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Off Orbit - Chapter 2

Jack

By Mohammed DarasiPublished 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 7 min read
5
Created using Nightcafe AI

Everyone in the station was present, surrounding the main screen. The screen had the Astro-Con logo hovering for now, and everyone was just sitting and talking amongst themselves. Speculating on what the meeting is going to be about.

“Hello everyone”. The screen came to life, showing the Chief of Operations at Astro-Con, Commander McPherson. “Thank you for taking the time to join me here. This is a very important meeting, and I needed-”

“AAAAHH!-”

Everyone became quiet and looked in the same direction. Jack was sitting on the floor, wide-eyed with a horrified look on his face.

He looked at all the faces around him. “What the fuck is going on right now?!”

“JACK!” the all too familiar voice of Johnson cut through the silence. “STOP MESSING AROUND AND SHUT UP!”

Jack instinctively stood up straight.

“As I said, this is very important, so it’s all hands on deck” the chief continued.

“Last night we were contacted by the World Federation Navy in our emergency line. They’ve informed us that an unknown object was discovered travelling at high speed, heading towards SM-366”. Many in the common room gasped.

“As of yet, they haven’t determined the nature of this object, only that it is heading towards this moon. The reason we’re having this call is because-”

Jack tuned out of the meeting. He was dumbfounded at how he was standing there. He thought of all the possibilities; maybe he ate something. Crocker always has those anti-anxiety meds lying around, and he probably ate one by accident and it made him loopy. “Yeah, that has to be it...” Jack whispered to himself.

The WFN liaison was now speaking. “...the Gallant 211, and its crew, have been activated as emergency responders under Clause 2.101.33 of the WF Space Safety Directive, to intercept and divert the incoming celestial object, currently known as ‘Object X’, to prevent the destruction of SM-366 and its inhabitants.”

***

“Hey boss, can I quickly head to the infirmary before we head off?” Jack said

“Well, that is something I never thought I'd see! The resident troublemaker is actually nervous?!” Johnson was having way too much fun with this.

“I’m serious”

“Yeah, whatever. It’s better than you messing around when we’re loading up anyway. Go ahead, but be at the Gallant by 0840, or I’ll come hunt you myself”

“I’ll be there” Jack replied and headed off immediately.

Johnson stood there looking at Jack’s back for a few seconds. He really thought Jack wouldn’t be fazed by anything. “I guess everyone has their limit”

***

“Everything looks fine to me, Mr Manson”

“Are you sure?” Jack asked.

“Yes. I've done a complete blood analysis, and all looks good.” The doctor continued, “Perhaps it's nerves? I mean, what you guys are about to do isn’t exactly in the handbook.”

“huh?” Jack was spacing out. “No, it’s okay,” Jack stood up and started walking out. “Thanks, doc. I'm heading out now.”

***

“So, if we take the winch from here, and connect it to this side of the craft, do you think it’ll hold?” Johnson was speaking with a few of the crew before laying out the plan for everyone.

“Yeah, it should,” Oscar replied, “after I extract the core from the power cells, I'll assemble them into a metal frame which should be strong enough to hold them all up with the winch.”

“'Should be' isn’t very reassuring,” said Sarah.

“Yeah, well, nothing about this whole thing is very reassuring,” replied Johnson. “I’ll go over the plans again and talk to everyone in 30 minutes. You’re dismissed.” With that, everyone left to do their own thing.

“Boss-”

“Jack, what’s up. Got the shits now?” Johnson said while chuckling.

“Ha Ha” replied Jack sarcastically. “No, I wanted to volunteer to go out with you and move the winch.”

“No, it’s fine. I'm thinking of taking Sarah, she’ll be far more helpful. If I take you, I bet I'll be doing it alone while you admire the space view.”

“I’m serious. I’m the mechanical engineer here, so I'll be faster and more efficient.” Jack needed to do this.

Johnson looked up from the ship’s blueprints and looked at Jack. He seemed more serious than he had ever seen him.

