Saturday, August 1, 2023, | NASA Headquarters
Within an enclosed room, a group of students was being taught many important topics regarding the cosmos. Their gaze was fixed upon a holographic projection in the center of the room and their expressions grew paler by the second as they continued to listen to their instructor's discourse.
"… in this situation you're faced with two choices; assimilate y-"
Suddenly, an alarm went off interrupting the instructor and the hologram abruptly disappeared. Afterward, a voice transmission came through.
“Dr. Lambert, report to the control room immediately!” The voice brought with it the utmost urgency as if the sky was about to fall.
“Yes, chairman.” Dr. Lambert responded respectfully while turning to face the students.
“Today’s lesson is over. You may return to your quarters. Be sure to thoroughly review what we went through today.” His voice grew stern, before continuing. “You all are the future of this world. Do not disappoint me.”
“Yes, sir!” The students shouted resolutely while rising from their seats. They fully understood the gargantuan task they had to perform soon. Dr. Lambert lightly flicked his sleeve and turned off the alarm then quickly made his way towards the control room.
With urgent steps, Dr. Lambert quickly arrived at the entrance to the control room. After entering the control room his brows furrowed as he came across a strange scene.
“Hmm? What’s going on here?”
Contrary to his expectations; inside the control room were several tens of persons at various stations working frantically. It appeared as if they were trying to prepare a report for a deadline. The control room these days was usually sparse and barely had anyone working. The room was about the size of four basketball courts. It had sufficient space to accommodate many equipment and personnel without feeling clustered; thus, this sudden change was cause for alarm.
“Excuse me, Dr. Lambert?”
A soft voice came from his left. Dr. Lambert shifted his gaze towards the source of the voice. Respectfully to the side was a beautiful young lady in waiting, wearing a fairly close fitted red dress which revealed her fair curves. The dress had a long split to the side which revealed her delicate jade-like skin. She had an ample chest and had short black curled hair. The word “flawless” could indeed be used to describe her appearance with no room for argument.
“Yes?” Dr. Lambert responded flatly, his eyes narrowing. The young woman’s heart started to palpitate after hearing his voice. It was as if his voice gave off a certain oppressive feeling which made one feel as if they’re drowning. This, along with his cold demeanor and dark attire only added more anxiety to her heart making her feel rather flustered. After struggling internally to keep her composure she continued to speak.
“My name is Veronica Fuentes; I’ve been sent by the chairman to receive you. He is waiting for you on the seventh floor. This way please.” Veronica slightly bowed while gesturing towards the elevator behind her which was already opened.
“Hmm.” Dr. Lambert slightly nodded and then proceeded towards the elevator. After Dr. Lambert walked past Veronica, she heaved a sigh of relief and took the liberty of the moment to steal a longer look at Dr. Lambert from behind, as she didn’t dare to do so while facing him directly. Customarily, doctors would wear white or at the very least a white jacket which was an emblem of their profession, but Dr. Lambert was dressed in black from head to toe. He was quite tall; about 6ft at the very least and had broad shoulders. Even though he was a bit advanced in his years, he still walked with his back ramrod straight. His hair was a deep shade of brown with a touch of grey. He wore it half caught up in a ponytail with the rest cascading down his shoulders. After Dr. Lambert entered the elevator, Veronica followed suit then pushed the button for the seventh floor. On the way up, Dr. Lambert was pondering about what could possibly be so urgent for the chairman to summon him so suddenly. After a moment…
The elevator door opened and Veronica led Dr. Lambert onto the seventh floor and walked straight ahead for a while until they arrived at a grey door. Veronica took out her access card and held it against a panel to open the door. Inside, the chairman was seen standing in front of a large glass window with his hands clasped behind his back. He wore a full grey suit and he had a head full of white hair. Behind him were his desk and three additional chairs. Currently, two were being occupied. The moment the door opened the chairman’s voice rang out.
“Dr. Lambert, thank you for joining us.” The chairman then slowly turned around, his face devoid of any expression. “I apologize for summoning you so abruptly; however, we have an urgent matter that requires your attention. Please, have a seat.” The chairman said while gesturing towards the seat in front of him.
“Thank you.” Dr. Lambert said with a slight bow then proceeded to take a seat. Veronica bowed towards the chairman and then left the room quietly. After the door closed, the chairman took a seat and his expression became solemn, he then asked, “Dr. Lambert, how goes the training for the candidates on the G.E.N.E.S.I.S programme?”
