long crack had formed down the middle of it and, from somewhere inside, a scratching sound was heard.