Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Doomsday Man (Sci-Fi)


The atomic clock continued to tick away faster than a speeding bullet. Hours had past since Major Thomas B. Jeffry of the United States Air Force decided to take the necessary action. It could have been minutes, for Major Jeffry had no time to waste on the trivial. He had taken on a new direction, a course that would consume him from now until completion. Major Jeffry stared into the endlessly gray horizon. Would it be the correct decision? Major Jeffry continued to ask himself over and over again. If he made the correct decision, mankind would be saved from complete destruction. If he made the incorrect decision mankind would be doomed. For Major Jeffry this day would live in the hearts and minds of all mankind for years, if not generations to follow. He was hoping it would not be mankinds' last memory.

Like many pioneers before him, Major Jeffry looked upon this task as just another mission. He could hear the journalists' headlines, "Mission to Mars: Back On and Full Steam Ahead". Many would scoff at the excessive amounts of money being spent on the Mars mission. Yet the journalists would not know the true meaning of the mission. This would not be Orbiter taking a few pictures of the martian landscape. This would be a mission that would save mankind's very existence. The future of man's survival would depend on the success or failure of the mission. History would write its last farewell or its brand new beginnings. The mission: to populate the Mars landscape with humans as a last ditch effort to ensure the future of mankind. This mission
would only take a year from start to finish. A year, 35 hours and 12 minutes was all that was left of planet earth. The near miss asteroid A35 was miscalculated as a near miss asteroid. In fact the new calculations renamed the asteroid. Doomsday asteroid A35. This asteroid had planet earth's name on it and the only way to survive was to escape planet earth as soon as possible.

Recalling the earlier Mercury and Gemini missions of the early sixties, the NASA scientists decided to use the more successful three person Apollo model. They had landed on the moon! And lived there! For three days! Apollo would be retrofitted to the new mission. Apollo was the ancient Greek god of Flight. Man was meant to fly and live on Mars! In the wildest dreams of men, no one would ever believe it were possible. Today, Mission Mars was not only possible, but inevitable. Mars would become the future Earth of mankind. Would mankind remember Earth? Would Mars survive? What else could be done? Nothing. This was earth's last chance, and man's too. Perhaps the earth could be repopulated in the future. Maybe not. We would never know. Major Jeffry had to get down to business, and fast!

Looking into a mirror, Major Jeffry could see the worn worry lines etched deeply into his forehead. Another mirror version was his son, Anthony Jeffry. When looking at his son, Major Jeffry thought that he was in fact looking at himself twenty or so years earlier. Major Jeffry's face relaxed when he watched his son running around the track in the military gymnasium. Anthony had been trying to make the mile in three minutes. Tony, as his friends called him
had been in practise for the space mission for the past six months. He wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. His father always kept a watchful eye on his son's career. Today he would be giving him the mission of a lifetime.

It did not take long before Tony was approached by two men dressed in dark suits and sunglasses. "Oh G-Men again! What did I do now!", Tony thought to himself. Appearing self-confident was natural for Tony. He had good genes. Tony took a deep breath and said to the two masked men; "Ok, I will go with you! Do you feel like a little sushi?". The two men did not crack a smile as they said "Could you please come with us?". Tony always tried to make light of difficult situations, this was probably due to his military training or his upbringing or something special about him.
The three men went outside to a waiting military HUMVEE. Tony blurted, "You guys have class!" as he pointed to the HUMVEE.

Inside the HUMVEE's darkened windows Tony could barely see the outline of a airforce uniform. Tony felt an immediate connection to that uniform. It was his dad! How did the Major get to Boston so quickly? Tony's studies had brought him to MIT the Institute of Technology to complete his doctorate studies in earth's gravitational field. His dad, although retired, was brought back to Florida's Cape Kennedy for unknown reasons, until now. "Yes, Major, Sir" said Tony to his dad in the backseat of the HUMVEE. "No need for formalities Tony." Major Jeffry said calmly. "Yo papa man, what's happening" was Tony's joking remark. "Although we lose the formality of speech today, Tony, we have a serious mission for you to study" said the Major. "You will be debriefed in the base missions room". Tony's eyes widened as he looked back and forth at the G-men and then back at his father. Something was definitely up, but what thought Tony.

It did not take long before the HUMVEE pulled up to the gated base's guardhouse. "Go right ahead, Sir" was the command of the guard. Soon a group of the world's most powerful men and women were seated in the briefing room.
Tony's eyes got wider and wider as his amazement grew and grew. "This is serious stuff" thought Tony amusingly. The podium was soon taken by the General of Special Missions, General Daniel T. Baker. The general spoke in a deep and meaningful voice. "Today we have finalized the Mission to Mars, all is go for the projected lift off of Mars Habitation Mission". Tony took a big gulp. "What were they talking about 'habitation'? Tony thought to himself The general saw Tony's eyes popping out of his head and said to Tony, "Captain Jeffry, you do realize that the earth is on a collision course with Doomsday asteroid A35?" Tony turned ghastly white and could not mutter a word from his dry mouth so he shook his head in disbelief. "Son, this information is being witheld from the public and most military personnel for national security reasons" the general continued; "This is our last chance for mankinds survival. We must populate Mars within the year. I know this is a lot to digest at once." Tony asked to be excused from the meeting and headed for the bathroom. He felt the world spinning beneathe him and then he passed out.