Dr. Lambert was a bit startled at the question but then answered. “The candidates are progressing relatively well. I estimate that they should be ready to join the others within the next few months. The breakthrough of the genetic enhancements has given us new hope for the future.” Dr. Lambert grew a bit more confused after he spoke and at the same time a seed of anxiety was planted in his heart. He thought to himself [It can’t merely be that he called me here for a status report on the G.E.N.E.S.I.S programme? No, he would usually send someone to collect my weekly progress report. Then there’s these two…]
“Hmm.” the chairman nodded then continued: “Dr. Lambert, allow me to introduce you to these two. This is General Shaw; he has been appointed to our compound take care of matters regarding security until the launch of the E.X.E.D.U.S ship.” The chairman then pointed to the next person. “And this is Dr. Laing from the observatory. She works here but I’m certain this is the first time you’ve seen her.”
Dr. Lambert glanced at the two; this General Shaw was wearing a black military suit fully adorned with his past accomplishments. He had a few grey hairs mixed in with his head of brown hair. He seemed to be about 50 years old, but he still looked strong and healthy as if he were in his prime at 30 years. Dr. Lambert then shifted his gaze towards Dr. Laing. Her complexion was a bit pale, but she was nonetheless captivatingly beautiful. It seemed she didn’t go out much. She had long straight black hair and wore a matching white jacket and skirt which made her look quite graceful. Her age was impossible to guess due to her youthful appearance. At a glance, she appeared to be no older than 25 years old.
After the introductions, the chairman continued: “Alright, now that we’ve completed our formalities let’s get to the heart of the matter.” He selected some options on the touchscreen interface on his desk which brought up a holographic projection of the earth which zoomed out until it was just a dot, clearly showing our solar system. Afterward, he waved his hand and sent the hologram to hover to his left in front of Dr. Laing before he continued speaking.
“Dr. Laing, if you will.”
“Certainly.” Dr. Laing rose to her feet and gave a slight bow to the chairman then turned to face the other two.
“At 13:00 yesterday my team and I discovered a new cluster of stars not too far from our solar system. At the time of their discovery, their positions were recorded and then monitored. Today during our observations, we noticed this new cluster of stars had changed positions, they got closer… After remoting into one of our satellites near O.D.I.N we used it to get a better look at those stars. What we discovered were not stars but of a cluster of meteoroids.”
“Meteoroids?” At this Dr. Lambert’s brows furrowed as he looked closer at the hologram. In his heart, he could feel that the seed of anxiety was growing into a bad premonition.
“Indeed.” Dr. Laing made a gesture which caused the hologram to zoom in on the meteoroids then continued. “The purple light that you are seeing is not from any image enhancements due to any lack of light nor is it due to the reflective property of the meteoroids but instead it comes from its own luminescence. We were unable to ascertain what this substance is from our observations. We then ran a simulation based on the two recorded positions, the time frame between the two records, our planet’s location, and orbiting speed, and it displayed that the course these meteoroids were on would eventually intercept and impact our planet.”
Dr. Lambert’s eyes went wide in shock and his pupils contracted to the size of a needle. His expression suddenly changed from his usual composed demeanor to one of a deep shock for a brief moment. “How much time do we have?”
“At their current speed, they should be here in seven weeks if faced with no obstructions.” Dr. Laing replied.
Dr. Lambert took a deep breath; he realized now why the chairman asked his question earlier. [The next batch of candidates to be evaluated won’t be until the end of the month. The current number of candidates is a mere 20,000 and less than half of them have gotten the genetic enhancement drug to undergo training for survival in outer space and what’s to be done when they return. Even fewer have been tested for genome compatibility. For them to survive in space for the next century after a nuclear holocaust on earth would be difficult for them. These children are the smartest young minds on Earth, they would be able to continue and develop the human race long after this war ends. Doctors, engineers, and specialist in the various trades and professions. This changes everything, damn!]
“Dr. Lambert.” The chairman’s voice rang out, interrupting Dr. Lambert’s trail of thoughts.
“Yes chairman,” he responded.
“I need you to expedite the screening process. We need to be fully prepared to leave by the 5th week. Just in case any, unexpected variables come into play.”
“Expedite it? That’s…” After hesitating for a moment Dr. Lambert nodded in response. “Understood.”
The chairman looked to General Shaw then spoke. “General, inform the president of the situation. This information must be kept confidential. We will only be able to put a lid on this for the next three to four weeks. Afterward, the other Major Powers will learn of this Extinction Level Event, and at that time, public order will become even more chaotic. Everyone will be able to see the meteoroids in full view as a new approaching day star.”
“I understand.” The General then rose from his seat and turned to leave, a heavy expression on his face.
“Dr. Laing, keep me abreast of the situation and inform me of any changes immediately. You’re dismissed.”
“Yes, chairman.” Dr. Laing responded with a slight bow then turned to leave.
After the door closed, the chairman let out a long sigh. He waved to dismiss the hologram and shot a hesitant look at Dr. Lambert. “Vincent…”
When Dr. Lambert heard the chairman call him by his given name he knew something was amiss, something serious had happened. “Your son, he…” The chairman’s voice trailed off. Dr. Lambert’s heart suddenly shook…