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Prompt 489 - Creative

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It was a beautiful night, with a full moon shining bright. You lay on the blanket watching the meteor shower. Suddenly, you notice a red streak heading right for you. You stand up and begin to run, only to be knocked over by the blast from the meteorite crashing into the ground. You go back to look at the meteor only to be found by the police and many scientists will immediately quarantine you. What is up with the meteorite?

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The comet was ancient and big as a mountain. It drifted in the Milky Way in the deep cold black of interstellar space for eons. It was a timeless wanderer, a drifting piece of debris. It was the last mute witness of a catastrophe that had shattered the solar system of its birth. Deep within its armor of layers of frozen gases, the last progeny of that shattered world slept at near absolute zero.


Whether you might call it a comet or an asteroid would be a matter of opinion. Surely it had solid mass- the mass that was at its core. It also had a high fraction of dust that had adhered itself to its surface in the long dark of interstellar space. However the vast majority of the body was indeed ice.


It was layered like a hailstone. As it drifted through the countless millennia, when it encountered gas or dust, it would stick to the comets near absolute zero surface. Over the eons, it had grown from a clump of a few dozen rocks and some soil of its ancient homeworld to a mass the size of Mount Everest. 


About the time of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event on earth, the same gravitational anomaly that  dropped the asteroid on the Yucatan which wiped out the dinosaurs, changed the comets vector. It wasn't much of a change but it was just enough to allow it to be captured in the grips of a G class dwarf star and achieve a stable, albeit distant orbit.around that star.


Every few hundred thousand years or so, that orbit aligned at right angles with the weak force of the nearby star Proxima Centauri. In every pass, the comets orbit was degraded. A few short tens of millions of years later there was a rare alignment of the small gas giant that humans would someday name Neptune and Proxima Centauri at its closest approach. The comet lost delta-V at a prodigious rate and once again there was a much more radical change in its orbit zipping down between Uranus and Neptune and then back out into the depth of the Oort cloud.


About the time of the Greek victory at Thermopylae, there was a alignment of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus that added pitch and delta-V to the comets orbit sending it falling toward the inner solar system.


Shortly after the assassination of Caesar in 44 BC, a blazing comet was seen. It was so brilliant that it was visible in broad daylight and signaled to the Romans the deification of their fallen leader.  


To make that soul a star that burns forever

Above the Forum and the gates of Rome 


The people called it Caesar's comet and it was one of the brightest reported in antiquity.  Much of the comets ice was burned away and once again it retreated into the depths of outer solar system. However the orbit was irreparably changed. It was caught int a dying spiral towards the yellow star at the bottom of the star systems gravity well.


The next time it passed the inner solar system in the year 847 AD, the comet passed without notice while Frankish lords in Brittany were paying the Danegeld to Danish Vikings to spare their lands and the Saracens captured the Byzantine city of Bari in Southern Italy and established a Muslim Emirate.


The next time the comet passed in 1641 the stratovolcano Mount Parker in the Philippines was having a major eruption, in England the Star Chamber is abolished and Charles the 1st flees London. No one saw the much reduced comet through the rich red sunrises and sunsets created by a distant volcano no one had ever heard of.


On its way out of the inner solar system, the comet met with disaster in a close approach to Jupiter. The gravity and tidal forces of the giant planet rended at the comet opening up fissures and causing it to lose even more delta-V halving its orbit. 


On its return to the inner solar system in 2019 a close approach to Saturn shattered it. It ceased being a solid whole and became a chunky debris field two hundred kilometers wide and twelve hundred kilometers long.  





US Space Command 

May 20, 2019 0200EST


​Airman Tullos sat at the console monitoring the US Space Command's Deep Space Radar Network


It was two in the morning and he was paying much more attention to a novel on his kindle than he was to his board.


He ran his finger across the device to advance the page and he was rudely interrupted as his board gave a single plaintive ping.


He looked at the board and saw a small red dot indicating a unidentified object. He waited a moment for the fix on the object to firm up. It was at the extreme edge of his equipments detection range. It was so far out that it took a minute and twenty seconds for the powerful radar pulses to go out and return. 


Over the next few minutes the computers got a solid fix on the object, its speed and vector.


Then four more contacts appeared. Then another six.


The airman reached across his desk, grabbed the phone and dialed a four digit number.


A sleepy voice answered and said, "Colonel Carson."


​"Colonel, this is Tullos on the DSRN watch. I have multiple contacts incoming. The computer accesses a high probability of impact events."


Carson grunted, "I'll be there in ten. Watch the board and firm up the contacts."


The Airman's yes sir was given to a dead phone line. 


