Life, Love and All That
Chapter 1: Wish upon a falling star
Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, mt/ft, Fa/Fa, Teenagers, Post Apocalypse, Zombies, Slow,
Desc: Science Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1: Wish upon a falling star - Gabriel his friends and family have to learn to live in a world where the rules of biology and life have been rewritten. Some codes are withheld to avoid spoiling the story. **This has been resubmitted with the missing Chapter 5**
Ten years ago
Dr Andrea McDaniel twisted the coffee mug around so she could grasp its handle. Swearing softly, she was momentarily surprised by its heat and she pulled her long black curly hair out of her face into a hair band. She was tired, but elated and focussed. To reach this point she had completed a double degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics at MIT, worked her way to her doctorate at Stanford and then obtained employment with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She had been at NASA for 7 years now and was working in the area of her intellectual passion - Near Earth Objects. It had been a hard slog, especially for a woman in what was traditionally a man's field. The world was changing and 17 years after graduating high school, she was at the potential apotheosis of her career.
The asteroid 1998 XR12 had been closely tracked for the last 12 months with great consternation. It had been assigned a risk factor of 6 on the Torino scale, the highest rating ever achieved. There was a 17.7% chance of Earth impact on the set date, this had been kept from the public to prevent panic.
However, two months later, the risk of impact dropped to zero. This was as a result of serendipity and Dr McDaniel's work. Firstly, more refined analysis of the axis of rotation, essentially how much it 'wobbled', indicated that 1998 XR12 was going to miss by the slimmest of margins for Near Earth Objects. A mere 25 million kilometres, give or take. The second was serendipity; the alignment of Earth and Mars was such that for the first time in 50,000 years the planets were going to align. Hence Mars would partially shield its little sister planet, Earth at the right moment.
This also resulted in other unusual phenomena; the planets were in opposition, or at their shortest distance apart. To get the closest point between Earth and Mars, you need to imagine a situation where Earth and Mars are located on the same side of the Sun. Furthermore, you want a situation where Earth is at aphelion, at its most distant point from the Sun and Mars is at perihelion, the closest point to the Sun.
The astrological folk had made hay of that, forecasting everything from the end of the world to a new era of peace. She had left magic as an explanation behind in the 4th grade and in her 20's anyone enquiring into her sign had got the answer "STOP sign". She had no time for superstitious fools.
It was clear that 1998 XR12 was going to impact, but Mars, not Earth. This would result in, she felt, the greatest lab session for Near Earth Object impacts for millions of years. It had a mass of around 4 x 108 kg or four hundred thousand tonnes and at its widest point it was 315 meters. The current estimates had the energy of impact at something like a 100 megaton nuclear bomb, or 100,000 times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Dr McDaniel smiled, when the cosmos decided to do fireworks, anything else was less than trivial. She regularly told her life partner Karen that she didn't understand people's attraction to mysticism – the galaxy was amazing by itself. Love and the cosmos, she mused.
In the early stages, to her supreme irritation, Homeland Security had decided it needed to get involved. They perceived that so soon after the millennial scares of not long ago, also given the still present mood of 911 as well as numerous Armageddon movies, this could induce widespread panic.
Dr McDaniel told them they were over reacting and eventually they had agreed. She had found that non-science reporter's eyes usually glazed over when they discovered a near miss was still measured in millions of kilometres. The net result was that this had been left to the Astrophysics community sometimes reaching out to the popular science press. She guessed Homeland Security was back to harassing the poor Muslims now. With a twinge of conscience she rationalised, that was not her problem.
Now every spare trainable instrument from amateur telescopes, to the massive radio telescopes was focussed on the incoming asteroid. The data would be the fodder of many PhD dissertations. This impact would model a smaller version of the Chicxulub asteroid. That was the asteroid that had been hypothesised to end the dinosaurs and changed life on Earth forever. 1998 XR12 was of course was orders of magnitude smaller and hitting the wrong planet so could not possibly create an extinction event.
Events would go to show that big things can come in small packages from unusual places.
1998 XR12 impacted Mars longitudinally and just like a good penetrator warhead it entered the crust deeply, providing the massive energetic event that had been advertised. A $2000 Reflector Telescope was able to clearly see the pinprick flash. Due to its shape and angle of impact a large mass of Martian rock was ejected into space some of it in the direction of Earth. Most of these rocks were no larger than a basketball and would burn up on impact with the Earth's atmosphere. There was one agglomeration of rock and ice, a mixture of Martian soil and rock, mixed with original asteroid material, which measured 6 meters across at its widest point. It was now streaking to earth at over 25 meters per second or 90,000 kilometres per hour. It took just under 16 days to impact the Earth's atmosphere and 5 kilometres above the Earth's surface it exploded in an airburst.
It created a smaller version of what was called the Tunguska event, an enormously powerful explosion that occurred near the Tunguska River in an isolated area of Siberia, Russia, on June 30th, 1908. The energy released today would be estimated to be at around 5 kilotons or about a third of Hiroshima, had anyone bothered to run the calculations. Trees were flattened for over fifty kilometres from the epicentre of impact, a force that would have wrecked a serious portion of a city.
While the impact was noted and logged, especially by seismic measuring stations nearby. This was large but not investigated. The point of impact was northwest of Salonga National Park, in the Congo Basin. It was a place with one of the lowest population densities on Earth and a particularly nasty series of civil wars were coming to a close. Even the neighbouring Rwandans did not pass through the area for "peace keeping" at that time in anything less than company strength and no one was rushing in now.