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The Spectator
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 by Frank Shortt
2017 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved

   The news blasted the headlines as a prophecy of doom on this hot day in 2220.


Could cause widespread damage on impact!

  What were we to do?

The exact place of impact was not known therefore no one could prepare for anything.

Our little town of Mirk on the planet Mars was like a cemetery around the middle of the day. Every shop closed down, all places of entertainment were empty, every park and mall deserted. A stranger would think that time had ended.

 I, Gorp, a licensed Lieutenant patrolman and up for promotion, would have little to do on my rounds today. So I thought!

 I began the day with my usual breakfast of two capsules of protein, with a soy-like liquid to wash them down. That done, I went to the sink to wash the red dust of sleeping from my features.

 On reading the headlines, my thoughts sprang to Tring, who had been taking up a lot of my thought waves recently. She was the most beautiful being I had encountered in Mirk. Her whole being exuded loveliness. She presented a perfect specimen of Martian art.

“What will become of my pet drog?” He was a clone consisting of part frog and part dog. He was able to smell any known scent and was able to snap his food out of the air without moving, with his long, wagging tongue. I really prized my drog.

Turning on the thought-o’vision with a quick snap of my thought waves, the image on the screen began a long narrative about all the possibilities of damage from the Asteroid.

If this thing hits us it’ll leave a crater seventy-five miles across and probably split the planet in half. Anything in its way will be instantly destroyed!

“What a way to start my day!!

I winked the screen off and decided to head to the Patrol station.

We had recently remodeled the station and had installed a large laser beam to intercept foreign objects that could possibly wander into our solar system.

The Sergeant at the desk greeted me with his most reassuring smirk and began to gripe about, “all the things that come along to make life on this planet miserable.”

“Oh, we’ve had it pretty good up until now,” I replied nonchalantly. If we had it any better we wouldn’t know how to take it.”

 “You couldn’t prove it by me,” the bitter sergeant growled.

 This Grumpy Sergeant was somewhat new on our Patrol and had come from Gleag, somewhere to the east. It was rumored that he was in trouble with the mayor of Gleag and had been asked politely to leave. Our shortage of men had compelled us to hire him without a thorough background check.

“Some folks would complain if they were to be hung with a new wireless cable,” I thought as I left the room.

     I put on my patrolman’s armor, wandered over to the door and bade the sergeant a ‘good infinity’ without giving the impending doom any more space in my overstocked intelligence. I needed to expend some of my energy toward the crime wave that had recently been spreading in the town of Mirk. Young Mirkians were trying to accumulate all the latest technology without having to spend an ounce of energy for it.

 Energy was our medium of exchange and when one wanted something someone else had, a certain amount of energy could be given to the other being in exchange. The energy received by that individual could be stored in a battery compartment for future use. Most Mirkians had a ready supply for future living. The only thing that could cause immediate concern would be a giant catastrophe that would drain us of all our life giving source.

     No one knew the first being to begin expending energy in Mirk. Some old timers said that a stranger came into our area  one day and brought the first sign of life to the future Mirk, and had began making other beings like himself. As the Mirkians began to multiply, then each being was able to exchange energy as was needed. It was also said that the first Mirkian was killed by the more zealous citizenry in order to have more energy for themselves. Mirk had grown to be a sizable town by the time I was first conceived. I was given energy by my progenitors, but just enough to sustain life in my own body. I must say that by the time I was fully matured, I was pretty energetic as I was a skillful trader.

     As I approached the home of the Drak family my central being began to pulsate abnormally. This was probably because of their young, beautiful female offspring named Tring. I had seen her several times before and had even entertained the thought that I might like living with her even more than Drog. She sat on the ground in front of their dwelling looking like a picture of pure energy. I thought, Boy, the two of us could really manufacture enough energy to sustain life even if other little branches should happen along.

She must have been thinking along the same lines as she said to me, “Do you think the disaster is as imminent as the communications have predicted?”

“We’ll just have to wait and see, I’m sure that the damage won’t be as widespread as is projected, I assured her. We just installed the new laser at the Patrol station and I’m sure it can disintegrate most of the object before it reaches ground level.”

 Of course, most of this was just youthful bravado. I had been known to swagger a little as my energy level was superior to most other young males of Mirk.

     We communicated for a short while, saying a lot in the space we were given, and then duty called me into another area of Mirk. Some young bucks were harassing an older Mirkian trying to rid him of some of his worldly belongings.

As I approached the trio of youths, one began pulling a laser expender with the intention of ridding me of some of my built-up energy.

“Drop the expender and throw up your appendages, I commanded. You’re all under arrest.”

 The brave one insisted on drawing his weapon. I was just a mite faster sending the life expending rays his way and thus my energy was expanded to a higher level. This was somewhat like the legends passed down by our progenitors about a tribe known as Apache who believed that if one killed the other, the killer took on the life of the other. Of course, ours was of a different nature and we could see the results of being infused with the energy taken from another. For some odd reason I did not enjoy expending the youth into eternity.

The other two youths, seeing that I meant business, fled the scene, transporting their beings to another area of Mirk where their combined energies would assure their safety. This was known as the ‘Safety Zone’.

