The Return

By Daniel F. Beaupré


June 12, 2203

07:45 pm

Mr. President;

The object previously mentioned in my memo of February 12th has now been positively identified as being of artificial origin. Although still too far away to acquire positive visual imagery the object made our task somewhat easier by changing course. It did so in such a way as to exclude any natural means. Spectroscopic analysis has shown that chemical propulsion was used to change course. Projected course after change still does not bring the object near earth. We have no knowledge if the controlling agent of the object is aware of our presences but we must assume that it does.

I would suggest placing some units of defence on alert to be on the safe side.

D. Eigen

Sci. Advisor


August 2, 2203

02:25 pm

Mr. President;

As discussed earlier in our phone conversation the object is now heading directly towards earth. To be more precise it has a course and velocity at which will meet earth further on in earth’s orbit. The estimated point of encounter is 23 days from now.  Visual imagery is still unclear but again the object has made that task easier though the results don’t make much sense. The object has been broadcasting a looped message for the past 3 days telling us who/what it is. The message is in Russian. Following is a translation of that message

This is Cosmonaut Vladimir Andropov of the USSR (note: old name of Russian Federation) rocket ship Moon Beam. We are not dangerous. We are peaceful. We will be in orbit of earth soon. We ask for help in making landfall. Please respond.

No records exist of a ship with the name Moon Beam in any database, Russian or otherwise. Nor could we find a Vladimir Andropov in any way associated with space in any database.

We will discuss our response at the emergency council meeting tomorrow.

D. Eigen

Sci. Advisor


August 2, 2203

05:35 pm

Mr. President;

Some new data has just been uncovered by one of my staff (Julie Mgawa) who has a penchant for historic conspiracy theories and cover-ups. It is a hobby of hers to scour old data files looking for any information which does not match with standard historic texts. Her favourite subject of study is who really killed a 20th century entertainer. Marian Monrow I believe she said the entertainer was called. I have reprimanded miss Mgawa on several occasions for doing this during work hours and wasting office resources to do so. I now regret those reprimands. Here is a condensed version of her report to me.

During the mid 20th century the USA and the USSR were enemies. Both were in a race to get into space. The USSR were the first to do so. (Note: I know this is common knowledge but it is background for the rest of the data) The USA than pledged to be the first nation to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely. The USSR was also working on the same goal. This time the USA was first.

Here is where miss Mgawa’s cover-up data is important.

According to history the USSR never made it to the moon. They claim to have abandoned the effort after the USA succeeded. Rumours of failed Russian attempts were circulating for several years and after the break-up of the USSR some data was released that none had made it off the ground. One of those rumours concerned a ship called Moon Beam, cosmonauts Vladimir Andropov and Alexai Provnoi. It was said to have made it to the moon 2 years before the USA. Unfortunately it was never heard from again and it disappeared in Russian denials. 

It is impossible for this to be the same ship and crew after such a length of time, the crew alone would be over 250 years old by now, but the information is useful in helping us formulate a response. Also, what imagery we do have, though still unclear, does not match the shape of 20th century rockets.

D. Eigen

Sci. Advisor


August 25, 2203

01:02 am

Mr. President;

The object, now known as Moon Beam, has been intercepted and picked up by the cargo ship Crystal Cove. It is a privately owned cargo hauler normally operating on the earth moon route. As it has a very large cargo bay it was the best available ship to pick up an object the size of  Moon Beam. It was commandeered under council authority. A Russian interpreter was dispatched, along with a unit of Marines, to rendezvous with the Crystal Cove just prior to pick up.

As it turned out we did not require such a large ship. 9 hours before Moon Beam established orbit it split into 2 parts. The largest portion promptly made a course change and accelerated outwards at an unbelievable rate equivalent to 600 gravities. We are still analyzing the data. The portion that remained behind and that was picked up by the Cove appears to indeed be a 20th century Russian ship. Everything about it matches with historical data about such ships. Every detail down to the writing on the primitive control panels inside the capsule, as it was called then, fits with the cover-up data uncovered by miss Mgawa.

