IT EMERGED OUT OF DEEP SPACE. A tiny point of light that, over the coming weeks and months, resolved itself into a chunk of rock. An asteroid that grew bigger by the day. Excited Astronomers sat up and took notice. They directing Hubble to that corner of space, and people began to watch, to assess, and to calculate. Smiles and cheers, it would plunge into the heart of the gas giant, Jupiter. But, as the asteroid closed in on the red giant, scientist around the globe watched in surprise.
The rock adjusted its path and vector. And, instead of plunging into the mysterious depths of Jupiter, in the manner of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, it defied the laws of physics. In a manoeuvre reminiscent of one that every school child knew. One seen countless of times in NASA simulations. It whipped around the planet on a new heading.
The asteroid tumbled its unhindered way past Mars. And headed our way with only one earth-ally, the Moon, standing between us and what scientists were now predicting as an Extinction Level Event.
Having calculated the weight and density, having mapped the surface with NASA’s latest space-born gadgets. Having peered at it through the Hubble telescope and x-rayed it with Chandra, Scientists declared that the comet would hit the North American continent somewhere close to Des Moines, Iowa. The unthinkable was about to happen.
“It will smash into the earth resulting in a huge explosion,” one idiotic Fox news-reporter commentated live on-air the next night.
Such a simple word the dictionary describes as: ‘a sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behaviour‘.
Humanity was about to taste the bitter kiss of destruction, and possible extinction, from a hunk of space debris. One way or the other, everyone was of the opinion if it was aliens; they were invading. If it was a self-thinking chunk of rock. It was invading.
Conclusion? Either way we were all going to die.
And then it happened …
The rock took up polar orbit.
Around and around it went. Day after day, for weeks on end. It was as if the rock were mapping the terrain below—or surveilling us, some said—with each successive revolution around our planet.
We beamed things at it. There was no response.
We hailed it on all frequencies. There was no answer.
We even sent up a probe or two and then, because we hate the unknown, fired missiles at it. They all missed.
Finally, after eighteen months of bickering among Nations, we sent up a manned mission, via the Space Station, to check it out.
That’s when everything went silent. I mean, everything. No radio, no TV, no internet; no communications whatsoever across the entire planet. Zip. Nil, nada.
No planes flew, no trains moved, no cars, trucks or mechanical transport of any kind work. Everything just stopped. Hospitals, school, government; they all went dark when all the lights went out.
The Military? Forget it. Grounded and as silent as the rest of us.
Once the rioting subsided. Once the carnage, death, and looting stopped. We began to gather. We began to gather in crowds in any open spaces, wondering what might be next.
And now? We sit here, we sit here and we wait. What else can we do. Life as we knew it has gone, changed forever.