Featured Review on this writing by Vance Currie


Written for a challenge at the BoMoWriCha House. Cover by Booksie member Fatal-Exit. https://www.booksie.com/users/fatal-exit-194111


The Ghost Of Major Tom

It had not been far into the journey when trouble occurred. Damage from a meteorite that had to be put right before the rocket plunged back to Earth before even passing the Space Station. If any of them would be able to survive the astronauts would simply never be able to live it down. They would certainly never make it out into space again.

Major Tom had taken it upon himself to go out into space and carry out the necessary repairs. And he’d done it, fixed it, but at the cost to his own life. The mission ended up being a success and the crew all made it back to Earth except the Major.

He deserved to be remembered as more than one who lost his life just after they’d left the Earth’s gravity. The crew made up a story of a storm way out in space to let it seem that Tom had made it much further than he had. He was remembered as a hero, which he was.

The thing was that although Major Tom died almost instantly, he did not realize that himself. He, or rather his ghost, drifted round in space, in time, in some kind of insanity. No one would see him, not unless he wanted them to, and that was a rare occurrence.

He remembered nothing after a while, about his life on Earth at least. Not remembering meant that he could not miss it, or anyone that he had left behind. His sole memory involved a message from Ground Control to Major Tom; his name, that was all he had left apart from his suit that held his ghost together.

It was a strange thing but it always seemed that those on the planet, misjudged the dangers that were floating just above them. Did anyone but him appreciate how close that pretty small planet had come to being obliterated by a meteor, of being flung from it’s orbital course? He doubted it. If they did, then they certainly did a good job of keeping it out of the public’s knowledge.

And then there was the space junk. Piles and piles of it, all drifting up not so very far from the planet’s surface. Disused and abandoned satellites for the most part, that had fallen to pieces over time; each one capable of doing critical damage to any scheduled mission.

There were other things floating around too, made of substances that the Major could not identify. He had no idea how much time had passed since he had been on Earth, how many new substances had been developed. The only other explanation for their being there was that Earth was not alone in making space flights around the planet.

He drifted around, in and out of consciousness, that message sounding occasionally in his scattered mind. Major Tom, that’s who he was. Haunting, spectral, a space ghost.

Right from the start he had set himself a mission, a purpose for his continued presence. He became a guide.

The Major would watch for any launches, and would then track their paths, overtaking them and looking for any imminent or approaching hazards. If he saw something that he judged to be dangerous, then he would appear, somewhat hazily, in front of the ship and guide it to safer space.

He’d lost count of how many rescues he had made, how many dangers had been dodged because of his own intervention but it was a lot. Mostly he assisted on their outward bound voyages, only occasionally becoming involved in their returns. Was that because of how he lost his life? And what was life anyway; he was still there, drifting....Major Tom.

There was something about this approaching ship, though, something not right. Everything about it screamed out unfamiliarity, from its construction, to its shape. And when he tuned in to the transmissions, he could not understand a word. The voices did not sound human in any way, shape or form.

What should he do?

If it was just a stray ship, passing extra close to the planet, it probably was not even worth him noticing it. But supposing it was a scout, sent out to find targets to invade. Supposing it’s presence so near to Earth was planned and not the slightest bit accidental.

He could guide it into a satellite. The problem was knowing whether that would cause any inconvenience, let alone any damage. It looked strong, whatever it was constructed from. It had taken a battering, the Major could tell that from the scratches on its surface; there were no bumps or dents to be seen, no sign of any repairs having been made either.

Of course, he could also ignore it. Look the other way and let whatever will be will be. After all, he was no longer a resident of the planet, would never ever return. Would it make any difference to him if the Earth was no longer there?

No, not personally, but no doubt he had ancestors, distant family still there. Perhaps he should think of them, do the right thing and step in to protect it.

Tom did not want to chance causing an inter-galactic war. That would be catastrophic to the entire universe, maybe even beyond. There had to be another way.

