Ok so here we are, the end of the line for Kara Salter whose sleep talk will save the world. I hope you all enjoy it. I want to thank my wonderful girlfriend Cat Hayward whose nighttime talking (English and gibberish – sometimes interchangeably) gave me the inspiration for this story.
We assembled in silence – me, the Rabbi, the Bishop and the Patriarch, creating four points around the circle of the dome, man, woman, man, woman –we were all that stood between an enormous asteroid and planet Earth.
‘Do not worry,’ Mister Brown had said, ‘you will all know what to do to activate The Web.’ It occurred to me then that the other three were no more an expert on this than I was. A few weeks ago, I was the novice who desperately had to catch them up and now – I was most firmly one of them.
We spoke in unison and I knew exactly what we were saying – it was odd, but the words slipped from my lips and the pillar at the centre hummed into life. A wave of energy shot up the column and exploded onto the ceiling.
Immediately, the dome became a screen – a vast blackness peppered with pinpricks of silver that spun slowly above our heads. We all looked skyward. Around the lower rim of the dome was row upon row of grey circling the screen. This is The Web – a vast network of devices designed to work together to protect the inner solar system against external threats.
We communicated completely in The Language of the Ancients and it felt real to me now.
‘Do you see it?’
‘How many (winches?) are primed.’
‘Twenty five percent. Concentrated in the area most likely the insertion point.’ Some of the grey dots turned yellow, extending roughly between 11am and 2pm from my position.
‘Should we increase to twenty eight percent?’
‘Do we have the power? Would we have enough for the (Super?)’
‘Yes on both counts.’
I felt out of my depth here, but nobody complained. What if I put a foot wrong and killed us all?
‘There, I see it… I think?’
‘Reading you, I saw the sparks too. Calculating trajectory.’
‘How long until it reaches The Web?’
‘Minutes… I can’t believe how fast it’s moving!’
‘I can’t believe how big it is. Canada?’
Reaching the first (winch? Ok, I’m going with winch) in ten seconds. Be ready.’
‘Nine,’ My pulse was going crazy, I needed chamomile. No scrub that, I need whiskey.
‘Eight, seven, six.’
‘Is the second winch prepared?’
I had no idea what was going to happen – all this talk of the winches and the Super and I daresay they knew either.
‘Ok, be ready…’
‘Here it comes!’
Two things happened at once. The dome screen zoomed in on an area of space and I saw what I can only describe as an absolute monster of an asteroid. It looked large and ugly and angry. In a fraction of a second, some unearthly strand of green light came from off screen and enveloped the monster.
The asteroid’s trajectory changed as it swung towards the source of the light.
‘We need the second winch ready NOW.’
‘It’s ready. Any time – get this right and we won’t need the last two.’
‘Nevertheless, we should use them.’
‘Launch second winch!’
A second strand of green light shot out from somewhere off screen.
‘Don’t panic, we have another chance – but it’s our last.’
The second winch caught the second time. The asteroid was enveloped in a deep green glow yet it still seemed to wobble. I felt everybody breathe a sigh of relief.
‘That was the critical one. We’re nearly there. Third and fourth ready to go?’
‘Do it. Together.’
Two beams of light shot across the sky from opposite directions, both enveloped the asteroid and the rock became motionless. I amused myself that this looked like a giant crosshair from my angle –the winches basically being tractor beams to hold the asteroid steady; that’s when the penny dropped for me, of what we were going to do.
‘Kara Salter, would you like the final honour of taking charge of the Super?’
‘Thank you.’ I took a deep breath and spoke the command. Somewhere in the blackness of space, from somewhere beyond the orbital plane of Mars, a giant laser struck the monster asteroid and it exploded.
I’m taking another break from Snippet Sunday for now as I work through several other projects (specifically, Dead Lock and Romans Vs Aliens) I do have some ideas for other serials, but they will have to wait for the time being.