Spaceship Earth

It looked like a frozen white marble, rolling through an endless star studded sky, most of humanity dwelt low below the crust, it was warm there and they had all the energy they needed. But Anna had been sent to the Dome complex, it had been freshly repaired from a meteorite shower, once an atmosphere would have slowed the projectiles but no more. The domes were often damaged, they were getting better at safe guarding against it with air gaps between the tough clear layers of diamond.

Anna stared at the void and hugged herself, the pressure suit was chunky and rubbed in odd places but she was increadibly grateful for it. She was trembling slightly, all that nothing above her it was nauseating. She gave herself a shake and moved over to the central pillar, a metal tube which she entered via an depressurised chamber. Inside there were pictures of seas and sunsets, things Anna had never known, they looked pretty, but the thought of living on the surface under a sky filled her with fear. She climbed the stairs to the observertory at the top and took her tool box out.

Her focus was absorbed for a while with her tinkering, she knew how important this was, she had trained for this from 13 years of age. She gritted her teeth at a cross threaded bolt and sighed as it came free. Clicking her comms unit she spoke as clearly as she could, ‘it should be fixed’.

‘Confirmed come down here and we can remote it all’

‘Confirmed’ she muttered as she was already scrambling down almost scampering down into the tunnels beneath the layers of frozen atmosphere that enshrouded her home. It offered protection from the impacts but not as much as the rock cave citadels she had grown up in.

She popped down a hatch and emerged in the control center. Here pictures of animals that existed as nothing more than a string of numbers in a memory bank. Big black and white animals that looked as though they should be kids toys and large versions of cats. A real tabby sat curled on a chair – they were essential to hunt the rats, even with effiecient waste disposial the horrid things still lurked. They had swarmed and killed one of the early research teams. They weren’t like the sleek things found in the ponics amoungst the food and fibre crops. Those were quiet good eating and would even sit on your lap and be scritched between the ears. No these were viscous and had been getting larger.

‘Ah good Anna, help me with the recalibration would you? I need to read this report on the potential body.’ Anna nodded and headed straight to the console where she clacked away checking angles and was gratified to see the equipement slide smoothly into place.

‘Looks like we have a good ore ‘stroid here’ her supervisor announced.

‘How are we going to net it?’ She asked.

‘I think we can bring it into stable orbit’

Anna stared at one of the posters not really seeing. ‘You realise that you are increasing the impact risk with ever one we bring into orbit. We should finish the fountain and start processing them.’

‘Anna I know but we need to collect them when we see them. I want you to work out the route with an idea of changing teams on 65.’

She sighed, but consumed herself by beginning to work out the trajectories and gravity interplays. She was humming softly when the computer began to bleep at her. Her brow wrinkled when she saw what it was alerting her too.

‘We’re receiving a message,’ she said barely able to believe it.

Everyone stopped and looked at the blinking light, ‘that… that is not internal’

‘It’s probably just phantoms – our own signals bouncing around on all those asteroids we’ve netted.

Anna flipped it on feeling released and expecting nothing but static but a string of words flowed, they could not understand them but they were words, obviously words and obviously human.

‘no body panic, it may just be a vestige population we had not yet discovered and that we have just made contact with through the mining – it is after all nearly impossible to explore the entirety of the Earths interior, we only live in the out part for a start and there is plenty that the tectonics have made impassable. Yes that is what it must be.’ her supervisor sounded like he was trying to convince himself more than anything.

He sent a recording down to the linguists and they responded as best they could, ‘this is spaceship Earth, we are trying to decode your message, please hold.’

And it stayed quiet for almost 40 minutes.

‘Nemesis, there has been language shift but you should understand this. This is the Celestial Spheres of the Oort Cloud, you are far too clustered to risk entry into the debris field…. Earth sends greetings.’

A silence haunted the room of all it’s activity until Anna thought to respond. ‘We are Earth, who are you?’

‘You are Nemesis, roaming planet, Earth sends greetings… have you had regression?’

They all looked puzzled at each other.

‘Where on Earth are you?’ she asked in desperation.

‘We are the Celestial Spheres, we are no planet.’

‘You are not on spaceship Earth?’ she tried again.

‘No, we are the edge of the solar system, beyond us your atmosphere will melt, your domes are few, damage?’

‘Our… our atmosphere will melt?’ she squeaked.

‘You are the wondering planet, this happens, you have suffered regression, we shall send help.’ and they clicked off.

‘I can’t get them back!’ Anna wailed.

‘We aren’t Earth?’ someone whispered.

Anna knew what was coming next and dreaded it, they would need look outs in the domes, ‘do… do I let them in?’ she asked.

‘I don’t know.’ her supervisor said and she left to watch the skies she loathed.

Posted: Sunday, September 29th, 2019 @ 8:57 am
Categories: Flash Fiction, The Punks World.
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