Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Strains of Bocelli By Charles Britten

So it has come to this. It's all down to me. Only I can save the world. In your face, Flash Gordon!

They never saw the smaller debris coming. Every telescope on the planet is aimed at that giant lump of rock, just like this whole array of nukes. So they just missed the smaller pieces, especially the one that took out the satellite relay.

Now they can't fire from the ground. Nor can the ISS. It's all down to me, one man in his craft. One man with line of sight, the trigger in his hand. The one guy who can stop mankind literally going the way of the dinosaurs.

The firing window is approaching. It's nearly in range, so I sit here and watch the clock. Nothing much else to do but wait.

One thing I can do is think. It's strange how this has fallen to me. I imagine the rest of my life; the ticker-tape parade, the chat show appearances. The book deals. Every woman after me. Well, except one.

I wonder what Jenny will think of me. Should I care? She was the one who cheated. She was the one who filed. Frankly, she totally deserves to have a 20-mile wide meteor land on her head.

Trouble is, there's a few more I could mention. Those who sided with her, for a start. Those who should have been proud of me for going into space, yet all I got was jealousy. And yes, some of my Nasa colleagues too. What happened last year wasn't all my fault, no matter what anyone says.

I think of them down there on that still living, blue-green planet that I alone can save. Yet they're just the small fry. There's still all the warmongers, the mad dictators, the rich few who walk all over the poor millions. To think I've had problems.

Then I think some more. Everything seems clearer right now. I'm glad of that. Actually, we are all guilty you know, all mankind. Look at that Earth - so beautiful. But for how much longer the way we treat it? I guess it was beautiful in the days of T-Rex too. And it became beautiful again.

Now I see clearly what this opportunity really represents. I see who has it coming, and that someone is… well, it's...

At this moment a distant voice interrupts me.

"Commander, this is Houston. Target is within range. You may fire when ready."

I turn off the intercom. Now I know what I'm going to do, and it won't involve talking to them again. I'll be turning off the oxygen too, in a while. I just want to see a few minutes of action first.

I watch as the rock nears. I put on some music for the occasion. What else could it be? This one's for you, mankind.

So, as the rock passes by and those missiles sit motionless, I listen to the strains of Bocelli.

Everybody, it's Time to Say Goodbye.


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