Here’s another page of my work in progress, a sci-fi short story. Please feel free to provide feedback. Recall from my last post that the Junk Yard Dog is a spacecraft designed to collect space junk. Zoe is the commander. They tried to capture a satellite and ran into problems when they touched it. I’ already rewriting—in my head. Here’s page 3.
Try a hundred meters for starters.”
Rudy reached over Walt and released the arm and claws from the satellite.
“Roger that,” Cyril said as he used the thrusters to maneuver the Dog away from the satellite. As the Dog moved farther away, the visions subsided until there were no more visions. Walt stopped screaming.
“A hundred meters and holding,” Cyril announced.
“Hold for now. Walt, take some deep breaths. Okay, talk to me. Is everyone okay?” Everyone said they were uninjured. “Does anyone have any idea what just happened to us?”
Rudy was the first to speak. “I think we experienced a self-defense feature of that satellite. That buzzing sound we all felt when we approached it was something probing our minds looking for our greatest fears. Then the sat somehow projected images of our greatest fears into our minds. Mine was a fear of drowning.”
“Mine was fire,” Walt added. “My house caught fire when I was a kid. I nearly died.”
“Mine was a car crash from a few years ago. I too almost died. I went through the windshield.” Cyril said. “What was yours, Commander?”
“Never mind. It’s not important. Which country has that technology?”
“None,” Rudy answered. “I don’t think this satellite was put here by any humans.”
“You mean it’s an alien satellite?” Walt asked.
“That’s the only possible answer.”
“Why would they put a sat in orbit around the earth and why in a polar orbit?” Zoe asked.
“I don’t know,” Rudy answered. “But think about it. In a polar orbit, the sat can see the entire earth in just a few orbits.”
“Okay, that’s enough talk for now,” Zoe commanded. “We have more questions than answers, Zoe said. “We’ll talk again later. Cyril, take us out of orbit and set a course for our barge. Let dump this cargo and then head back to ISS.”
“Aye, aye,” Cyril replied as he set a new course.
After a few minutes, Walt switched his communicator to a private channel to talk with Rudy. “Rudy, what’s the deal with the barge? I didn’t know we had one. What is it?”
Rudy chuckled, “Oh newbie. Our barge is where we stow the space junk until we’re ready to get rid of it. We get paid by volume since there’s little gravity. Every country has their own barge. By mutual agreement, once several barges are full, a space tug starts them on a collision course toward earth where they burn up in the atmosphere.”
“Cool. What about the rare earth medals?” Cyril asked.
“We keep those separate and get paid for them on the ISS?”
Unloading the space junk into the barge was routine, but everyone was still shook up about the encounter with the alien satellite. No one mentioned it. After a week of collecting space junk, the crew was looking forward to a day or two of relaxing, not to mention running hot water and hot chow.
As the Junk Yard Dog approached the ISS, Zoe said, “Let’s not tell anyone about what happened until we had a chance to figure it out ourselves.” Every agreed. Zoe radioed the ISS and received docking instructions and clearance.
The ISS consisted of three large rings or wheels, each bigger than the one below it. They were connected by a long center spoke that ran through the middles. Docking was done at the center ring where most personnel lived and worked. The top ring consisted of the life support systems needed to sustain the ISS. The bottom ring was the largest and was where more spacecrafts were built.
The Junk Yard dog docked on the center ring. The crew was met by a docking manager and a load master as they exited the airlock.
“Your barge is almost full,” the load master informed Zoe. “We can take control of it now and pay you if you like, or you can make one more trip to collect junk.”