You can carve a turkey, you can carve wood. People are carved up as well often to be served to their enemies by their best friends. Some think its a spectacle but anyone in the business world will tell you that carving and serving humans is all in a day’s work and nothing to lose sleep over.
Meteors, however, cannot be carved. They can only be curved and that’s what shuttle YB-260 promised to do when it shot into the darkness of space for a date with Asteroid 791-29, now known as Hera.
Inside the ship, he checked the coordinates one more time even though he knew they would say that he was on course with an error of + or – 0.0001 metres. He tried to lean back in his chair and let thoughts of happier times flood his memory. He’d lived a good life. As good a life as someone named Jagithe Soku could have lived. He’d wisely shortened Jagithe to Jag a name he thought more appropriate for earth’s saviour.
The scientists back on earth had told him that he’d come back from this but he knew their numbers could be off. Anyway, dead or alive, he’d have a statue built and a building named after him.
As they approached Hera he sat up. This asteroid had been identified more than three years ago on a trajectory that would collide with earth. It had now passed Jupiter and he was on its white trail of ice, dirt and flames. He switched on his Graviator and locked onto the head of the comet. His speed increased as he now ‘fell’ towards the comet.
Fifty hours later he was head to head with it. He made sure that the ship was locked on then activated all thrusters. As the nuclear fusion started, Hera looked like it had given birth to a second smaller comet. Hera’s direction barely changed as the device created artificial gravity that pulled them together. It shifted by 0.00000001 degrees North but that was all that was needed. By the time they were at mars that would translate into a path deviation of 200000 miles. By the time they crossed earth it would be 500000 miles away from the planet. It would appear no brighter than Hayley’s comet.
As the computer, ANOKI, relayed information back to earth a signal came in.
“What are you doing?”
He looked at the Calibri font on his screen. He sent a message to mission control. It would be a few minutes before they saw it and sent a response. Another message came in as he waited.
“Why are you changing our course? We come in peace.”
He looked at the coordinates of the device that sent the message. It was the center of the meteor. A message came in from earth.
“We have not sent any message at this time what did you read Jag?”
After a minute of pondering he responded to the message from the meteor. “I am changing Hera’s course.”
Human? As he felt his paradigm shifting he replied, “to prevent a collision with earth.”
“We are not here to collide with earth we are here with an urgent message to prevent the destruction of earth. We have been learning your language for communication. Change course back to earth we are from Andromeda and with an urgent message.”
Jagithe Soku relayed the message to earth, before long the UN secretary general was the one communicating with him. Then he was overlooked and all communication was between earth and Hera.
He moved to other parts of the ship to review the engineers’ work.
A message came in from the secretary general, “Change coordinates Jagithe Soku. This is your new destination.”
There was no more communication from the meteor but he didn’t need to know. There was a message on it that the leaders on earth wanted to hear. As the graviator was turned off both him and the comet made a curve and carved an icy, glowing path towards planet earth.