"Gizmo" by Ehrad

 

A Singular Solution
by J. Alan Erwine

 

Jenkins hit his forward thrusters, hoping to back his ship away from the beast he was trying to maneuver into position. He could feel the titanic pull of the thing's gravity as his thrusters strained at 110% of capacity.

"Jenkins, report," a voice commanded over his com system, not realizing that he really couldn't report at the moment.

Finally, he got the ship back to the twenty-five kilometer distance he needed.
"Jenkins here. Had a minor flare out in one of my thrusters. It pushed me closer to the damn thing, but everything's alright now."

"Acknowledged," the voice said.

Jenkins stared out the forward window. He couldn't see the beast, but he knew it was there. He could still feel the pull of its immense gravity, even from this distance. In four hours, the Earth Ambassador to Mars would be notified that all Earthers were to be off the planet in 3 days, or the colonists would let their beast go and push it towards Earth, dropping a small singularity onto the planet.

It wouldn't destroy the planet, at first, but it would cause massive damage as it dropped through the Earth. Unfortunately for the Earthers, the singularity wouldn't be able to achieve escape velocity as it passed out the far side; so it would come crashing back through the planet, and this would go on until either the Earth was destroyed, or until the beast came to rest at the core of the planet, where it would slowly devour its new host.

They'd never wanted to resort to terrorism, but the Earth government wouldn't let up on the new inhabitants of Mars. "Ten more years and the planet should be completely self-sufficient, then we can discuss installing a new government," the President of the United Earth had said 12 years ago.

United Earth? Jenkins laughed. What a joke. The United Earth was about a quarter of the Earth's countries.the ones that had managed to seize control in the turmoil of the early twenty-first, seized control by demanding that other countries do what they wanted, just as they'd been doing to Mars.

When freedom didn't come, the Martian Liberation Front was formed. Stupid name, thought Jenkins, not for the first time.

"Ultimatum's been given," someone said over the com. "No response yet.

"There won't be one," Jenkins said aloud to his ship. The Earthers wouldn't believe that their beaten down ex-compatriots could develop a small singularity. If they had any doubts, all they'd have to do is check the mass spectrometers on the space stations, surely even they were feeling the small effects of the distant beast by now.

"Jenk," a voice said on a private channel. "What do you think's going to happen?"

Jenkins scratched at the stubble on his chin, not really wanting to answer. He didn't like Karpotsov, and he didn't want to talk about this anyway, so he decided to be brutally honest.

"The Earth will reject our offer, thinking we don't have the courage to do this, and then we're going to drop this thing on them. Once we do that, the Earth military on Mars will begin to kill everyone they think is involved. If we're lucky a few humans will manage to survive. Hopefully they'll be the ones that aren't stupid enough to get us into this kind of crap again."

There was a long silence, which Jenkins had expected. Finally the private channel crackled to life again. "Why didn't you say anything to anyone?"

"I did. No one listened."

"Oh."

Karpotsov finally shut up, which made Jenkins a happy man for a brief instant, one of the briefest ever.

"Attention Martian fleet, you are in violation of Earth air space, and in violation of Earth's anti-terrorism laws. You will stay where you are and wait to be boarded. Any attempt to move will result in the destruction of your fleet."

"I guess we got our answer," Jenkins again said to his ship. It was a bluff, had to be. The Earth ships were too far away to do anything, and even if they could, no one knew what that might do to a singularity.

His com crackled to life again. "The Earth has rejected our offer. All craft are ordered to drop the payload and return home."

Jenkins did as he was ordered, to a point. He released the grav beams that had been stabilizing his part of the singularity after firing thrusters to give the beast a bit of momentum as it started its journey to Earth. As the ships began to fire their engines to start the long trip back to Mars, Jenkins fired his engines and headed for the inner solar system. He left the engines on maximum burn until they stopped firing. That would put him within Venus' orbit in two months. Too bad he wouldn't be around to see it.

Jenkins pulled the plasma pistol from the side of his chair. The human race had its solution, and he had his.




Story © 2003 by J. Alan Erwine jerwine@worldnet.att.net


Illustration © 2003 by Ehrad ehrad@eraduoncomics.net




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