By Anna Blackwell (January 2019, age 11)
Captain Wellhelm watched as his ship slowly reached the surface of the rocky planet Mars. The captain had been sent by the Council of Space Exploration to find the missing ship African Panda. So far the Council had the theory that the ship had crashed on Mars.
"We are now opening the boarding ramp, sir."
Captain Wellhelm spun his chair to the side. "Mister Lars, you have the bridge. I'll take Science Officer Sara and Mister Pat and Mister Steves."
The captain felt a wave of nervousness sweep over him as he descended down the ramp. Time flew by. There was still no sign of any life forms, until ...
"Sir, I am picking up something," said Mister Pat.
"Life forms?" said the captain, relieved.
"Hmmm ... no it ... let's see ... a sand storm."
"Range one point two kilometres."
"Buzzards!" said the captain.
They turned back but things got bad. Wind began to pick up speed.
"Sir!" said Mister Pat. "We'll never make it to the ship in time."
"Rats, that's the last thing we need," said the Captain.
"Sir, I see wreckage over there, maybe we can shelter in it," said Science Officer Sara.
"Good eye," the Captain said. Miss Sara always had backup plans for everything.
The door to the wreckage was stuck half open, but that did not stop Mister Steves. They got inside in the nick of time. They got the door closed just as the storm hit.
"Saved," said Mister Pat.
"That was too close," said Miss Sara.
"Yes, Mister Steves?"
"We aren't alone."
Suddenly they heard the sound of something moving.
"Quick, draw your blasters," said the Captain.
The noise came again.
"I'll check it out," said Mister Steves.
Miss Sara began to shiver as Mister Steves disappeared into the shadows. All was quiet until suddenly, like a clap of thunder, Mister Steves leapt out shouting,
"I got him, I got him!"
Muffled screams came from his victim. Captain Wellhelm and Mister Pat rushed over. To their surprise, instead of a Martian, it was a young Chinese boy.
"Let go of him, Mister Steves."
The Security Officer, Steves, let the boy go. Miss Sara ran over.
"Don't worry, you're safe. Now calm down and tell us what happened here."
Soon the boy explained that his name was Chang and he had been kidnapped from his family to work in the secret mines on Mars. One day when a major sand storm was coming he managed to run away and hide in the ruins of the dead space ship. By a miracle it was not blown away. Since that day he had remained trapped on Mars.
"Well, we get it all now," said Steves. "But kidnapping, that is illegal, those who did so will be hanged!"
"There'll be no need for that, Mister Steves," said the Captain. "The criminals must have died in the storm otherwise we would have found them by now.
When the storm ended they all headed back for the ship, but before they reached it ...
"Sir, some creatures are coming this way!" said Mister Pat, alarmed.
"Cartendons," said Chang.
Captain Wellhelm didn't bother to ask what they were for they sounded bad enough. Soon everyone was running as fast as they could but soon the sound of the creatures was quite near. The Captain could feel their hot breath on his neck. No matter how hard they ran the beasts seemed to be getting closer and closer. As they were overcome by the beasts, a ship out of the distance firing red-hot lasers. It was Captain Wellhelm's ship the Destrier coming to their aid.
"We're saved," cheered Miss Sara.
Once again the Captain's ship saved his life. Chang was soon delivered back to his family. But the criminal gang's bosses were still out there for Captain Wellhelm and his crew to catch. But that is another story.