This story first appeared in Issue 111 of the Power Star Fanzine, June 1997, published by the team of Jerry Seward And Kimberly Murphy-Smith (Editors), Walter M. Scott III, (Graphics Editor), J. Calvin Smith (Manuscript Editor) and Anthony Van Pyre (News Editor). Text taken from the fanzine. Story by Andrew Kear. In the paper version of the fanzine, this is a comic story.
This story is posted without the author's permission - with due acknowledgment - hoping to attract her attention. If you wish it to be removed, please contact the webmaster without any delay.
Date: May 5, 2001. Moonbase Alpha has come into contact with a gigantic planet. The planet is thousands, even a million times the size of Earth.
Incredible. The planet must be a million times the Earth's size.
According to my calculations, the planet is a million times the size of our Earth.
Suddenly, a tractor beam from the planet pulls Alpha into its atmosphere. The moon is pulled toward a strange-looking mansion. A city can be seen below; as it pulls closer, a magnificent palace looms in front of Alpha. Suddenly, the shocked inhabitants of Alpha find that the moon is now traveling down the hall of the mansion. The moon ends its bizarre journey by suddenly stopping in front of a giant being. The being studies it as if it were a science project.
Fascinating. There is a colony down there.
Suddenly, a giant head appears over Alpha.
Welcome, inhabitants of Alpha. I am Eros, the exalted leader of the planet Aron.
Eros' face appears on the main Alpha viewscreen in Command Centre.
We offer you a new life. Your moon is a perfect choice to become a museum piece to be studied by our people. In return, your moon will be given an atmosphere. Imagine... you can now venture outdoors, perhaps even start farming.
This is Commander John Koenig. Your offer is attractive, but we would like to have the privilege of having a choice to either leave or stay on Alpha.
You are an interesting scientific study for us. That is why we insist you must stay.
Eros shows them his vision of Alpha complete with fertilized land and running water.
John, this can hardly be called "enslavement". The Arons have offered us a moon with an atmosphere similar to Earth.
Yes, that's true, Helena, but they have given us no choice in the matter.
Suddenly, Koenig is beamed to the planet's surface to stand before the gigantic Eros.
Welcome, John Koenig. I am Eros. My job now is to show you around your new home.
Eros shows Koenig the display cubicles that contain many captured worlds. These worlds are for the most part inhabited asteroids, like Moonbase Alpha. Eros and Koenig stop in front of one particular display. Koenig looks through a microscopic device in order to see the planet's surface.
There's a city on that planet's surface!
Eros then shows Koenig the gravitational device used to capture the moon.
Koenig, this is the tractor beam we used to capture the various asteroids you see in our museum. Your moon was captured using this machine.
Fascinating. It's quite a mechanical and scientific achievement. How did you build such a thing?
Eros patiently answers Koenig's questions, not realizing Koenig is prying for more information so that he can determine how the device works. Koenig looks the machine over as Eros speaks.
Later, Koenig is given free time to roam around. He uses this time to head straight for the beam and attempt to operate it to free Alpha from its imprisonment.
The tractor beam is activated. From a monitor, Koenig watches the moon leave its display cubicle, drift down the hallway, and out into an elaborate garden.
The residents of Alpha take one last look at the gardens of Aron before the tractor beam propels them out of the planet's atmosphere. The moon is free.
Suddenly, Koenig is surrounded by guards. He is knocked down and dragged to the Aron court complex to stand before Eros.
Commander John Koenig, you are on trial for releasing the moon from our museum. What do you have to say for yourself?
Eros, you offered us paradise, but at the expense of personal freedom. All life forms around the universe should have the right to make their own decisions. You can't force us to be your guests.
A jury of Arons turns to Eros.
Perhaps the primitive beast is right. Personal freedom should be a universal law. Our verdict is not guilty.
Koenig, having been found not guilty, is beamed back to Alpha. He stands in Command Centre, facing a sad-looking Helena.
Don't worry, Helena. Someday we will find paradise. Perhaps the next planet we find will be the perfect paradise.