Authors: Colin Owen
THE EARTH RISE TRILOGY
© 2015 Colin Owen
First published 2015 by Colin Owen Music Ministries
All rights reserved
This book is dedicated to the One Who gave me the inspiration to begin writing. The One Who inspires men with His creative gifts.
I also dedicate this book to my dad, who had a great imagination. Though he is no longer with us, I'm sure he would love this book--I can still remember him sitting me in front of the old radiogram to listen to
"Dan Dare--Pilot of the future!"
Again, my thanks to Chris for her sterling work with 'the red pen.'
To God Be The Glory.
Book One - Lark
The earth shone bright and blue, set against the blackness of space. "Sure is pretty," Jake called over the coms, "never seen it look quite so blue before."
Zeek, the other astronaut who was out on patrol, replied "You'd never know just how dirty it's getting from here."
"At least they've got air they can breath Zeek, more than we've got up here Moon-side."
"Give it time Jake, it's early days yet, just give it time buddy."
It was late, and Steve Forester was still working. The phone rang, "Hi Hun," came Clare's voice over the line, "will you be long?"
"Not too much longer Sweetie, I just need to finish some last minute calculations ready to transmit to mother."
Mother was Steve's name for his boss, Dr. Vinkle, a strange character, but brilliant nevertheless.
"OK Hun," Clare replied, "but do try to get back soon, I'm missing you."
"I'll do my best Sweetie, bye."
Steve put the phone down. He hated working late, but time was short, and this project was vital.
Steve and Clare had been married for fifteen years and were still crazy about each other. Clare understood Steve's long and sometimes unusual working hours. She was a botanist and taught at the university, but before Christopher and Shelley had been born, she had done fieldwork, studying rare plants. She was the country's foremost expert on hybrid plants, but had been glad to give it up when the family had come along. Once the kids grew past the dependency stage, she had taken a post at Teal University, as senior lecturer of botanical studies. She hated the 'senior' bit, but liked her work very much. In all honesty, she hadn't missed fieldwork anything like as much as she thought she would; the newer, more stable hours suited her, and gave her more time for her family.
Chris and Shelley were fast asleep when Steve got home, but Rufus wasn't. "Down boy...Down!" Steve commanded, but Rufus was having none of it.
"See, he misses you too Hun." Clare said, as she came to meet Steve in the hallway. "Had a good day?" she asked, kissing him on the cheek.
"Not bad, old Vink' had one on him today."
"When doesn't he?"
"Oh, he's not so bad," Steve grinned, "compared to chicken-pox he's quite cuddly!"
They both laughed, and even Rufus seemed to get the joke too. They headed for the lounge with Steve singing his little song.
"Vinkle Vinkle Starlabs star, how I wonder what you are."
The alarm went off early in Shelley's room, it was a big day for her and she wanted to be up in plenty of time. Her brother, Chris, on the other- hand, wanted nothing to do with getting up; his alarm was buried deep under the clothes in one of his drawers. The muted sound it made, could hardly be heard at all by human ears, but Rufus heard it from his basket down in the kitchen and set off up the stairs at full speed. Shelley was used to this scenario, and had opened Chris' door just a little as she passed it on her way to the bathroom. Rufus didn't care, he charged straight through it and into Chris' room, diving straight onto his bed and landing plumb in the boy's midriff.
"RUFUS!" yelled Chris at the top of his lungs, but it was too late. Rufus had pulled the duvet clean off the bed and was dragging it across the floor, well out of Chris' reach. Having reached the far wall, the little guy stood, wagging his tail furiously and panting hard: Rufus was only a small dog compared to the size of the duvet.
"You're up then?" Came Shelley's demure little voice, as she passed Chris' room on her way back from the bathroom.
"You taught him to do that!" Chris cried out as she passed his door.
"Did not!" she replied indignantly, "He learned it all by himself!"
Rufus was sitting down by now, looking very pleased with himself.
"Must be time to get up Hun," Clare said, as Steve rolled over to face her.
"Sounds like the Forester family is on the move."
"Aint that the truth," Steve said, resigning himself to the fact.
Breakfast was always something to behold at the Forester's house, and Rufus took it upon himself to direct the proceedings by barking at anybody who moved, which usually meant a lot of barking.