The Saturn five rocket was ready for deployment. Its gigantic structure could be seen for miles across the Florida everglades. A thing of beauty and a marvel of technological skill. NASA had pulled all the stops and
invested billions in the newest technology. Onboard computers were more sophisticated than HAL from 2001. In fact HAL looked like old school. NASA wanted to send three person Apollo on the Mars Habitation Mission because it needed to have two men and one woman for repopulation purposes. Of course the public was not aware of this fact even though it was only 2 months until countdown would begin. Countdown to the future, and the last time the world would see the faces of the astronauts whose children would populate the red planet. While the astronauts would be taken off into space, earth was waiting for the final assault of doomsday asteroid A35.

Captain Jill Sanders could have been a mission specialist in the earlier space shuttle missions, but she chose to pilot the Apollo. Jill was unaware of the missions purpose until today. After meeting Jill three months ago at the NASA cafeteria, Tony thought she was hot. It was not long before he realized she was hot and smart. Without too much fanfare Tony and Jill became an item. They were in fact head over heels in love with each other. However, their professional careers did not allow much socialing. Jill was in the trainer most days and after that hours in the computer room. Tony was running laps and trying to stop himself from thinking about the project that had engulfed him mind, body and spirit. Today it was Tony's turn to tell Jill of the true nature of the Mission to Mars. Tony was beginning to feel faint again. He sucked back his gatoraid and told Jill he wanted to speak with her in private.

Jill said "I knew it, I knew the earth was doomed!" after Tony had debriefed her about the missions true purpose. "But how did you know?" inquired Tony. "That's easy, silly! You forgot! I am an amateur astronomer and I had sent in the projected flightpath of that bummer asteroid!" "No kidding" was all that Tony could manage to say. "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. Besides it won't be long before Mr and Mrs. Joe Public will figure it out. The asteroid is getting quite large and anyone with a Grade Nine class in trig could figure out the earths a goner!". Tony liked the way Jill could laugh in the face of disaster. Without that personality trait the Mission to Mars would be doomed. "So I guess I better like you and Trent, because it looks like I will be having kids with at least one of you!" Tony doubled over holding his stomach and laughed a deep belly laugh.

repost Dec 02/08 from docs chiccoreal

Trent Abbott had been Tony's partner in flight school. He would be second in command. Trent could man an Apollo capsule with his hands tied behind his back. Trent was briefed about the Mars missions purpose and his reaction was typical of his Mensa IQ. "OK when is takeoff scheduled?". Trent possessed brain and braun, but unlike Tony did not have much of a sense of humour. It was hard to believe that Tony was actually looking forward to the mission. If only he could get out of the back of his mind the doomsday part, this would be a kick of a mission. Tony always looked ahead and did not look behind. His motto was "you can't go home again". Tony would prove this motto in the not so distance future, as NASA had countdown started at T-minus 2 weeks, 33 hours, 12 minutes, 46 seconds.

NASA did not have the option of cancelling the projected takeoff date. Mission control was trying to advance the project as the weather could not affect the scheduled mission. This mission could not be scraped. All felt confident of man and machine. Today would be proof of that fact. Within hours Mission Mars would be just another memory, maybe a last memory of the earth's inhabitants. The mission take-off would take place exactly three months before the asteroid hit and this would give enough time for the three astronauts to establish themselves on the martian surface. The incredible amount of work that had been pulled together for this mission was beyond the human spirit. Tony received a special medal from the president. It had an eagle holding a laurel leave with the inscription "Where NO Man Fears to Tread". Tony knew the meaning behind the metal and took up the cause. Stating to the applauding public "Today is the first day of the last of our lives, lets make it last and lets recreate our future on mars" The audience roared as the Saturn Five rockets blasted through the clear Florida skies.

"The eagle has landed" Tony blurted out three months after the initial takeoff. Looking outside at the dusty landscape Tony thought, "It looks a little bit like Arizona". The other two astronauts looked around in disbelief. "What is that?" Jill exclaimed. It looked like a massive, planet looming overhead. In unison the astronauts turned to look up at the huge blue ball in the martian sky, Tony realized that it was in fact Planet Earth! "What? I didn't know I was pulling the planet out of gravitational field!". Tony exclaimed. In fact NASA deliberately forgot to inform Tony and the rest of the crew that they were in fact testing a new technology called magnetic laser resistance or MLR for short. totally new and untested. Yet here was earth, comfortable in the gravitational field of it's planet sister. "Houston, we have a problem" Tony blurted. "We have a hitchiker". NASA replied. "It is time to come home to planet earth and be debriefed." Tony grabbed the two and screamed and shouted into the microphone, "We're coming home, Dad!" The Major joyously joined rank "Good job Eagle! Time to pack your bags, you are coming home!" Major Jeffry took pride in his work, both of project MLR and his son, Tony.

In the dark sky where planet earth once rotated was a huge explosion as the moon was lite on fire. A huge roar could be heard from the place where the earth once stood. All fell silent. On the new planet earth much merriment and woops of happiness. It seemed as though Planet earth was a huge spaceship after all! Oct 05 - original doc chiccoreal repost 2 dec 08

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