Author : Morrow Brady
”It’s a planet and it’s coming right for us”
After three hours sleep, Director Reeve Scali struggled to comprehend the message.
“Come down Sir, you must see it for yourself”
Scali, puzzling momentarily in the cold night, sprang into action.
Striding into WatchTower, Earth’s central observation post for the solar system, Scali met Technician Carol Merks for the briefing.
“Pluto Webb array, spotted this planetary scale object approaching rapidly from the direction of Epsilon Eridani”
A large holographic image activated and a magnificent planet appeared, moving through space. Through a thin gossamer-like coating enveloping the planet, lay blue oceans, green lands and white clouds. Earth had never looked this good.
“A beautiful rogue planet” Scali whispered, as he circumnavigated the spinning holograph.
“Not rogue Sir. If it was only spearing through space, Jupiter’s gravity well would affect its trajectory. This planet’s journey is dead straight. It’s controlled”
Vector visualisations appeared, showing where the planet was, compared to where it should be.
“Look closer” Merks said, magnifying the view to reveal thousands of interconnected cities across the planet.
“Incredible” Scali muttered shaking his head.
Merks zoomed out showing its path through the solar system to Earth.
“The impact will be perfect. Its hard to believe it’s accidental”
Scali stared across the room and with his back turned, asked.
“Is GlobalCloak operational?”
“Yes Sir. Earth’s been invisible to the galaxy for over fifty years now”
Scali stared blankly and spoke softly.
“We built the Cloak because we were scared aliens might value Earth more than humankind. Who’d have thought it might one day be the cause of Earth’s demise”
Merks continued her briefing.
“Analysis reveals the planet’s magnetic field powers its propulsion and shielding. And limitations to this power source, leaves them little time to change course or stop”
Scali’s face scowled as he considered their options. Earth’s technology just wasn’t powerful enough to affect change to any planet sized object, including itself.
“Sir, if we crash, there’ll be nothing left but violent hot dust. We must do something”
As tension rose, operators looked towards Scali’s darkened face and a quiet moment screamed.
“Turn off GlobalCloak. Transmit a uni-band warning” Scali solemnly said.
Merks immediately issued commands to her team, as Scali notified key world authorities to commence Doomsday preparations.
With GlobalCloak turned off, Earth light again shone upon the universe, speeding those few precious hours towards the rapidly approaching planet. During this time, ships across the globe began launching for Mars, laden with humanities archives and diverse colonies of handpicked people.
Every eye at WatchTower focused on the planet, begging for any faint sign of course variation, but after ten hours, hope began to fade. When the planet’s shield showed indications of activity, excitement built until they realised it signalled the planet had entered the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and was getting closer.
“It can’t safely stop now, not without ejecting half its inhabitants into space and grinding the remainder into dirt. We can only hope now that they change their course” Merks said.
With the departure of private and corporate ships for Mars, the remaining humans accepted their fate, stood tall and watched as a beautiful planet grew larger before them.
Brilliant blue waters and verdant green lands filled the sky until a subtle red tone appeared to one side. Slowly the planet veered clear.
While the control room joined the rest of the world in joyful celebration, Scali ascended once more and watched the silent planet disappear into the twilight. In his mind, an entire planet just played its finest trick.