The Renegade Asteroid – Part Seven

renegade asteroid by Neal Patterson

Before dawn, Spear settled into his command seat and immediately noticed the extra elbow room. Nelson and O’Hanlon would stay behind in Central Command to monitor the critical functions of David’s Slingshot along with the position of the alien spacecraft. Betty sat to Spear’s right at the communications console. Although he hated putting Betty in harm’s way, he knew that they would need her special skills for this particular mission. Directly behind them sat Televast at the weapons console. The old man insisted on taking aim at the aliens himself, and Spear couldn’t argue with the boss.

“All systems are go. We ‘re starting final countdown,” Nelson’s voice carried over the radio. “Buckle up, boys and girls.”

The three settled into their seats. Betty and Spear exchanged a long glance. Spear searched Betty’s eyes for any fear, but he saw none. She was every bit her father’s daughter. As the countdown neared 20 seconds, they looked ahead at the forward viewports and studied the brilliant blue sky. Soon, the view would be replaced with inky blackness.

Then came the deafening roar and the oppressive g-forces. As was his custom during takeoff, Spear closed his eyes and focused his mind’s eye on the lake where he caught trout on lazy summer days when he was a child. His moment of meditation was interrupted by the sounds of switches being thrown. He glanced over and noticed Betty, seemingly oblivious to the forces of acceleration, working diligently at her console.

“What are you doing?” Spear cried out.

“This mission is strictly forbidden by the United Nations,” Betty replied. “I’m throwing off the surveillance systems around the world by sending out incorrect signals. As far as the world knows, we’re just a commercial plane making a sub-orbital flight.”

“That’s my girl,” Spear smiled.

Settling back in his seat, Spear could hear the main thrusters shut off and the g-forces eased to nothing. They were in free fall, plummeting through the void on a course for the moon.

“Remember Lance,” Televast said, “this ship does not handle like the typical rocket. Once we are in position to make a course for the far side of the moon, the craft will handle like a fighter jet. Be prepared.”

“Gotcha’, sir,” Spear said. His confidence was tested however when he switched over to the manual controls. While he had greater maneuverability, he was also dealing with no atmosphere. His initial efforts where met with wild overreactions from the ship. Televast chuckled at his hapless pilot. “You’ll get used to it.”

His years of experience paid off and Spear was quickly zipping the massive ship over the surface of the moon like a kite on a windy day.

“You’re approaching the alien ship,” Nelson’s voice filled the cockpit. “Estimated visual, 24 seconds. All systems functioning normally.”

“I think I see it,” Betty exclaimed.

The gleaming mothership sat majestically in the gray dust of the moon. Although red and yellow lights flashed along its perimeter, the alien craft was completely silent. “Maybe we should open a channel to the ship,” Spear muttered to Betty.

“Absolutely not,” Televast bellowed. “We have them with their pants down. We have to attack now. Prepare for a strafing run.”

“They should have noticed us by now,” Spear thought out loud.

“Billions of lives are at stake, Lance,” Betty said.

Her concerned gaze strengthened Spear’s resolve. “Very well. We’re going in.”

Delicately manipulating the joy stick, Spear set the ship on a gradual descent over the mothership. When the golden hull filled the viewports, Televast unleashed the nuclear missiles mounted on the sides of the ship. As soon as the missiles disengaged from the ship, Spear threw David’s Slingshot into a sharp banking move. The powerful thrusters pushed the craft hundreds of miles away from the target every second. “Switch on the aft monitors, Betty,” Spear commanded. The screens came to life, revealing a massive explosion where the mothership once stood. Chunks of the alien craft cartwheeled through space, taking a long languid descent toward the weak gravity of the moon.

“Let’s circle back to see what’s left,” Televast said.

Spear obeyed, turning the ship back in the direction of the destruction. As they approached the site, little was left of the alien ship but a pile of twisted metal and debris of an unidentifiable nature. “Let’s take another run at it,” Televast said.

“It’s destroyed, Laslo,” Spear cried. “Utterly destroyed.”

“Let’s make it vapor,” Televast shot back.

Spear forced the ship into a violent descent, accelerating faster than the first time. Televast’s fingers danced over his console and a blinding display of laser beams criss-crossed over the site. Plumes of smoke floated up from the remains, engulfing David’s Slingshot.

“It’s done,” Spear said, grimly. “Let’s go home.”

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