Bernie gazed at Shelia as she sauntered across the observatory floor. He couldn’t keep his eyes off his beautiful assistant. He tried to make headway with her, but she had said, “Bernie, you’re old enough to be my father.”
That hurt his feelings but didn’t dampen his desire. Though not a religious man, he prayed daily to meet someone just like her who’d overlook their age differences.
The phone rang, and Bernie listened, “There’s something out there. RAO´s (Radio Observatories) like Aricebo have gone online,” his boss at NASA told him. “England is online, South Africa is online, and so is Australia. All are searching for an invisible object. I think they’re looking in the wrong frequency range. You need to search in deep ultraviolet frequency.”
Bernie, an astronomer at NASA said, “Okay changing to ultra violet frequency. Holy shit!” he shouted as he read the data coming in from the probe headed for the sun.
“What?” Shelia, his assistant, asked.
“There’s a giant asteroid heading towards Earth. It’ll hit within hours. This means the end of humanity.” Bernie said. “We should have settled colonists long ago, so humanity wouldn’t have died out.”
“Can’t we stop it? Blow it up or something?” Shelia searched the data base trying to find a remedy.
“Blowing that space rock up, will make it worse.”
“It says here,” Shelia nodded toward the computer screen, “that small changes could be made to its surface to disrupt the forces keeping it together and cause it to break up in outer space.”
“Only if it was further away, with it coming out of the sun, we got no advance warning, so blowing it up or changing anything is out of the question. It’s travelling fast and it’ll hit Earth at 38,000 miles an hour. Impact will have a force of around 44,800 megaton’s of TNT, cause a huge explosion, tsunamis and change the climate of the globe.”
“Isn’t there anything we can do?” Shelia shook from fear.
“Pray,” Bernie said.
Together they recited the Lord’s Prayer as they watched the asteroid speed toward them on the screens arranged around the room that were scanning the night sky, a warning siren went off and a computer spoke, “Four minutes to impact.”
Bernie and Shelia dropped to their knees, “Please God, let us live. Don’t destroy the world,” they repeated in unison.
The computer continued to count down the seconds until impact. The asteroid was so close it filled all screens, “38 seconds, 37, 36,” It suddenly stopped counting. They saw on the screens around the room how the asteroid avoided smashing into Earth by braking with flames that appeared to be rockets firing. The object went into orbit.
“Impossible!” Bernie said. “How the hell did it do that?”
“Maybe our prayers were answered?”
“NO, it must be a space ship?” Bernie aimed the sun probe’s cameras back toward Earth to observe the asteroid from out there. “Holy shit!’ he shouted again. It is, it is.”
“A fucking huge spaceship.”
The screens around the room showed the same images Bernie was seeing through his computer. They showed a huge ball with lighted portals on all sides. It rotated clockwise as it zipped around Earth every four hours.
“Aliens?” Shelia asked.
“What else?” Bernie saw observatory satellites surrounding the ship. He knew many satellites secretly were carrying destructive weapons in the event war broke out on Earth. He prayed no one would try to blow up the ship until at least communications were intact.
“Oh, oh, the Russians will probably attack,” Bernie shouted. “Fools! Can’t they see whoever is flying that craft has tech far superior to ours?”
Four Russian satellites surrounding the ship fired at it with electromagnetic guns. The waves circled around the strange craft, returned to the satellites that fired them and without a sound disintegrated all four.
The strange craft opened a clam shaped bay giving off a blinding light that disrupted all communications between Earth and satellites. Soon every communication channel became filled with a strange roaring sound that increased in intensity until anyone in hearing range had to cover their ears. Glass broke from sound waves and every satellite camera became inoperable.
“Stupid bastards shouldn’t have fired on it,” Bernie said when the sound quieted enough for them to remove their hands from aching ears.
“What now?” Shelia threw herself onto a chair and closed her eyes.
“Hope no one tries to blast the ship again.”
As the words came from his mouth they saw bright lights far out in space. “They’re using nukes now, hope they do the trick. If not we’re in trouble.”
Instead of a roaring sound, a deep voice filled all communication channels and though the language was strange, everyone understood when they heard, “Imbeciles.”
The space ship split into thousands of pieces and sped toward Earth. Anti-aircraft guns fired at the pieces, but every shell returned to the gun that fired it and exploded inside the barrel. Pieces of the disintegrating spacecraft fell in a wide area. Governments tried to gather them, but citizens got their hands on some.
Bernie ran outside and retrieved one of the containers made of a milky white plastic like substance. Bernie picked it up and at his touch the container opened,like a clam, revealing a small device that appeared to be a flashlight Holding it in his palm, he pushed the switch and a bright beam flowed from the end of the tube shaped device. Bernie shined the light on a bush to search for other containers, almost instantly another bush grew beside the one the light shone on. Must be an optical illusion. He shone it on Shelia and it amazed him to see her become twins.
“What is it?” both Shelia’s asked.
“Some damn sort of replicator.” Bernie fumbled with the device. “Which one of you is the original?”
“I am,” Both women said.
Bernie doubted his sanity until he shone it on a bench and another instantly appeared. “Do you know what this means?” Bernie aimed the light at Shelia again.
“My prayers are answered.” He pressed the button, and another Shirley appeared, and then another. Four 0f them! “Hey Shelia, combined, you’re old enough to be my mother.”