In Need Of Each Other

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: The Imaginarium


Independent of each other doesn't mean you don't need each other.

Submitted: October 23, 2017

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Submitted: October 23, 2017

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“Did you know the Moon is constantly moving away from us? Before all this happened, I mean. The Moon was always moving, very slowly, away from us. From the Earth. Rather than the Moon orbiting the Earth and the Earth orbiting the Sun as everyone knows. In actual fact both celestial bodies were in autonomous analogous orbit around the Sun.”

“What?” I asked.

His sore eyes looked at me for clarification and he understood.

“‘Autonomous analogous orbit’ means they are together in space but actually independent of one another. The moon doesn’t revolve around the Earth. We both move around the Sun.'”

“Really? So...” I paused. “Why aren’t you celebrating like everyone else? After all, you are our saviour.”

At the mention of ‘saviour’ my brilliant husband threw his head into his hands and groaned like his world was coming to an end. I looked down at the unopened bottle of Bollinger in my hand and then up at the hysterical wreck sitting beside me on the sofa. He wasn’t just my husband, and my life, but the person who saved our planet.

I put the celebratory champagne and glasses on the coffee table and put my arms around his. After a few minutes he started speaking in short gasps that were more a confession than an explanation.

“No-one understands.”

I knew not to say a word.

“I haven’t saved the world. I’ve doomed us all” he wept.

My eyes moved from the distraught face of my beloved to the newspaper beside the champagne.

‘THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD’ read the headline. And just underneath was a picture of my Nigel. Not smiling or celebrating. Just serious and alone. Almost a mug shot. Beside him an image of asteroid IM-2719.

“Did your plan not work? Is there something we’re not being told?”

Nigel wiped his face and pulled away. He breathed deeply and turned to face me.

“It did work” he said as if I was questioning his profession. “It worked perfectly. We identified IM-2719 two years ago and almost immediately calculated that this giant meteor was on a collision course with Earth. The ‘planet killer comet’ as the tabloids called it.”

“Darling, I know all this. An ‘Armageddon-style’ mission was just not possible so your plan was decided. But I thought it worked.”

“It did work. The 5 nuclear missiles hit IM-2719 in exactly the location I chose, detonated, and altered its course.”

“And the Earth was saved. By you!” I said through a smile.

Nigel put his head in his hands again and started crying. Not knowing what to do, I turned to the coffee table and popped open the champagne. Nigel raised his tear-streaked face.

“What are you doing?”

“Having a drink” I said grumpily while pouring.

“Why don’t you understand?”

“Understand what? You, the man I love, saved me, our family and everyone on this planet from extinction. I think that deserves a drink.”

“But you do understand what happens now?”

“Yes, of course. The asteroid was knocked off course and is headed off towards the sun.”

“And when it comes back?”

“Oh yeah. It’s going to hit the moon. But that’s not going to make any difference.” I smiled and picked up the paper. “So the scientists tell us.”

My smile collapsed as I saw the fury in his eyes.

“Tell me” I said. Nigel took and sunk my entire glass of champagne in one, deep breath.

“Do you know what hypersonic speed is?” he didn’t wait for me to answer. “Hypersonic is the fastest speed humanity has created on Earth, about 5,000 metres per second. This is approximately 3 times the speed of the fastest, magnum bullet. IM-2719 is traveling at over 85,000 metres per second. 17-times faster than anything we have ever known on Earth. When it hits the moon, on its return journey, we will witness the greatest explosion mankind has ever seen.”

“But that will be up there, right? In space. It won’t affect us down here? So they say.” I said, pointing to the newspaper.

“Yes. The explosion won't kill us. Do you remember what I told you when you first sat down?”

“About... the Moon... has always been independent of the Earth?” I said confused.

“Yes. The Earth and Moon are independent of each other. So independent, in fact, they are moving, ever so slightly, away from each other. But that was happening on a geological timescale. Humanity would never witness it happening. Well, this ‘planetoid’ is going to hit the moon in precisely the worst spot. Exactly as I did to that piece of rock to bump it off course. This ‘nudge’ will power the momentum and accelerate the moon moving away from the Earth.”

“So? So what? We won’t have werewolves any more?”

Nigel looked deep into my eyes just as he had when we said our vows.

“We will now be able to visibly see the moon move away from us. While the sun is the lifeblood of the Earth, the moon is nature’s maestro. As the distance between the Earth and the moon grows the first thing we will notice is the end of the tides. Ninety percent of fish in the sea rely on this ecology so we will witness the death of all life in the oceans. In a few years the moon’s gravitational effect on our planet will cease. The moon is a counter-balance to the sun’s gravity. Our axis will destabilize, tilting the planet back and forth. Over one person’s lifetime equatorial Earth could languish under miles of ice while the poles become lush jungles. So the driving forces behind our uniquely balanced climate will be gone. No more jet streams and ocean currents. Only about one percent of all life on Earth, not just human life, will survive...”

There was nothing I could say to the man I love.

“I should have left it alone. At least the impact from IM-2719 would have killed us instantly. Now mankind, and all life on Earth, faces a slow, agonizing death...”

“...all because of me.”
 
I held his head in shock. My eyes lumbered around the room and stopped on the champagne bottle now sitting on the headline THE MAN... THE WORLD.

 


© Copyright 2018 Thom Goddard. All rights reserved.

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