Guidance! That was the answer. He was used to guiding things past obstacles, but they were so much smaller than a planet. He would have to step in really fast, or it would be too late; they would already have the planet in view. Another thing....would they, whoever they were, even notice him?

It was worth a shot. He appeared in the distance but it seemed he was invisible to it. Major Tom went closer, closer still, but it was not until he made actual contact with the ship that there was any indication that he had been sighted at all.

With a flash and a sizzle the astral astronaut was hurled away from the ship, spinning and turning with a sickening speed. He was loosing any sense of himself as he spiralled off with no control over his movements....Ground Con...Tom....

The ship turned, the ship followed; wherever it was heading for now was not planet Earth. It was all so unfamiliar to Major Tom. He had no idea where he was or what was where. He was simply drifting through space, through time, until his suit was caught on some sharp piece of junk, so firmly that it tore.

With the tear, Tom’s ghost began to fade, sucked out and dissipated among the moons, the stars, the planets....ashes to ashes, space dust to space dust.

 

(1109 words).


Submitted: September 13, 2018

© Copyright 2022 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

Jeff Bezaire

Now I'll be listening to Bowie. Thanks, Hully!
An interesting idea to think about: are there ghosts in outer space? I'm not sure they could survive in space, as ridiculous as that sounds. haha! Space is a dense vacuum, and I think ghosts need magnetic vibrations and some kind of atmosphere to materialize; it's more than a matter of being dead and not wanting to cross over.
You do a good job of addressing things I think many people overlook about space and the field of space exploration - the reputations of the astronauts and the agency, the criticality of each mission, the amount of junk floating in space that we've left there over the decades. How easy it is to forget that we've been polluting space since the late '50s.
This is a well written space odyssey, Hully. Major Tom, the friendly ghost. An unexpected turn at the end, but no one can predict space nor what we'll find there. It's a great mystery much like that ship. Nicely done!

Thu, September 13th, 2018 7:23pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Jeff. The prompt was to write about a space ghost, and it immediately brought those two songs to mind. I'm not confident about writing anything sci-fi really, being totally clueless about the science behind it all, but I did like the idea that ghosts could be floating around up there.
Glad you enjoyed it.

Thu, September 13th, 2018 12:46pm

Vance Currie

Brilliant. I love this story, Hully. This is a wonderful thing about fiction. Things can be whatever you want them to be. You don't need to be a scientist to write science fiction, and you don't have to be dead to write about ghosts. I know a fellow who died and found that there were no such thing as ghosts, but he wasn't able to tell anyone because there was no such thing as him any more, either.

Thu, September 13th, 2018 10:51pm

Author
Reply

Thanks so much, Joe. You really brought a smile to my face this morning!

Fri, September 14th, 2018 12:59am

jaylisbeth

I'm not a fan of Sci-Fi but I am a fan of this story you have written. Well done. Hully :)

Fri, September 14th, 2018 1:09pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, jaylisbeth. I wouldn't usually write sci-fi, being too worried about being picked up by science buffs, but I did like the idea of a space ghost. I'm glad that you enjoyed the read.

Fri, September 14th, 2018 9:29am

Mike S.

I see many long comments here, not me, excellent is all I can say!

Fri, September 14th, 2018 3:34pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for that, Mike!

Fri, September 14th, 2018 9:26am

unmasked delusions

I had to click because of the title. What a thought provoking piece. I think there's more to space than meets the eye. Parallel dimensions, angels, demons, and who knows what else. Love what you did with Bowie's character. You really did him and the prompt justice.

Sat, September 15th, 2018 10:12pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for that, unmasked. I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story. The idea of space ghosts was one that really appealed to me.

Sun, September 16th, 2018 1:37am

unmasked delusions

I wonder if major Tom's related to rocketman? Ha

Sat, September 15th, 2018 11:01pm

Author
Reply

Haha! Could be on to something there, unmasked!

Sun, September 16th, 2018 1:38am

Facebook Comments

More Science Fiction Short Stories