by C.E. Gee
Around a sweet smile, Gail announced,
“Mr. Anderson, the reason I’m here today is that you are the highest
ranking NASA employee
at the Prescott Research Station with whom I could arrange a
face-to-face meeting. I must now urge you to stop today’s test flight.”
Gerald Anderson settled back into his chair, returning Gail’s
smile. Gerald appraised Gail’s slender but well-proportioned form.
“Well, Ms. Samuels,” Gerald purred, “You’ve certainly stirred my
curiosity. What do you mean, we have to stop the test flight?”
“Please, call me Gail. It’s my theory the planet Mars is in
actuality the inner core of what was once Mars. The iron oxides that
compose much of the surface of Mars are what was once its outer liquid
“Since no known natural event could eject sizable amounts of
the mantle or crust or liquid outer core of a planet out into space,
what transformed Mars was artificially induced.”
Gerald made no reply. His smile disappeared. One eyebrow
Gail rushed to elaborate. “As you know, your XMR-1’s lift
system uses powerful magnetic fields generated by its super-cooled
coils to repulse against the magnetic field of Earth.
“The rhythmic pulsing of the XMR-1’s lift coils during
today’s test flight will cause harmonized oscillations within the
molten iron of Earth’s outer core. Those oscillations will cause the
outer core to fling the mantle and crust of Earth off into space as
that liquid outer core surges upward. The surface of what remains will
then cool off. Much of the heavy, iron rich liquid core that was
ejected into space which was beneath the crust and mantle will fall
back and solidify.”
“Earth’s water, vaporized by this event, will eventually
condense, raining down upon the new surface, creating iron oxides and
also carving out surface features not unlike some of those of Mars.”
Open-mouthed, Gerald stared at Gail, his eyes mirroring his
incredulous disbelief. Although Gerald made no immediate comment, Gail
must have sensed a change in Gerald’s demeanor, for Gail now spoke much
slower, with a decided emphasis,
“Millions of years ago, perhaps even
billions of years ago, Martians accidentally destroyed their planet by
utilizing the same propulsion system we’re preparing to use today.
You’ve got to believe that!”
Gail pleaded, “Look — you’re my last chance. The clock’s
ticking. I’ve glossed over the details. I’m sure if I explain some of
the finer points… Please?”
Gerald glanced at his watch. “Okay, okay, I’ll give you a few
Gail continued, “The asteroid belt — ever wonder where it
originated? It’s portions of the original crust and mantle of Mars.
“The theory that microbial life on Earth came here, delivered
by meteorites from Mars? My own theory explains all that and more.
Gerald’s reply began with a smirk. He said, “Interesting.
Maybe we can discuss your theory in more detail. Perhaps over dinner
this evening? I know this delightful Mexican restaurant downtown. The
owner and I are old…”
Gail’s back stiffened. She interrupted Gerald, snarling,
just don’t get it, do you? If we don’t stop this test flight, there
won’t be an evening.”
A ferocious scowl marring her otherwise pleasant features,
voice trembling, Gail continued,
“You’re not going to stop the test
flight, are you?”
Gerald smirked a wry smirk as he held out his hands, palms up,
shrugging a gesture of helplessness.
“Honey, I’m just this region’s
Press Relations Officer. I also double as this site’s Public Relations
Officer. I don’t have the authority to stop the flight, even if I
“In all my years at NASA, I’ve never heard a more ridiculous
story. Believe me, working with the both the press and the public, you
hear a lot of ridiculous stories.
* * *
Kraugg looked down from her pedestal, sneering at the array of
supplicants filling her grotto.
The present duty cycle had been unusually busy. Now that the
problem of predicting the intensity of the magnetic field induced by
the nearby mythological mother of planets had been solved, the test
flight could occur. It seemed all of Europa’s swarms were interested.
Kraugg felt she was due for some relaxation. After the test
flight, it was her turn in the secretarial pool; she knew exactly in
which corner she was going to spawn. Her eyestalks quivered as she
thought of the cute little male with the reddish tinge to his mantle.
One of the supplicants took advantage of Kraugg’s daydreaming.
Edging closer, tentacles splayed in the formal manner of a high-caste
male, he summoned enough courage to make his plea.
may I solicit permission to speak?
I’ve amazing news. We need to talk.”
Diverted from her thoughts, Kraugg stared at the supplicant,
noting he wore the austere chains of an academician. Kraugg snapped,
“Speak now, and make it quick. “I’m busy today.”
The male dared to creep closer, pausing when Kraugg, as a
warning, unsheathed her imposing beak.
The supplicant then spoke.
“I’ve formulated a theory. Have you
ever wondered about the iron oxides found by the probes we’ve sent in
to the third and fourth planets? Why it is that those two planets are
very nearly the exact same size? Also, why is it we have two completely
separate asteroid belts in this star system?“
Kraugg replied, “This is beyond strange. Let me think about
© 2017 C.E. Gee
C.E. Gee (aka Chuck) misspent his youth at backwater
locales within Oregon and Alaska.
Chuck later answered many callings: logger (choker setter) meat packer
(Norbest Turkeys), Vietnam war draftee infantryman, telecom technician,
volunteer fireman/EMT, light show roady, farmer, businessman.
Chuck now writes SF stories, and maintains a blog at
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