I’m working on a few things at the moment. I hope to publish my next crime novel in December. I’m also writing a not so short sci-fi and a funny crime short story. Here’s the first page or so of the sci-fi story. Please feel free to provide feedback.
Junk Yard Dog by Monte R. Anderson
Junk Yard Dog wasn’t a very space-oriented name for a spaceship, but it was an accurate descriptive of its mission. The Junk Yard Dog was a spaceship built and commissioned to clean up the space junk orbiting the earth since the beginning of the space program. Space junk consists of over several million pieces of objects ranging from paint flecks to much larger decades-old, inoperative spacecraft. When it became impossible to avoid a collision with space junk, governments began commissioning contractors to start collecting and removing the space junk.
Commander Zoe Simonson owned the contract to collect space junk for the United States. The space craft she was assigned had no name She named it the Junk Yard Dog. She was one of the first to get a government contract for space junk removal. Now she has plenty of competitors. The Dog was equipped with four Remote Manipulator Systems (RMS), a series of robotic arms and claws used to capture space junk. One pair was mounted on the front and a second pair was inside the payload bay. Everyone just called them arms.
What’s our payload now?” Zoe asked the Arms Operator, Walt Stawski.
“The cargo bay is nearly full, Commander.” Walt replied. “We can head back to the space barrage any time. The barrage is three quarters full.”
“Any how much is that at current market prices?”
“We’re just shy of the $10M we need to break even,” Walt answered.
“Let’s keep at it for a while,” Zoe said. “We need to make a profit. Where is my science officer, Rudy?”
“Rudy is working in the bay cutting up junk to make more room.”
“Tell him to get back inside,” Zoe commanded. “We’re going hunting. Cyril, find me something valuable.” Walt relayed the order to Rudy.
“Yes, Commander,” Cyril the pilot answered. Thirty minutes later something caught Cyril’s eye. “Commander, I think I found a satellite.”
“Great. Pull it up on the screen,” Zoe ordered. Everyone looked at the satellite on the screen. “It looks small.”
‘Yea, it’s only about half a meter in diameter,” Cyril answered. “It’s not in a normal orbit for space junk. It’s in a polar orbit.”
“Is Rudy inside?” Zoe asked.
“I’m right here, Commander,” Rudy answered as he sat down and buckled up in his seat. “I’m checking this satellite against all registered satellites now.” No one spoke for a few minutes. “Nothing is coming up so far. It could be unregistered because it was launched prior to registration being required or it may be a spy satellite.”
“I don’t think it’s a spy sat,” Zoe said. “Spy satellites usually are much bigger and covered in antennae. This looks like a basketball--smooth as a baby bottom. Okay, let’s snag it. Cyril, take us in closer slowly. Walt, get ready to grip it with the front arms.”
“Okay, Cyril, take us in so we can grab it.”
“Roger that,” Cyril replied and began to maneuver the junk yard dog closer to the satellite. After a few minutes he had matched the speed and orbit of the satellite. Suddenly, everyone’s felt a buzzing sound in their heads. It wasn’t loud or painful, just annoying. After a few seconds it subsided.
“Rudy, what was that?” Zoe asked.
‘I’m not sure, commander. It felt like some sort of feedback.”
“How do you want to handle this sat?” she asked.
“Let me cut it in half with the laser canon. It’ll fit nicely into the cargo bay.”
“Okay, go for it."
Rudy flipped down a sight from his helmet down over his right eye. He opened a safety cover to expose the arming switch to the laser canon. Rudy used a hand lever attached to the arm of his seat to remotely move the laser canon and aim it. Finally, when he was satisfied, he said, “Fire in the hole.” He flipped the firing switch for the cannon. A beam of light instantly struck the satellite at the top of its mid-section and move across the satellite to the bottom side. Nothing happened. It remained intact.
“What just happened?” Zoe asked.
“Apparently, nothing. The sat just absorbed the laser beam.”