When Carson arrived, there were twenty four objects on the tracking board. He looked at the mass and density estimates and relaxed. He said, "Looks like you've found a string of pearls Tullos."


Tullos answered, "Sir?"


"You remember Shoemaker-Levy?"


"That's the comet that broke up and hit Jupiter isn't it?"


"Something caused this one to break up but thankfully, none of it is big enough to be a huge problem.. We've got maybe four out of that mob that's big enough to survive re-entry but there's more than enough junk there to wipe out some very expensive satellites."



CNN Headline News

May 20, 2019  0900


"In our top story of the hour, in an early morning news conference NASA spokesmen have announced that the earth will pass through the path of a shattered comet later this week."


"Thursday night this week we will see one of the best meteor showers in centuries. Very few of the objects are objects are large enough to be of concern and observers in North and South America will be in for brilliant show."





Near Monroe, Louisiana 

May 23, 2019 2305 EST


Kevin Barnes and his best friend Kyle Reynolds were sitting on the tailgate of Kevin's Nissan truck watching the meteor swarm. It was as spectacular as advertised. 


A big one crossed the horizon and exploded with a beep resonate boom.


Kyle said, "Holy crap! Do you think they maybe they were a little optimistic about this?"


Kevin grinned and said, "No. I did a little research on the internet. That was what they call a fireball. It was just a super-heated chunk of ice that got too hot."


Another big one came blazing over the horizon. Unlike the rest, this on was dead on and blazing in blue-white light. It was so bright that it lite up the country-side like dylight.


Kevin grabbed his friend and pulled him yelling over the roar, "That one is blue-shifting- that means its headed right for us."


They got to the side of the road and dove off into the shallow ditch. Suddenly there was a bright flash and a shock wave that hit them like a sledge hammer.



US Space Command

May 23, 2019 2325 EST


Colonel Carson picked up the phone and said, "Mr. President. A string of explosive meteors we call fireballs has struck across the Southern states. They were very much like the meteor that exploded over Russia in February 2013. They started in Alabama and moved West across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. There have already been reports of damage and injuries from the shock waves. I just got off the phone with the Emergency management people in Sunflower County Mississippi. The shock wave there was so bad they got hundreds of acres of trees blown down..."




Near Monroe, Louisiana 

May 24, 2019 0005 EST


Kyle woke up next Kevin at the bottom of the ditch. He couldn't hear anything and there were spots before his eyes.


Kevin was still out but Kyle could find a pulse and saw no major injuries.


He stood up and climbed out of the ditch and was astonished. Kevin's truck was exactly where it sat and all the windows were blown out. He looked around and all of the trees as far as he could see were blown down. Somewhere in the distance to the West he could see flames. 


He looked back at the truck and noticed a fine dust covered everything thing. When he looked towards the flames he could see dust motes dancing in the air. 


Kyle went back to the ditch and slid down the bank and tried to get Kevin to wake up. he was disoriented and quite agitated when he discovered that he couldn't hear anything. That agitation only increased when he discovered that all the windows in his truck had been blown out. 


The two friends got in the truck and found that it started but they didn't get too far. The road was blocked by a downed cell tower.


Living in Louisiana, the teens were no strangers to hurricanes or tornadoes. The destruction they saw was worse than either had seen.


Kyle sneezed. What is with this damned dust?


kevin tried his cell phone but there was no signal. 


The switched to the texting screen and typed, "R U OK?"


Kyle nodded and pointed at his ears.


Kevin nodded his understanding. He typed, "I feel like crap. What you say we take a nap and see how we feel in a bit?"


Kyle nodded. They sat back in their seats and tried to rest for a while.



Vance, Alabama

May 24, 2019 0016


The helicopter landed in the a field and soldiers piled out in MOPPS gear.


Their specialist took samples of the dust and ran it through his equipment. 


He glared at the readouts and watched as the computer attempted to analyse the substance. 


"What is it specialist?"


"Don't know Sarge. It's reading as organic but the equipment isn't recognizing it."


"What am I supposed to tell HQ?"


"Tell them we're reading an unknown organic in the impact zone."



Near Monroe, Louisiana 

May 24, 2019 0140 EST


Kyle awakened with a start. he looked up and saw a man outside the truck in a blue haz-mat suit.


He shook Kevin awake and opened the door. 


The man tried to speak to them but Kyle pointed to his ears. 


The man in the suit motioned for them to follow him.


He looked at Kevin and took a double take. Something was wrong with his friends eyes. 


He grabbed kevin's arm, looked closely and saw that they had changed. Kevin's pupils were a pair of vertical slits.


Kyle looked in the trucks rear view mirror and saw that his eyes had also changed and looked very much like that of a cats.

Edited by jamessavik
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