After the end of the Cold War, America’s efforts in space exploration quickly declined. Some would say we no longer had competition to push us onward. Some say it wouldn’t be economically wise to devote such funding to space exploration. I know the real reason Uncle Sam’s eyes have turned away from the stars, and it’s got nothing to do with money. We no longer explore the stars because we discovered a truth we cannot bear to face.
My name is Kurt Ellenwood, communications engineer for the last manned mission to the moon conducted by NASA, Apollo 19. That’s right, 19. After the “final” Apollo mission, there were two more missions that were kept secret from the public, and with good reason. I only know what my superiors told me in regard to the 18th mission, but from what I understand, the goal of the mission was to explore the far side of the moon. Structures were found, circular metal structures each roughly half a mile in diameter and approximately 18 feet in height, arranged in a circular pattern around a large central spire. The structures lacked any sort of entry and the astronauts were not equipped to enter forcibly. Another mission was necessary in order to force entry and investigate the interior of the structures in order to discern their origin and purpose. That’s all I was told about Apollo 18, all details to follow I witnessed in the video and audio feeds we received from the astronauts of Apollo 19.
Radio communication with the far side of the moon is difficult. We needed to keep the shuttle in a lunar synchronous high earth orbit between the moon’s hemispheres so that we could use it to relay signals. Due to complications, the first hour after touch down we had only audio communications, not that there would have been much to see. The first hour consisted mainly of preparation, travel, and idle chit-chat between the two astronauts as they rode the 2 mile distance between the nearest of the structures and where the lander touched down. We were told their names were John and Tom, but I doubt those were their real names. On missions like this, everything is kept strictly need-to-know, even names. When we finally established video communication with the rover, the astronauts had just arrived at the first of the structures and were connecting the large acetylene and oxygen tanks to the cutting torch that they would use to cut through the hull of the structure.
From where the rover had been parked, the camera had a good view of the work area, as well as the spire and another of the circular structures in the distance. I was astonished by what I saw in the feed. I hadn't been told anything about their appearance beyond their physical dimensions, but I never expected them to be so...perfect! I had speculated that maybe the Russians built them, but seeing them now I knew there was no way these things were of human origin. They were the purest black imaginable, as black as space itself and perfectly smooth, almost featureless. It was difficult to tell where the buildings ended and space began, all save for the spire. It was no different from the other structures, just as black, just as smooth but it stood out from the blackness of space somehow...it’s hard to explain. There was a kind of distortion around it, extremely subtle. You probably wouldn’t notice it if you weren’t looking for it, but it was enough to make it stand out in the blackness. It reminded me of watching heat rise from the pavement on a hot summer day, but that couldn’t have been it, for the moon has no atmosphere to distort.
The Spire made the men uncomfortable, they did their best to keep it out of their line of sight as they worked. They said it felt like it was “in pain”. Some of my coworkers watching the feed agreed. As “Tom” attempted to cut though the strange black metal, “John” took readings on the structure and surrounding environment. The metal gave off no heat, even near the torch, and was entirely invisible to radio detection. It was later speculated that this was because the metal absorbed all electromagnetic frequencies, including visible light, which explains its perfect darkness. No unusual radiation was detected, except on the side facing the spire. John had the unfortunate experience of discovering this first hand instead of though his Geiger counter. Radiation sickness is a terrible thing, especially when the only place to vomit is your helmet. The readings were well above lethal, if the space suits weren’t heavily insulated against radiation, John would have been dead.
John laid on the ground for a while until he had recovered enough to make his way back to the rover. By this time Tom had made progress with the torch, but only barely. The metal was thick and absorbed most of the torch’s heat, making progress very slow. Tom had just breached the hull when the camera’s vision went white. At first, we thought it was glare from the sun but then we heard Tom screaming about a fire. Coming from the tiny hole Tom had made was a jet of white hot flame 6 feet long, so bright that it had blinded the camera 10 meters away. Shortly after, both men started screaming about voices. Neither the camera nor the com's were picking up anything other than the screams of the astronauts. The camera regained vision as the jet of flame emitting from the structure shortened and changed color to a bright blue. We tried to calm the men, but they just screamed and begged for us to help “them”. Before we got a chance to ask who “they” were, the entire room fell silent. Something was happening. The structure was opening. There was no door, but a part of the wall was opening, and what stepped out was horrifying.
It was seven, maybe eight feet tall and humanoid with grey, scaly skin. The scales on its back and legs protruded from its body and were long and thin, almost like short quills. Its legs had 3 joints below the hip and ended in what was something between a hoof and a talon. That was a much as I could take in before it moved on the astronauts. God it was fast. I’m not sure Tom even saw it before it crushed his head against the side of the structure. John was just beginning to round the side of the structure when the beast emerged so and had more time to run, not that it mattered. He managed to get few hundred feet before the beast closed the distance, just enough for the curve of the building to obstruct the cameras view of what happened to him. For that I am thankful. I’m not sure what it did to him, but I know from the screams on the com, the beast took its time.
The alien creature made its way back to hole and examined the cutting torch for a moment before digging its claws into the surface of metal around the hole and pinching it shut. The fire didn’t seem to bother it. Then it made its way to the rover. When we adjusted the camera for a better view the beast noticed the motion and began to examine the camera more closely. Before it pulled the camera from its stand, ending the feed. We got a better look at its head. It had horns and a long face, like a goat but larger. It had no cheeks, no nose, and no ears. Its teeth were long, pointed and uneven. It didn’t look like it was capable of closing its jaws completely, as its teeth did not lap nor did they intersect perfectly. It had a row of two eyes on either side of its head set deep in their sockets, but more disturbing than their count was their appearance. They looked strangely human.
A short time after the feed was cut, the shuttle was called back and the mission was ended. During debriefing we were told that the voices the men heard were hallucinations caused by extreme radiation sickness, and that further contact attempts with the creature, or creatures, have failed. Our scientists speculated that the structures are meant to absorb electromagnetic energy to power some form of fusion reactor or another unknown technology, which then transmits its energy to the spire and then across space in the form of focused rays of gamma radiation. Why earth’s moon was chosen or how long the structures had been there is uncertain, but its thought to be unlikely the alien creatures would cause humanity any problems for the time being, so long as we did not interfere with their operations.
No one believed it, and you could see in their eyes that the scientists didn’t either. It didn’t make sense. If light and radio waves is what they needed then why bother with the moon? Why not build on Venus, or Mercury, or their own moons? I don’t know where those machines are sending all that power, what they need doesn’t come from the sun, it comes from earth. We all saw them, the faces in the flame. We couldn’t hear the pleading voices over the com's because they weren’t speaking to the men’s ears. I think these aliens have been on earth her moon longer than any of us can imagine. Throughout history, what has been described as having the body of a man but horns of a goat? Maybe I’m thinking about this too much. Maybe my mind is just trying to connect the unknown with something I can understand. I’m not sure, but I think we were wrong when we thought we were exploring the heavens.