I’m currently in Wallace, Idaho, and I’m getting spotty internet service and no phone reception – good thing I did my blog homework ahead of time . A special thanks to Tricia for supplying the spark sentence for this week’s flash fiction. Please leave a sentence in the comment section below (if you’re confused, read this first).
We met under strange and unusual circumstances. The year was 2131. It was my first time orbiting the outer galaxy, and I had to admit I was homesick and a little nauseous. Everyone warns you about anti-gravity, but no one tells you the claustrophobia’s what really gets you. By the sixth month I was ready to punch a hole through the space station wall. The vacuum of space seemed rather appealing.
It was the tenth year of a ceasefire with planet Roswell. We had gotten off to a rocky start; Apparently alien’s don’t like their planet to be photographed, and we don’t like to be shot at when we’re trying to collect intelligence. We were set for an all out galactic war, but fortunately Commander Tromps was able to sign a treaty with Captain E.T. , as we liked to call him, and we were allowed to continue observing as long as we didn’t cross the threshold line, 1,000 miles above their atmosphere. Just the right distance for us to continue collecting data.
That’s where I came in. I had developed a new lens that could get a much better focus than any of the digital crap they were producing. We would be spending 2 earth years hovering over planet Roswell, taking pictures for the folks at NASA.
It was day 248 of the mission. Half the crew was on leave and the other half was repairing a broken satellite off site. Just me and 450 tons of solar-resistant titanium. Not that 450 tons means anything in space. I was realigning the orbital conductors of my telephoto lens when I saw a flash of light. Not your normal star-flare but the reflection of light off a metallic surface. It was then that I knew they were using stealth orbiters to observe us under the radar. Those sons of bitches were breaking the treaty. I made a call back to ground control but all I got was static. Those little martians were intercepting the radio waves.
All of a sudden, a digitized translator voice on the overhead speaker announced, “Permission to board.”
What was I to do? I had no contact with my superiors and no military training. Before I could answer the entire station jolted and I was thrown against the wall. Everything went black. When I came to, pieces of equipment floated all around me like a dream. I busied myself putting everything back into the Velcro locked containers, but all the while I knew they were there. Our station was compromised.
I made my way through the blindingly white corridor to the command station. There was a big red button, under a plexiglass box which required a 16 digit pin to access. We all had to recite the pin over one hundred times, backwards and forward before being allowed on board. That big red button would set off the three nuclear bombs we had on board. I wasn’t going to go down softly. I may just be a photographer, but nobody boards my station and gets away with it.
The first time I entered the code my fingers trembled so much I botched it and had to start over. I was half way through with the pin when I heard the unmistakable sound of a drill. The aliens were cutting through the safety lock door of the command center, 4 bonded sheets of supposedly-impenetrable tungsten alloy. I was so distracted I forgot where I was in the code. Sweat dripping in my eyes, bile bubbling up in the back of my throat, I said a prayer and started over with the code.
Just then I heard it. The tiniest little meow, like the one my childhood cat used when he was hungry. As I turned my head I gasped, “Mr. Sparkles?”
There he was, dressed in his perfect black and white tuxedo, my little furball. Mr. Sparkles died 20 years ago, but sure enough he was floating right towards me. My parents always told me he went to live on a farm far far away. I knew they were lying, but I never expected him to be living on a planet far far away. When he got close enough he licked my nose with his rough tongue and then nuzzled his face against my chin. A troop of cats and dogs floated in after him.
Back in 2052, when President Goldberg reinstated the space exploration mission he said our goal was to find the resources that had been depleted on planet earth. I had no idea I’d be the one to find that resource. All the love and comfort I had as child was back in my arms, purring. Strange and unusual circumstances indeed.