Everything but the crew.

As mentioned in a previous memo, the Moon Beam was crewed by two men. Vladimir Andropov and Alexai Provnoi. But when it was picked up there were three people on board. A man, a woman and a young male child of approximately 8 years. The man identified himself as Vladimir Andropov and said the others were his wife and child. He would not elaborate, no matter how often the interpreter returned to the subject, on these two or on what had happened to Alexai Provnoi. Nor would he explain his return after so many years.

I will forward any new developments as they arrive.

It would appear to be safe at this time to stand down the defensive units on alert.

D. Eigen

Sci. Advisor


June 10, 2212

03:30 pm

Re: Moon Beam

Mrs. President;

Let me be the first of the council advisors to congratulate you. I am sure you will make an excellent administrator.

I’m sure you are aware, as is every member of the council, of the Moon Beam mystery. You know that this was never solved. After their release from custody at the request of the Russian Federation council members the Andropovs(we never once heard them use her name) moved from country to country for several years before finally settling down on a small farm in Russia. They had lived there with little outside contact since. Other than a general store owner who delivered various item to them on a weekly basis they saw no one.

They are no longer there. Nor do I believe that they are still on earth.

On his last delivery the storeowner did not get an answer to his rings or knocks. The door was not locked so he entered to place their order in storage thinking they were away for a short while. Every item inside the house was gone. He rushed back to town and called the authorities. As anything about this is flagged automatically we rushed a team over before anything could be disturbed. Except for a letter found on the floor of one of the rooms the house was indeed empty. The letter answers some of our questions but creates others. Here is a translation of that letter.



To the peoples of earth;

My name is Vladimir Andropov. As hard as that may be to believe I am the same Vladimir who blasted off for the moon all those years ago. With me on that trip was cosmonaut  Alexai Provnoi. We had been picked after vigorous testing as the two best candidates to be the first to step on the moon. We were going to beat those arrogant Americans again. On a bright Monday morning in May we were strapped into the capsule and shot into space. The trip started out well. All was going according to plan.

The problem happened only in the last leg of the trip. When we were to alter our course for what was to be a minor correction a malfunction in the controls caused the main engines to engage. All our fuel for the return trip was expended in one burst with the ship headed away from earth.

Our situation was hopeless. We had very little reserve supplies. At the end of a week Alexai could not face the shame of failure or the prospect of a slow lingering death. He swallowed the yellow pill that had been supplied with our rations. He was dead in seconds. Though I was also afraid of a slow death I could not bring myself to take my own life. The last thing I remember from that point is feeling very sleepy.

I woke feeling healthy and refreshed. I was also no longer in the capsule. I was lying naked on the floor of a large room. The room was round and about 10 meters wide. It looked more like a clear bubble in a thick grey fog than a room. The floor or ground was smooth and somewhat spongy. Nothing else was visible all around.

I stood up to look around and to get a closer view of the walls but no matter how long I walked in any direction I could not get close to them. I was to learn later that the image of a clear bubble was pretty much right. After an hour or two had gone by I was starting to get hungry. A bump formed in the floor and out popped some brown cubes that smelled so good that I did not even think twice before stuffing myself with them. Only afterwards did I stop to wonder if I had just poisoned myself.

For what seemed like weeks all I did was walk, eat and sleep. At first I would call out hoping for any response but none came so I stopped. I alternated between thinking that I was dead and in heaven or dead and in hell. Just the fact that I had to eat and do those natural bodily functions that come some time after you’ve eaten convinced me that I was still alive.

Finally, after I had given up all hope, a voice spoke to me from somewhere beyond the fog walls. It explained that it was a group of beings from far beyond our galaxy. They had been passing in this section of space when they spotted my ship. I was barely alive when they picked it up out of curiosity. They placed me in stasis and analyzed my body to determine its needs for survival. It took them months to heal me and more months to modify their ship to accommodate me. The clear bubble was a force field centred on me. It was designed to supply me with breathable air out of the fog that they breathed since I could not survive one second in their atmosphere. It had taken them all the time since I was awake to be able to communicate with me.

