Sunday, January 27, 2013

Flash Fiction by Steve Erdmann

Apophis Factor

“Do you come from a land down under? Where women glow and men plunder? Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? You better run, you better take cover…” Land Down Under, song by Men at Work.
April 12, 2036: 9:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The White House.

Jason Cornet, flanked by two Secret Service agents, briefcase marked Top Secret handcuffed to his wrist, was escorted into the oval office of the President of the United States. The Director of The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Jason opened the briefcase and presented the document titled “Beyond Stage Five: Final Deflection and Abortive Analysis/ Apo phis”.

The President, surrounded by equally important “Need to Know” dignitaries, pensively thumbed through the pages. After a lugubriously and intensely somber period of deep silence, he slowly raised his head to speak:
“Just recap the high points,” he requested in a blank stare of disbelief. The President had been under continuous counsel from multiple government and private sectors the day before and showed obvious signs of weariness and strain. Cornet, hands folded in front of his stomach, handcuffs now removed from his wrist, began in rote to recite the particulars:

“ 99942 Apo phis – discovered April, 2004, Class C asteroid - 25-million ton object – about the size of the Empire State Building - projected to pass within the 18,800 mile range next to earth tomorrow – has eluded analysis and procedure to become Code Name Public Enemy Number One.”
“My God, how can this be?” asked the President incredulously. Jason continued speaking; face viscerally drained and whitened, viscously hiding the terror within him:

“Multiple ‘Perfect Storm’ factors: previous passes to earth encountered universal hazards: Sun Spot activity – Solar Maxima – the worst in the history of mankind - insidiously decapitated accurate measurement of inflection in the keyhole – plus crash encounters with earth’s geosynchronous and communication satellites 22,000 to 30,000 miles out from earth in orbit; and, as you are aware, sir, the terrorist E-bomb attack over our country and in outer space last week; mega-devices greater than our GBU-31 or our MK-84 Form Flux Compress Generators ……….” The President, face rubescent and ruddled by a rush of blood, heart pounding almost audibly, cut him short: “Damage assessment!”
Jason, now becoming visibly nauseous, shifted his eyes to the side and back center again in an almost “I can’t believe this, but here we go” mode: “Equal ant to 65,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs, 9000 foot crater, 2.5 mile wide, 70-foot tsunami waves, millions of human beings killed and many more maimed or damaged, winds: 25 miles per hour over the globe, earthquakes in the 7.0 range – it will hit the earth at 11 miles per second; The Anatoly Perminov Parameter: the crust of the earth will be split from the North Sea to the Black Sea and create a new continent disfiguring Russia, Germany, Poland…..” With tears in his eyes, the President interrupted again, his Adams apple groped in pain: “Where will you be?”

Jason gave a penetrating, body-shaking sigh and announced: “With my family, sir. I would like to be with them if anywhere, sir; I have kept it secret from them.” The President solemnly and slowly nodded.
It was a beautiful spring day on the 13th of April, 2036: clear blue sky, 80-degree weather, the Cornet family selected a hillside and oak tree portrait that overlooked the blue-green forest and valley below, scent of wild flowers and the robust aromatic countryside in their nostrils. The sounds of wildlife and animals were suspiciously absent, however. They spread a picnic blanket and placed food before themselves. Three-year-old Phoebe Cornet played and chased her balloon until she became angry at its antics: she brought it to her father:

“Daddy, pop this balloon, I don’t like it anymore; it’s mean to me!”
Steve Erdmann, having spent a lifetime living and struggling in the ways and styles of a born and bred Midwestern, now wants to share the experiences of fellow St. Louisans and those of the Mississippi Basin. In the past, he has attended Washington and Webster Universities, and has written on the paranormal, and is highly concerned with the Divorce Racket and government conspiracies and has written for Our Sunday Visitor, Probe the Unknown, Liberty, Gnostica News, The Green Egg, Beyond Reality, Necrology Shorts, The UFO Enigma, UN-X Magazine and several others. He currently belongs to the Carondelet Historical Society. He can be reached through this editor or at, or P.O. Box 18863, Maryville Gardens Station, St. Louis, Mo. 63118. You can become a Friend on his Facebook Timeline!/stephen.erdmann1.

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