After a few moments, Johnson sighed. “Alright, that’s fine,” he threw his pen on the table and pointed at Jack menacingly “but you better take this seriously, don’t make me regret this,” he said.

“Of course, boss.”

“Alright, good.” Johnson turned around and clicked a button on the console. “Everyone, listen up” his voice projected across the ship. “We’re not soldiers, so don’t think of it that way. We’re just placing an explosive on a coordinate. Nothing we haven’t done a million times before”

“Not exactly the same... lives of millions aren’t always in our hands.” Said Oscar.

“Yes, that is true” seconded Yuri.

Let’s just drop this thing off and get it over with.” huffed Johnson. “Oscar, how’s the cell coming?”

“It’s coming. Slowly dismantling it so that, you know, we don’t all die in a nuclear explosion.”

“heh” laughed Johnson nervously.

“I still need the power calculations from Ali, or we won’t get the explosion needed”

“Alistair, did you hear that?” Johnson diverted his attention. “Alistair?”.

“He probably took out his comms. He does that when he’s concentrating.” Jack offered up an explanation.

“I can never catch a break, can I” sigh. “Alright. Sarah, go and find out if he’s done with the calculations,” Johnson ordered. “Jack and I will go out on a walk”

“Okay,” Sarah replied and headed to the labs.

***

“Damn. You were serious ha?” Johnson had never seen him work so quickly and efficiently before.

Jack didn’t think they would believe a word he said, so he decided that the best thing to do was get this installation done and head back in to convince Yuri to change directions a little earlier.

“The faster we’re done here, the better.” Jack continued attaching the winch in place. At this point in time, Sarah and Johnson would’ve still been unscrewing the winch from its original location. He bought them about 40 minutes. Now he just needs to figure out how to convince Yuri to change direction earlier to avoid collision.

While thinking of a plan, Jack felt the ship tilt sharply and move off its position.

“What the fuck?!” Johnson shouted.

“Everyone we have a problem!” Yuri’s voice sounded over the ship's intercoms. “Object X increased its speed. We need to leave NOW! There’s no time to drop the bomb”. Immediately after, everyone felt the ship speed up.

“HEY! JACK AND I ARE STILL OUTSIDE” Johnson bellowed. “WHO TOLD YOU TO LEAVE THIS POSITION. OPEN THE HATCH”

“Sorry sir, there’s no time. This thing is after us! It changed its trajectory… ITS FOLLOWING US!” Yuri shouted over the intercom

“WHY IS IT HAPPENING NOW?!” Jack was confused. This wasn’t supposed to happen this early.

“OPEN THE FUCKING HA-” Johnson couldn’t finish the sentence. He saw a bright light heading straight for them. The bright light filled the entire ship piercing through everyone’s vision. It was the last thing they saw.

***

“Thank you, John. As mentioned already, this unknown object is travelling fast, close to 102,000 mph, and all calculations of its trajectory show it heading straight for SM-366.” He pulled up the trajectory calculations on the screen. It showed ‘object X’ travelling at a highly elliptical orbit around Proxima Centauri and heading straight to SM-366.

“As you can see on the screen, time to impact is projected to be 74 hours. Our scientists calculated that a blast of around 1 megaton should be sufficient to -”

“AAAAHH!-”

Everyone became quiet and looked in the same direction. Jack was sitting on the floor, wide-eyed eyed with a confused look on his face.

“What the f...”

---

Check out previous chapters below:

AdventureThrillerScience FictionMysteryCliffhanger
5

About the Creator

Mohammed Darasi

I write fiction, poetry and occasional articles about interesting topics. I recently created a website (just because) which I will be posting my writing in (among other things). it would be great if you check it out. https://mindpit.co.uk/

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Comments (4)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran7 months ago

    Oh God, they're stuck in a time loop? I love that! Lol!

  • Dana Crandell7 months ago

    Hmmm... Looping?

  • Donna Renee7 months ago

    oh noooo!!😱

  • Alex H Mittelman 7 months ago

    Fascinating! There gathered in space

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