The first thing I asked was to be returned home. They answered that they had every intention of doing just that as soon as they were in that region of space again. They could not or would not be more precise as to when that would be. Their answer to that request was always “yes, we will do so later”.

Weeks, months and years past with only the disembodied voice for company. They were very curious about me and about my race. They were beings with a group mind. Several hundred of them together were needed to function at an intelligent level. It took them many years to finally accept that I was alone and not somehow communicating with my fellow humans back on my planet. I admitted to them that I indeed missed the company of other humans enormously but that a human could survive by himself without major problems. This statement is, I believe, the one that triggered their next move.

By now I had been with them for approximately 100 years. They were able to keep me from aging by placing me in stasis for a month and rebuilding my body at various intervals. I would never know just when they were going to do this. I would just go to sleep and wake up a month later feeling more refreshed than is usual for a night’s rest.

This time when I woke up there was a woman lying next to me. She seemed to be sleeping peacefully. I studied her while she slept and I had a distinct impression of having seen her before though I could not place where. Only when she woke and opened her eyes did I know who she was.

I woke up and saw me looking at a woman looking at me looking at a woman looking at me…. I closed our eyes but that didn’t help as we could hear myself breathing from two sets of lungs. I could not separate ourselves. My thoughts were running in parallel in two bodies. She looked familiar because she was me.

This took a long time to get used to but eventually I did. I was now one person, one mind, in two different bodies. The beings explained that they wanted to ease my loneliness by building me a companion. They again analyzed my body and determined the natural type of mate required from my DNA. They could build a female body with a brain but could not create a mind from nothing to put in it. So they adapted a bit from their own genetic make-up copied me into her and left the two copies connected as one.

It took me at least a year to learn to walk properly with two independent bodies. One or the other of me would trip and fall if I wasn’t careful. But, like I said, I eventually did get used to it and over the years it felt like this was the way I always was. I think I may have been helped along while I was in stasis for rejuvenation but I never wanted to ask for some reason.

I never told them that this changed nothing for my loneliness for fear they would create more of me. Two of me was more than enough.

A normal healthy adult male has certain natural urges that, when he is alone, he can sometimes ignore. More often he takes matters in hand and eases those urges himself. I was able to ignore these urges while I was alone but now I was racked by dreams that sometimes even flowed into my awake mind. I felt that there was something very wrong about what I was thinking of doing but think of it I did. And succumb I did. I cannot describe how it felt other than to say that nothing I had ever experienced even came close.

I never thought out the consequences of my acts and I was rather shocked when told that I was pregnant.

Pregnancy is horrible. Why is that? I have never respected mothers more than now.

My child was born while I was in stasis so I was spared all the things that I had heard happened at that point. He was a beautiful baby but most important of all he was an individual. Not linked to me in any way other than normal parent child links. I was not now in three bodies and this relieved me immensely. I loved my son more than life itself.

He was in his eighth year when we were advised of our approach of Earth. They had said all along that they would drop me off at my home soon. They just have a different concept of soon.

They gave me an exact duplicate of my ship and equipment, as well as a suit for my son and my other. I recorded the message that you received and the rest you know.

The last thing I was told before they left was that if I wanted to be picked up again they would happily return. All I had to do was think it. I believe they have installed some type of undetectable transmitter in my head. It seems that they really enjoyed my company.

I thought at first that I would never want to call them back and nor did I for several years. We traveled all over the world looking for a place to fit in but we never found one. We eventually settled on a small isolated farm and made the call. It took them a while to get here again but now they have arrived.

I must go now. Perhaps someday I will return, or we will meet out there. Who can tell?

V. Andropov


The End

Copyright © 2001 by Daniel F. Beaupré

Bio:Daniel Beaupré lives in a suburb of Montreal, Quebec Canada with his wife and daughter. The real owners of his house seem to be the cat and dog that live there also. He loves to read science-fiction and fantasy and has found that writing it can be as much (if not more) fun.



Visit Aphelion's Lettercolumn and voice your opinion of this story.

Return to the Aphelion main page.