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The Treasure Of Purgatory Crater

The Treasure Of Purgatory Crater

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The Treasure Of Purgatory Crater

71 pages
1 heure
Dec 1, 2011


Something tragic has happened at Purgatory Crater on the far side of the moon. Three astronauts are dead and a fourth is trapped inside Purgatory Moon Base. Commander David Holtz, leader of the rescue and recovery mission, expects to confront the horrors of asphyxiation in the vacuum of space. But what he and his team find is worse than they could have imagined. As they piece together the chaotic puzzle, it becomes clear the survivor, George Dobson, has gone mad in his months of solo confinement. But is he really crazy? Or is he hiding a deeper, darker secret?

Dec 1, 2011

À propos de l'auteur

Thomas Patrick Hopp routinely imagines the unimaginable. He writes science fiction and mystery thriller novels that draw on his background as a scientist and scholar of the natural world in all its glory and terror. His stories have won multiple literary awards and garnered him a worldwide following. He is a member of both the Mystery Writers of America and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and served for several years as President of the Northwest Chapter of MWA. Tom is also an internationally recognized molecular biologist. He discovered powerful immune-system hormones and helped found the multi-billion-dollar Seattle biotechnology company Immunex Corporation. He advised the team that created Immunex’s blockbuster arthritis drug Enbrel. He developed the first commercially successful nanotechnology device, a molecular handle for manipulating proteins at the atomic level, which is used by medical researchers around the world to study human cells and every major microbe known to science.Tom’s NORTHWEST TALES are thrillers set against backdrops of disaster, whether natural or man-made. Earthquakes, eruptions, and epidemics are grist for these gripping adventures. Tom’s mystery stories follow Dr. Peyton McKean, a super-intelligent sleuth known as “The Greatest Mind Since Sherlock Holmes.” Viruses, microbes, and evil geniuses form the core of his opposition. Tom’s DINOSAUR WARS science fiction stories read like “Star Wars meets Jurassic Park.” Featuring laser-blasting space invaders and huge beasts from the past, they follow Yellowstone Park naturalist Chase Armstrong and Montana rancher’s daughter Kit Daniels, who struggle to survive in a world where dinosaurs live again. Most of Tom’s tumultuous adventures are suitable for readers young and old.

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The Treasure Of Purgatory Crater - Thomas P Hopp


Thomas P. Hopp

On the moon, oxygen is the most precious commodity. Without it, death comes quickly. But there are other things of value in the vastness of Luna—and other reasons to die.

Smashwords Edition copyright © 2011, 2015, 2020 Thomas P. Hopp










Three astronauts moved away from the lunar lander Athena burdened with supplies. They went abreast so their helmet beams could overlap and illuminate the pitch-black ground a little better. Outside the reach of their lights, the landscape was smothered in the inky black of the moon’s two-week-long period of darkness. Stars shining overhead in their millions offered scant help. Not a one of them twinkled, there being no atmosphere to enliven their deathly cold light. The horizon, miles away across the floor of Purgatory Crater, was no more than a rim of hummocks blotting out the stars with purer blackness.

The three sets of headlamps bobbed as the crew trudged the dusty quarter mile from the landing area to Purgatory Base, laboring heavily with the exertion of moving in bulky spacesuits while burdened with duffel bags of supplies and personal gear. No one said a word, but each of them could hear the percussive sounds of the others’ heavy breathing through communications headsets. The exuberance they should have felt at the opportunity to walk on the surface of the moon had been sucked out of them by their surroundings and the somber purpose of their mission.

The newcomers moved carefully in one-sixth gravity. Sure, the loads of supplies weighed less than they would on earth, but their inertia and momentum were the same. With feet treading the dusty ground lightly, their loads shifted in their hands, first holding back, then pulling forward, so that getting one step ahead of another without tripping was an art unto itself, and one you couldn’t rehearse before you got here.

In the center of the trio, Commander David Holtz glanced with growing apprehension at what lay ahead. More black silhouettes loomed against the stars, but these shapes were alien to this alien landscape. A cluster of angular forms, Holtz knew, were metallic habitation structures like those he’d trained in at a twin facility on earth. Six horizontal metal cylinders, each about the size of a railroad car, were arranged like wheel spokes half sunk into gray moon dust and conjoined at a seventh cylinder standing upright at the center. The horizontal cylinders were buried under a mound of moon dust that left only their outer ends exposed. The upper half of the central cylinder stood above the mound, but where a ring of observation windows should have glowed with interior light, there was only a black horizontal slot that occasionally glinted with headlamp reflections. Dimly, Holtz could make out two tall light poles that should have lit the entire base, but those were black as well.

It looks so…dead, Emma Jones, on Holtz’s left, puffed. This is giving me the creeps.

Me too, Pablo Ramirez, on Holtz’s right, wheezed. Can we take a breather? He stopped and let his two duffel bags fall slowly to the ground in one-sixth g.

Holtz and Jones stopped too and let their bags fall. For a moment, they stood in silence disturbed only by puffs of heavy breathing.

There’s supposed to be someone still alive here, right? Ramirez asked in Peruvian accented English. George Dobbs, or something like that?

Dobson, Jones corrected. Just George Dobson. And three…

Casualties, Holtz completed for her. Three dead in a lava-tube collapse, and one survivor, Dobson.

So, why’s this place so black? Ramirez wondered. It looks totally deserted.

It did seem like death might have claimed Dobson as well. Although the crew had radioed Dobson repeatedly as Athena approached and landed, the radio link from Purgatory Base had remained as broodingly silent as everything else about the place. Holtz was about to pick up his duffel bags and resume the trudge to the base when he spotted a dim shape in the dust a little distance to his right. The others followed the point of his headlamps and their combined lights brought something out of the darkness that made both Jonesy and Ramirez gasp.

Is that what I think it is? Jones asked, unable to hide a spooked tremor in her voice.

It’s a body, all right, Holtz left his gear and moved toward it.

What I wanna know is whose? Ramirez sounded edgy, too. Dobson?

That would explain why this place is silent as a tomb, Holtz said.

As they approached, they could see that the space-suited form lay face down in the gray dust, both hands clamped to the helmet’s faceplate.

They all stared in silence for a moment, then Holtz leaned and pushed one shoulder with a gloved hand, almost like he

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