Saturday, September 06, 2014

16 Psyche Passes

I don’t know how I’m alive or why.

Worn is not the word to describe my shoes. Hell, there is so little left of them that shoes is not even the word to describe my shoes. I walked for four months through constant rain to get here. Whatever level of abrasive destruction comes after worn, my shoes definitely qualify.

When people first talked of actually mining the asteroid belt it all sounded pretty simple and safe. Most of the precious metals on the crust of the Earth came from asteroids. Along with the comets they also brought all of the water to our planet. So, as we used up what little we had to build circuit boards and microchips and all the other little goodies we had all become dependent on for day-to-day living or what we laughably called social communication, why not go back to the source for more? Only, that damn asteroid belt is a hell of a long way from here. So they decided to pick a big juicy M-Type asteroid, 16 Psyche, and move it closer to Earth.

It was hellishly expensive, but 16 Psyche was the mother lode of all mother lodes. One rock that made up a little less than 1% of the mass of the entire asteroid belt and M-Type to boot. No water on this baby, all metal, 133 miles long, 112 miles wide and 90 miles thick.  They spent years figuring out how to move it. They mined smaller bodies, C-Types, for water and then converted the water into liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen which they used to fuel the large motors they buried into the surface of 16 Psyche.

By the time it came time to move 16 Psyche, they had had lots of practice with the smaller bodies they had consumed for fuel, but, 16 Psyche was different. It was a solid block of metal the size of Maryland and 90 miles thick. 16 Psyche was 155 million miles from Earth when they fired the first of the rockets. They hoped to move it slowly into an orbit between Earth and Mars, about 22 million miles away, then they decided to try and move it closer. That was when they lost control of it.

We knew for years that it was coming and then for weeks that it was not going to miss, that it was the end of all things.  Facing extinction the human race did not show its nobler self. We went out in an orgy of death and violence. It was sickening to see. I took to the mountains of Colorado to watch the world end from high above and to avoid the not so tender touch of my fellow man. I saw the messenger of death kiss the atmosphere and was almost pleased that at least now the inhumanity of man would end.

The mountain began to crumble around me just from the passing of 16 Psyche overhead. I fell and welcomed my death, but I awoke days or weeks later, surrounded by rock but alive. I missed the impact into the Indian Ocean and the blast that traversed the globe after that, but the sky was dark and it rained and rained and rained.
I had expensive meds and a backpack full of dehydrated food and energy pills. I walked and walked through the rain. For a while I scavenged off the carcasses I found and stumbled on day after day, till one day I found this place. I’m guessing it was a really exclusive ski lodge at one point, built right into the rock. More than half of it was crushed, but what wasn’t offered shelter and more rations.

How many of the human race are alive I have no clue, but the world is a dying wet mess and nothing living will survive the perpetual rain and darkness.  I bide my time and wait for my world to end.

I don’t know how I’m alive or why.

Copyright 2014 Barry Keller. All rights reserved.

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