God’s Bolt – A Sci-Fi novel – Stranded on the space station as the world is destroyed – what would you do?

God’s Bolt

 

Helen Southcote is looking for a purpose to life through her Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence work on the United Nations Space Station when she watches the Earth destroyed by an asteroid. What can she do next? …

Extract

Chapter 1 – The End and the Beginning

Year 2178 – Impact day

 I have never felt so utterly alone. A raging storm of nausea was gnawing at my belly as I began my routine morning broadcast – except that there was nothing normal about this one.

‘Good morning everybody,’ I said cheerily, putting on my best smile. ‘This is Helen Southcote beaming down to you from the United Nations International Space Station.’

I was totally unsure of the wisdom of continuing these tridee broadcasts, particularly on such an auspicious day as this. Who on earth was tuned in? Surely they’d all be in a panic, desperately seeking safety for themselves and their loved ones. Nobody would be at all interested in any platitudes from me. But the powers that be, in the form of mission controller Brad Noone, had assured me that it was necessary. The psychologists thought that it might help to continue with normality and reduce panic. Who was I to argue? They’d provided me with a script. I suppressed my anger and upset. Put aside my personal feelings about what had happened to my friends. The show had to go on. I was doing it for the kids, I kept reminding myself – it was for the kids.

‘The earth sure looks beautiful spread out there below me.’ I showed them images of the planet below me with its green seas and swirling white clouds.

With a lot of trepidation, which I hoped did not show too much, I turned my attention to the subject that was foremost in everybody’s minds. ‘Preparations are well underway to deal with the remaining threat from Chang’s comet,’ I assured them. ‘Missiles are poised to destroy the largest incoming rocks but President Khun Mae Srisuk has urged everyone to either seek sanctuary in the prescribed shelters or to evacuate to designated regions of safety. There are bound to be some meteorites that will cause some collateral damage. Better to be safe than sorry.’

I offered them one of my best smiles. The cheery tones sounded so phoney to me.

‘This promises to be one of the most spectacular shows you’ll ever see,’ I promised them. Be reassuring I’d been instructed – be upbeat. Lie. Even the most optimistic reports were predicting widespread damage across the United States, Canada and into Russia. The earth was going to be bombarded with the biggest deluge of rocks in recent history. Chang’s comet was a monster and even broken up as it was, presented a real danger to the survival of the planet. They just had to hope that this time the scientists had got it right and every single major threat would be neutralised. It was a big ask. They had not managed such a brilliant job up to now. This last ditch effort was to target all the remaining large rocks and pulverise them in the upper atmosphere so that the remains would burn up on entry. If all went to plan it was certain to be the most amazing display. The worry was that if a single one of those chunks of rock was missed……………….……….. well that didn’t bear thinking about. ‘Make sure you watch from safety!’ I chastised them. There were always some thrill seekers who sought to put themselves in danger. ‘As for me, well I’ve got the best seat in the house, a real grandstand view. UNISS will be in exactly the right place to record the whole sequence of events and you can bet that I’ll be relaying it to you live as it happens!’

I then proceeded to give them a dull and boring update on the various experiments taking place, the weather, solar activity and conditions in space. Normality. That’s what I’d been instructed to do.

‘This is Helen Southcote signing off until tomorrow. Be safe! See you soon’

‘Good job!’ Brad Noone intoned in his dulcet tones after I’d shut down. That was high praise coming from him.

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