Meteoric

The ground is shaking with increasing intensity and regularity. I’m confident that before the sun rises my time will be up, my only consolation being the historic nature of my annihilation.

It would be amiss for me to tell this story with the implication that Lucas was the originator of the event, however his keen observations certainly led to universal surprise regarding its outcome.

His rise to fame would best be described in these circumstances and with irony as meteoric. My first encounter with him was when he was as a young academic, having recently completed his PhD in the transmutational physics of elliptical planets as they closely orbit supergiant stars. The subject had real promise and the professors encouraged him with beaming smiles and dinner party invitations, but his heart lay in the more romantic field of the search for extra-terrestrial life.

Lucas was a remarkably quiet chap, with the promise of academic fame never seeming to make its mark on the awkward and solitudanal way he carried himself. With hunched shoulders and a mop of chestnut curly hair, woman adored his mixture of innocence, intelligence and looks. Yet, despite the invitations and propositions, Lucas would defer the socialisation in exchange for more time in the observatory.

It was on one of these nights alone in the observatory that he discovered the meteoroid, AP-359. A small body by any comparison to the discoveries of celestial bodies, but of a remarkable composition. It appeared to dramatically alter the course of moons and other larger asteroids, the latter smashing into the meteor, the resulting rock embedding itself and thus gaining in size.

For the first few months Lucas tracked AP-359 admiring and wondering about its true composition, which seemed to defy the laws of conventional physics. Often, he pondered to me whether he was witnessing the unconventional birth of a black hole, as it doubled and tripled in size. Completely lost in the physical aspects of the now reclassified asteroid, he failed to notice the subtle alteration in its trajectory.

If Lucas had been even marginally self-aggrandizing, instead of studying AP-359 in secret, perhaps the scientific community would have spotted his miscalculations, but alas, with only two weeks until impact, he finally shared his discovery with his esteemed colleagues. With the hallmarks of decades of literature, society tumbled into turmoil as the full ramifications of AP-359 were felt across the globe.

As fires burnt and governments collapsed, pockets of communities sprung up, intent on their last days being in filled with the love and kindness of their closest kin. Yet, even they had blood on their hands as they defended their fortresses of love with bullets. Somewhere along this journey towards the end, I lost my good friend Lucas. I believe he resisted the urge to either hedonism or faith and stayed in the observatory as the world burned.

On the last day, the asteroid was clearly visible in the sky, leaving a trail glowing as bright as moonlight. The gravitational force pulled the water off the seven seas causing dense fog to encircle the world. Thunder rolled across the heavens as storm clouds stretched up to greet our doom, yet the hour came and went. A silent hope swept across the global, until the titans of stone and metal emerged through the fog.

The hope evaporated with the fog, as they stride across the Earth, laying waste as they go, unpurposed and uncaring, the ground shakes in their wake and tremors with their coming. Until they wipe us from the planet, Lucas will be remembered for the person that promised us the false hope of a swift and merciful end.

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