|The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun|
The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun (2009) by Christopher Mahoney is an award-winning fiction book about the extraterrestrial adventures of an 11-year-old boy named Zack Goodspeed. The book won an Honorable Mention in the 17th Annual Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards and was a semifinalist in Amazon's 2010 Breakthrough Novel Awards. The book was released in a limited-run Advance Review Copy on May 2, 2008. The final book released on May 2, 2009, and included an exclusive epilogue and 39 original illustrations from Chicago-based artist Rudy Hall.
The book follows the adventures of 11-year-old Zack Goodspeed, a "normal kid" who slowly unlocks a series of secret inventions created by his not-so-normal grandfather, Fyodor. Professor Fyodor Confucius Goodspeed has invented a source of unlimited power, called the Onyx Sun, hidden in the fairly innocuous shape of a by 5-foot-wide, by 5-foot-long black cube. No sooner does Zack discover the Onyx Sun, than his grandfather disappears into the woods behind his house. Enlisting the aid of his next door neighbor, a rebellious orphan named Angelina "Max" Maximillian, Zack plunges into the woods in search of the Professor.
Soon, the two discover a secret passage into an underground cavern where the Onyx Sun is being fitted into a massive spaceship called the Onyx Pioneer. They also quickly learn that the ship is bound for the Moon with intentions of colonizing humanity's first permanent settlement. Zack and Max stowaway on the ship just before it takes off.
Hiding out in the ships labyrinthine air ducts, the two overhear an officer of the crew, named Dr. Ian Machvel, planning to steal the Onyx Sun. Zack and Max make Professor Goodspeed aware of their presence, but too late. Machvel and his insurgents attack the Power Tower, the Onyx Sun's lair, and succeed in stealing it.
The entire crew is thrown into jeopardy as all life support systems rely on the Onyx Sun. They have no choice but to begin colonization efforts in the mad hope they can finish their self-sustaining base before either life support runs out, or Machvel returns to wipe out the few remaining survivors. Zack and Max meanwhile, fall in league Sanjay Soon, the intellectually gifted 10-year-old son of the officer who takes over Machvel's vacated post on the Engineering Team. Sanjay introduces Zack and Max to the many inventions Professor Goodspeed has concocted to aid in the colonization of the Moon. Onyx Airstriders are four-seat jets, almost like miniature versions of the Onyx Pioneer. Dozers whip around the lunar surface prepping the Aitken Crater where they have landed for the building of their permanent base. Most impressive of all are Mech Leviathans, towering behemoth robots, each powered by a miniature version of the Onyx Sun. These lumbering giants serve as the main construction bots of the base.
Zack shows an early aptitude for piloting Mechs in the Mech simulator, and gets his chance to drive a real one when the trio stumble upon Machvel spies attempting to sabotage the early base construction. Professor Goodspeed is thankful Zack and his friends have saved them once again but is also irate they took such risks to do so. He confines them to the Academy, the educational institution for the ships children where Zack is introduced to Memo Files, bursts of cerebrally uploaded content that teach Zack a year's worth of a subject in seconds.
Soon however, Zack, Max, and Sanjay discover a new plot by Machvel spies to destroy the Onyx Pioneer. Foiling these usurpers with whatever means they can, the trio is soon caught off guard and Zack is captured. He wakes an hour later in a dark pyramid on the other side of the Moon. Dr. Machvel appears and reveals his ultimate plan: a specially built rocket emerges from a silo in the Moon's surface. Embedded in the rocket is the pilfered Onyx Sun. Machvel explains how he has harnessed the unlimited power of the black cube to create a weapon that will wipe out all human life on Earth, while leaving most of the infrastructure intact so he and his minions may repopulate the species with their own kind.
Zack struggles to free himself, but in vain. Just as Machvel launches the rocket however a Mech thunders overhead in chase. It is Angelina with Commander Chase, the primary executive officer under Professor Goodspeed. They race toward the rocket and reach it just in time. They split it in two, destroying the rocket and freeing the Onyx Sun. Their race past the pyramid has cracked the glass and Machvel and his forces abandon the base. A group of Airstryders shoot into the silo vacated by the rocket and soon a small force from the Onyx Pioneer, led by Professor Goodspeed, find and save Zack.
Some time later, the crew is assembled in Professor Goodspeed's quarters to inaugurate the opening of their permanent colony, the Citadel Spire. Max reveals that, as an orphan, she doesn't have anything to go home for. She elects to stay under the watchful tutelage of Commander Chase. Zack, however must return home. He loads into the Onyx Pioneer with his grandfather and the two travel home.
The Professor drops him in a baseball field by his house, where some bullies who usually bother Zack witness the Onyx Pioneer and run away screaming. Zack returns to his house. His parents are thankful he is home, but refuse to believe his story when he tells them truthfully where he has been. They send him to his room. Later, his mother comes up and concludes that although she doesn't believe his tall tale, that she would rather see him grow up a wild dreamer than to grow up without an imagination.
Zack wishes her goodnight, climbs under his covers, and falls asleep watching the silvery silhouette of the Moon rising on the horizon.