All the Foresters were in a hurry today, except Chris that is, who was the laid-back member of the household. Today, however, it was beyond his control, as Shelley had to be at school early for rehearsals, and mum was acting as chauffeur. Toast was eaten, coffee was spilled, and the breakfast table became a glorious mess. Kids and mom rushed out the door closely followed by dad, and Rufus had the house to himself. Pleased as anything he ran round the kitchen cleaning up everything edible that had fallen into his domain. This done, he took a turn around the house as if on patrol, and ended up back at his basket in the kitchen, where he settled down for a quiet nap.
Clare and the kids travelled at break-neck speed to get to school on time. Her years of doing field studies had prepared Clare well for city traffic: She'd been used to driving a big old four-by-four across very rough terrain, and at high speeds, whilst avoiding trees, rocks, assorted wild-life and other botanists. Her vocabulary had gained a few colourful phrases too, which came in handy for any city dwellers who had the gall to get in her way.
In what seemed like no time at all, they arrived at the school that both kids attended.
"Bye guys," Clare called out as Shelley and Chris jumped out of the car.
"Bye mom," came the joint reply as she sped off towards the university.
Steve was altogether more laid-back about life. He mainly drove at the speed limit, which drove Clare up the wall, but Steve had a different view on life to Clare. His aim was to achieve what he had set out to do, no matter what that might be, and to purposefully 'get there' at his own pace. Even old Vinkle couldn't shake Steve out of this life-long habit, and Vink' had tried.
Steve pulled into the security gate at the lab. "Hi Dave," he smiled, through the open window, as he passed his ID over for the security guard to examine.
"Good morning Dr. Forester, sure is a nice one."
"Yep, it's days like this that make me envy you your job, Dave. I have to be shut up in the lab all day in artificial light."
"Gee that's tough," Dave smirked as he waved Steve through.
The two men had gone through this same ritual, or something very close to it, for almost a year now. Steve had been at Star labs for just about that length of time, having moved from his last post to join the team here.
Steve's job was top secret, not even Clare knew what he was working on, but he knew she would approve had he been able to tell her. One day, everyone on earth would know about this, but for now, it had to remain secret.
Today was a big day for Shelley Forester. At ten years of age, she had a part in the school's latest drama production. Each year, the school put on a performance designed to enhance the kids' life skills, and this year it was big. For some time now, Mr. Sharp, the drama teacher, had had it in mind to do something really ambitious. He'd been teaching kids drama for 10 years, and each year he had been disappointed at the outcome. He was determined that situation would change this year, so he had chosen a particularly difficult play for the kids to perform, an adaptation of, "The Taming of the Shrew." He had even found the perfect kid to play the shrew, Shelley Forester, who seemed to have all the natural aptitude for the part. She certainly had the voice for it! Now if he could just find a kid who could tame her...
Shelley and Chris parted company in the school entrance hall, he going off to maths, and she to the sports' hall, where the rehearsals were to take place.
"Good morning Shelley," Mr. Sharp said as she walked in.
"Good morning Mr. Sharp," came the cheery response.
"We still don't have a male lead yet Shelley," Mr. Sharp told her, "I don't suppose you know of someone who might be right for the part, do you?"
"Well," Shelley answered somewhat slowly, "you could try my brother, Christopher, he's pretty good at acting, well he is when it's time to get up!"
"Hmm, Christopher, I hadn't thought of him," Mr. Sharp replied thoughtfully, "it's a tough part Shelley, do you think he could handle being shouted at for an hour?"
"O yes," came the instant reply, "I shout at him all the time so I expect he's quite used to it by now."
This remark drew titters from several of the other members of the company, who knew only too well just how much truth there was in what she had just said.
"OK," Mr. Sharp said, "I'll bear him in mind. Now, let's get on with scene two."
Maths wasn't Chris' favourite subject, but he could manage it without too much effort. The bell rang for the end of class, and Chris, aged twelve, and Simon his best friend, were heading for the drinks' machines in the school's entrance hall. It was there that they over heard some of the girls from Shelley's class giggling as they walked past, talking about Chris being lumbered with a part in the school play, and having to be shouted at by his sister for an hour. Chris and Simon stopped dead in their tracks, stunned.
"Did you hear that?" Chris asked, hoping his friend would say no.
"Yes, I did," Simon replied, and then added, "erm...Sorry," when he saw Chris' face.