Weekly Short Story: Impact

There is a very real place that stories like this come from. As long as I can remember, there has been conflict in the Middle East. I genuinely do not believe there will ever be peace in that region. As long as parents bring their children up to hate others, there can obviously be no peace. Without further ado, I give you Impact.

Artwork by Adobe Firefly


The frustration on Lyle Starforge’s face could not be avoided. He was projecting his anger without saying a word. The mess hall aboard the small mining colony ship had room for about ten people at any given time. Right now, there were five and all of them could feel Lyle’s rage. Don Reyes didn’t mean to have the news channel on when Lyle walked in because he knew how angry he got. It was just dumb luck that his finger came off the remote just as the SNN or System News Network broadcast was starting.

There was more fighting in the middle east. This time six Israeli children and four Palestinian children had died. Lyle wasn’t jewish and he certainly wasn’t Palestinian but he knew tragedy and senseless death when he saw it. This conflict has been going on since long before he was born and there seemed to be no end in sight. The moments of respite were indeed short-lived and then as if on a time schedule, more death, destruction, and war.

Lyle’s last name wasn’t really Starforge. He had it legally changed when his company started making real money. Smith just seemed too generic. Starforge, now that seemed like a strong powerful name.

The mess hall intercom beeped as if purposely used to cut the tension that seemed to be on the rise since the news of the conflict was reported. The color seemed to be returning to normal in Lyle’s face as he picked up the handheld phone from the wall. “Yeah, what is it?,” he asked. “FG-778 is out of alignment sir. If we don’t go out there and correct it’s course it will get pulled into the moon’s gravity.” A female voice reported. “How much time until point of no return Jamie?,” he asked. “About 30 minutes sir.” Lyle looked down at his watch. He wasn’t sure why. It didn’t matter. If another asteroid were to hit the moon, there would be hell to pay. “I’m on my way.,” Lyle said.

It took about five minutes for Lyle to make his way to the shuttle bay. He wouldn’t be taking a shuttle but the K7s were stored here and they were meant to deal with this problem. Lyle strapped himself in and closed the hatch. A minute later, he was racing for asteroid FG-778.

He matched the rotation and began calculating the desired outcome. The math wasn’t too complex but he needed to be sure. There had been five moon strikes since his operation was given legitimacy by the United States government. He was reminded of just how illegitimate his business could become with every moon strike. The U.S. had plans to build bases on the moon and they didn’t need any more craters then it already had. After a few minutes, Lyle checked the calculations and hit the control to begin the programmed burn and nudge to get the asteroid to just the right spot so that his team could pick it up later for mining.

Overall, the operation took roughly an hour from start to finish. It was on the trip back to the ship when Lyle started thinking about the middle east again and all of those children that had been murdered. He felt like most other people felt about it. Helpless. Powerless to do anything about it. It was on this line of thinking that Lyle had his epiphany. He wasn’t powerless, unable to do anything about it. The world had been thinking about this all wrong. He glanced down at the Earth below him.

The whole conflict in the middle east could be boiled down to this one thing. At least, in his mind. You basically had two children that want to play with the same toy. They both can’t have it. They are also having trouble sharing it. Each one is claiming that they own it and neither one is willing to compromise. Perhaps, one of them lets the other play with it for a while but that eventually gets old and the child wants the toy back. So, they fight over it again and again.

In Lyle’s mind, there was really only one solution. Take away the one thing that everyone is fighting over. He began scanning the immediate area for potential solutions. The light on the communication panel started blinking letting Lyle know that he had an incoming transmission. “Yes Jamie. What is it?”

“I just wanted to confirm that FG-778 is back on a good course sir. Thank you for taking care of that.,” Jamie said. “All in a day’s work kiddo. I’m heading back shortly. I’m just running some numbers. Why don’t you take a break? I’ll keep an eye on things.,” Lyle said. “Oh, thank you sir. Don’t mind if I do. I’ll catch up with you later.” Lyle smiled. “See you later in the mess hall.” He pushed the button to end the call and went back to his calculations.

Onboard the mining ship, Jamie made her way out of the command center and down the passageway towards the mess hall. Did Lyle just flirt with her? She was attracted to him in the way that women with little money are. He would be a catch for sure. Lyle just never seemed to be interested in that sort of thing. Ever since his divorce, he became much more distant. The divorce may have been inevitable. After the death of his son, there was very little that Kyle Smith cared about except his work. Everyone told him that he would be alright and things would get better over time. Time heals all wounds, and all of that. But, the pain was still there. Jamie would have to understand that. He seemed to be opening up and she would take this as an opportunity.

Thirty minutes later Lyle began to make his way down to the mess hall from the shuttle bay. He would need to make a quick stop in the command center. It was empty. Good. Red warning lights on the command center main console began flashing. Lyle smiled. He knew where Jamie would be so he continued to head towards the mess hall. He could hear the sounds of a soccer game on the view screen and mumbled conversation.

It was another hour until the soccer game ended. Lyle wasn’t really paying attention anyway. His conversation with Jamie was taking a direction that he hadn’t wanted to go in a long while. He deserved to be happy. Maybe Jamie was the right one for him. Perhaps, exploring this direction was the way to go. Lyle looked down at his watch. “Could someone turn on the news, please?” He asked. Collective moaning ensued. “I promise not to get upset. I have a good feeling about it. Trust me.”

Don seemed to be the designated viewer remote operator so he pushed a few buttons and SNN came on. The reporter looked like the color had been forcibly drained from her face. Lyle seemed unusually calm. A small ticker went by at the bottom of the screen. The words death toll and a number that seemed to big to be true. Everyone in the mess started making noises. Some moaning, a few sighs, and silence from the one person who usually blew a gasket at news like this. Lyle smiled.

The reporter straightened herself in her chair. Fear clearly visible on her face. “The entire Middle Eastern region..,” a very awkward and lengthy pause, “…is gone.”