Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
TITLE: Operation Jerusalem
By Marty Wellington
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It had been several thousand years since Haala’s ancestors had settled her home planet of Bethel. They came with stories of a wondrous land and a mysterious God who created all things. Their faith in this one God had been unshakeable and Haala’s people embraced its message of love and eternal life.
Haala hit the intercom button to her husband’s sleep chamber. “Jairus . . . Jairus”
“Huh . . . mmmm. Yes.”
“Honey, I think you’d better get up and see this analysis. We have a possible match with the third planet in System 98675, Z Quadrant.”
Jairus wasted no time. Pulling on yesterday’s clothes and his work boots, he rushed down the hall to the hyper-lift that ran from the lower deck to the cockpit. Before Haala knew it, her husband was at her side reading the computer’s analysis.
“This is exciting, Haala. The third planet shows signs of habitation. The atmosphere is hydrogen and oxygen based, though slightly low in oxygen. The sun in this system is very weak. There is evidence of technology. I don’t have enough information to evaluate whether life is present. The computer is still scanning the surface. It could take many hours before everything is complete. Why don’t you go get some rest?
“Oh, Jairus. In fourteen years of searching, we haven’t found a match this close before.”
Jairus looked over at his wife. Her grey eyes nondescript, almost lifeless. He worried that the strain of their journey was taking its toll on her health. “Let’s give this planet to our Father.”
Tenderly, Jairus took his wife’s hand and led them in a prayer to the mighty God of Terra. Haala’s hand went limp in his, her shoulders relaxed. She released her disappointment and weariness.
Haala’s tired eyes registered gratefulness and relief to her husband. “Thanks, dear.” She rose, walked behind Jairus, and wrapped her arms around his shoulders in a loving embrace. He tilted his head, eager for her kiss.
“I’ll see you in eight.”
The hours passed quickly for Jairus. He devoured the data as it rolled across his monitors for with each bit of information he felt sure that this planet was Terra.
His mind began to wander back to the purpose of their explorations. When he left, Bethel had been in chaos. The people had lost their way, their faith, and their God. Many began to doubt the stories of their ancestors and the lessons brought from Terra thousands of years ago.
It had been nearly 15 years since he and Haala had launched their ship, Judah, along with 11 other teams (representative of the ancient tribes of the Hebrews) for the purpose of Operation Jerusalem. It was their purpose to find the planet of their origins to give hope to the people of Bethel and prove the existence of their God.
Both of his boys, Jaidan and Terran, were born in the confines of this ship, having never enjoyed the company of other children or the joy of climbing jabaar vines in the jungles of Kidron. Jairus smiled at that happy memory of his own childhood.
After 12 hours, Jairus woke his wife and sons from their sleep cycles. He had decided to land on the planet and he would need everyone.
“Haala, while I believe the planet is dying or dead, there are signs of a once vibrant population on the surface. Upon careful analysis of Judah’s data, I have decided to center our search on the most ancient of ruins located near this large crater, here.” Jairus pointed out the region to his family on Judah’s primary computer monitor.
The small family emerged from Judah, stepping into a lifeless landscape. A fierce wind swirled dust in cyclone clouds. Jairus moved his family onward toward a line of square stones standing as sentinels atop the nearest hill.
They climbed the mount and crossed the stone barrier. An eerie stillness overtook the family and they fell prostate in worship.
The lost remnant had found its way home to Jerusalem—the city of peace.
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