R. K. Sidler
Prophecies foretelling the end of the world have permeated society for centuries, whether through entertainment, religious belief, or scientific study. While the predicted trigger is often a cause of derision, the outcome is widely accepted in unspoken acknowledgement. Some have prayed for God to return to exact judgment upon mankind, others have feared a nuclear holocaust resulting from the recklessness of world governments, and still others have imagined a major earth changing event caused by our over-consumption of natural resources. They were all wrong.
The study of the sun’s activity revolved around a base eleven-year cycle. Solar maximum and minimum variations were analyzed and catalogued. This solar cycle was used in the prediction and preparation for earth-impacting events. These events are not as widely published as the more popular tracking of comets, whose trajectories rarely come within any perilous proximity to the earth. However, contact with the earth is not the only way to kill a planet.
The anomaly was first seen in the Canary Islands using the Gran Telescopio. Thrilled at her finding, Dr. Rosa Alves took pleasure in naming the newly discovered comet Ignatio-17; it was the name of her ex-husband and the number of months he remained faithful to her. With the calculated path of the comet already determined by Dr. Alves, she believed her relationship with the comet would be as fleeting as her marriage. It would not come close enough to the earth to attract the attention of anyone outside of her department, nor would it elicit any attention from the media or popular scientific journals. But, the thrill of discovery consumed her as she documented and collated her findings for future consideration when she would once again return to view this amazing piece of rock, traveling in excess of twenty-thousand miles per hour, at its closest proximity to the earth. The reports were made, the congratulations of co-workers offered, and all other observatories worldwide were notified per standard procedure.
The reports were often disregarded as ‘conspiracy theories’ when dealing with underground facilities constructed by world governments. While the larger facilities of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, U.S.A., and the Russian complex at Yamantau Mountain are readily recognized and accepted as military installations, the remaining, fourteen-hundred plus Deep Underground Military Bases (DUMB), were known only by a few: the contractors who built them, the politicians who allocated funding for them, the wealthy financiers who appropriated space among them, and the civilian and military staff who maintained them.
They were of varying sizes, with the largest containing rail systems, vehicle motor pools, and extensive tunnel and housing sections. Food storage, water extraction from deep earth aquifers, fuel storage, manufacturing centers, science labs, education centers, and even health spas, complimented the more elaborate designs. The latest contribution to an extensive facility in the western U.S. was the invention of the geo-fusion reactor, which extracted energy from the planetary core. This produced both safe and limitless energy; far in excess of any current or future demands for the population potential of the facility itself.
The laboratories were running non-stop. Scientists and researchers were all sworn to secrecy. They knew that any leak would result in dire consequences. The threat was only a small deterrent; however, the promise to remain in safety with one’s family in the event of a catastrophe was enough incentive to do the job at hand while maintaining secrecy. Playing a part in this unprecedented research was also an incentive for cooperation. The achievements being attained were decades ahead of the modern world. This was not for the benefit of mankind as a whole, however, but only for certain privileged members; a membership those who had even a small role wished to secure.
Food was not only genetically modified it was genetically produced. Medical practices, drug development, and disease control studies advanced rapidly as they were unencumbered by common law restrictions. They frequently tested the results on unknowing volunteers under different university studies, and sometimes through controlled public releases within small communities where the population numbers were easy to monitor. The private agencies supporting these studies knew nothing of the truth behind them. The political offices of oversight approved the programs through the FDA and the CDC, while the business elite benefited financially from production. It was all carried out in the interest of the chosen few.
It was a literal microcosm of society, which experimented on, and used, the general populace to facilitate their needs, all kept secret from civilization as a whole. Those who attempted to expose what little they actually knew or suspected, were ignored, ridiculed, or for those unfortunate enough to get too close, eliminated.
It was five months to the day when Dr. Alves finally rediscovered Ignatio-17. The comet was not where it was supposed to be, and it took Dr. Alves nearly three weeks to track it down. Not only was she embarrassed, assuming her work was in error, she was also curious as to what caused such a significant change in its previous path. When Dr. Alves finished her new calculations, a look of concern covered her face. She did them again, and again, and yet a third time before she called on a colleague to do the same. After they were positive of the results, they contacted other colleagues.
No fewer than twelve different scientists and mathematicians computed the figures and they had all concluded the same thing; if Ignatio-17 remained on its present course, it would come within hundreds of miles of the sun.
Now, Dr. Alves and her department were getting a lot of attention although none of it was being presented to the public. This control was imposed by the highest authorities. She was promised due recognition after Ignatio-17 safely passed by the sun; but until then, it was classified top secret as a development concerning both national and international interests.
One by one, all other large observatories around the world were either taken over by their respective governments, or were simply closed down for an unspecified duration. Questions were not being entertained, and information was not to be disclosed. Those who violated this protocol were dealt with discreetly and efficiently.
Professor David Eccles reached for his cell phone as he pulled into traffic for the five-hour ride home. His dented and well-traveled Subaru was still as reliable as the day he drove it off the lot. His wife refused to ride in the vehicle anymore in protest for his continuing to hold on to it, so he mostly drove it when going to class or on trips such as this one. He was leaving the Kitt Peak National Observatory following one of his semi-annual visits from Northern Arizona University. Unlike all previous occasions, this outing ended abruptly when a handful of men, all attired in professional, if not strikingly similar, suits, escorted everyone out of the facility in a rather polite but firm manner, even though one of the senior staff members present was becoming quite infuriated over the prospect.
Professor Eccles was following up on an entry made a few months prior involving yet another discovered comet. He was thinking of incorporating this new find as a class project for the upcoming semester. When he first noticed the commotion outside his borrowed office, he determined that what was happening was not only quite irregular, but that his work would be affected. Before anyone could reach his office, he pressed the ‘send’ button on his computer so he could finish his work once he returned to the university.
“Hey honey, it looks like I get to do some of those things you put down on that list after all,” Eccles said into his phone.