Ashleigh Faresson stepped out onto her new land. She had found it; she technically now owned it and she would conquer it all over again if she had to.
She looked down at her scanner, which was flashing a violent red beam and uttering an annoying bleep; demanding to get her attention no matter what.
Atmosphere: 40% oxygen, the girl read. So she took off her space-helmet and shook out her bronze-coloured hair. Ashleigh used to get claustrophobic in the space suits, but over the years the team of moon-crazed scientists that she had captured and hired had managed to upgrade to a far sexier space-suit for her. Ashleigh knew it was Daddy’s money well spent.
Her dark cappuccino-coloured eyes surveyed the landscape that she had arrived on. The moon was a dusty and dark habitat but her research had shown that there would be some empty dirt houses around the place from settlers who were once here.
After a few minutes of trekking in the general direction that her sonic-compass read as North, Ashleigh found herself at the gate to one of those ancient settlements. Not a soul moved. There was no wind, no plants, no essence of life, just the grey remains of the lost civilisation.
As Ashleigh stood staring, a brightly-coloured beach ball floated towards her, the low gravity pulling it about half a metre from the brown ground. The girl herself was saved from this terribly imprecise gravity by the special space-boots she wore, each containing a magnet that was ‘tuned into’ the magnetic field surrounding the moon’s central core.
Ashleigh quickly glanced down at the object which had destroyed her peace of mind.
What an uncommon object to find on the moon, she thought, I wonder if the aliens who were here played beach-volleyball… that is, if they actually had a beach to play on…
Suddenly a man dressed as a janitor (or a cleaner as Ashleigh’s English predestined-to-be-a-gentleman cousin called them) stepped out from behind a dirt building. He had green patterned skin that reflected even the smallest glimmers of light. Ashleigh shielded her eyes from the radiant light coming from the grey-haired man. He looked out of this world and out of her imagination… And wasn’t all this meant to be hers, uninhabited?
“I think you’ll find that you’re taking my young nephew’s ball captive…” He grunted nasally.
A beach ball