     The old being, running short of energy, would have given me some of his precious life. Realizing that he was near his last ounce of strength, I had not the heart to take anything from him. Instead, I gave him a shot of the extra I had gained from the dying youth. His appreciation was stupendous.

 “I will repay,” he cried. There will come a time when I will be able to return the energy you have given me to sustain life in my body. I knew your progenitors and I always knew that you would be an asset to Mirk.”

His identity was Torg.

    I began to wonder if the three youths were the cause of the recent outbreak of crime in Mirk. If I could confiscate the energy of the other two, this would put a stop to the wave of infiltration on the older citizens of our town.

As I rounded a corner, heading toward the Safety Zone, a laser beam narrowly missed my upper torso, cutting the side out of the nearest edifice and nearly hitting the power plant that supplied lighting to Mirk. It was one of the offending youths who had ventured out of the Safety Zone and was under the impression that he could slay me and transport my life giving energy to his being. His crime, although being against my person, was not as severe as what his laser would have done to the power plant. I had no alternative but to hunt him down and extinguish his energy. I didn’t have to wonder any longer who was behind the latest rash of burglaries in the town.

“Drop the laser, I commanded, place yourself on the ground and do not move.”

He probably figured that I would spare him because of his youth, but I had no intention of doing so as he had desecrated our town and I was able to perceive that he and his companions were the cause of the problems in Mirk.

The remainder of the job only took a second. I once again felt strange for having to expend this youth into the next life.

I moved on toward the Safety Zone to try and flush out the other youth and lure him out long enough to dissipate him. This could take considerable energy, so I was glad of the extra that I had just gained from the second expended youth.

     As I approached the area where the third youth could be waiting, I was extra cautious not to be seen or heard. I knew him to be the ringleader of the group and therefore would have considerable more energy than the other two. It was not long before I heard a gurgling sound from inside the compound. It was probably the youth drinking soy liquid in order to replenish his courage. I waited until he was finished.

With a voice of pure femininity I purred, “What are you doing today, Big Boy, I’m sure that if you would meet me by the power plant we could make music together.”

 Big Boy didn’t know what to reply at first but finally said, “I’ll be there at two o’clock sharp, and you make sure you have everything ready.”

“I’ll be glad to get things ready”, I replied in my most demure communication.

Big Boy was in for a bigger surprise. The lure of a sensuous female was the greatest weakness of this youth who thought himself to be a leader of men. He didn’t realize that her tongue was sharp as a scorpion and her bite as deadly as a serpent.

 Meanwhile, I went back to the Patrol Station where the Sergeant was in a tizzy about the Asteroid.

 “It’s getting closer by the second, now they’re saying that it could arrive at four o’clock this evening. What are we to do about it?”

“Nothing, I replied. We’ll just have to sit it out and when the time comes, I’m sure that the powers that be will have an answer for us.”

 “But we’ve never had an object of this magnitude approaching our planet before,” the Sergeant whined. I’m not ready to expend all my energy for a bunch of ungrateful beings that would take all of our energy if given half the chance.”

 “The only thing that prevents that is because of the lasers that we were fortunate enough to devise.”

 I said no more.

 I knew that the positive energy of our planet was all that kept other energies from completely annihilating us. If the last member of our society was drained of life, then the powers around us would be completely free to do whatever their innermost beings desired.

     I had never given it an extra thought that the Sergeant had been sent to drain us of the energy that we had left. Nor did I even consider that he would try to use the Asteroid to his advantage in order to carry out his nefarious schemes. How he planned to do this, I’m sure he didn’t know either. I had taken his acquaintance as a matter of course in a partially depleted Patrol and had never questioned his motives as I figured the Captain knew what he was doing when he took him on. The salary we were paid, twelve components of energy a month, was not the greatest source of income in the universe. We were able to keep any energy we were able to accumulate by other means. These ‘means’ must be legal.

    Somewhere, out in the limitless space, there reigned a ‘Power’ that had control of all the planets. I’m sure he had a handle on this particular incident that promised doom to our town and possibly our planet. Otherwise, where would such energy come from?

 I had never communicated with this ‘Power’ before, but in light of the coming disaster I trained my thought pattern in His direction and began to talk to Him in much the same way that I would communicate with the citizenry of Mirk.

 “Sir, If it would be your will that energy continue on this planet, I would count it an honor if you would reveal to me the way to offset the coming disaster and be able to sustain life as we know it.”

 A peace that passed all the knowledge of our system came over my being and I knew from that moment that I would be able to do the right thing at the right time.

 That afternoon, around quarter to two, I once again armored up and left the Patrol Station to rendezvous with the last of the wayward youths that had been menacing Mirk. If he should take me out, chaos would reign in our town. If I was able to overcome him, we would be at least safe until the Asteroid hit our area. Then What?

These and other thoughts bothered my conscience as I strode toward the Power Station. The uppermost one in my mind was Tring, whom I considered in my future thoughts as being my Beloved.

 What would become of her if I was expended?

 I couldn’t stand the thought of having Big Boy take her as a companion. She was much too beautiful for one such as he. There was only one thing to do.

     I stationed myself in much the same position that I had been in when accosted by youth #2 and relaxed for the wait. It wasn’t long before Big Boy wandered into the open space between the Safety Zone and the Power Plant.

“Drop the laser, I commanded in my roughest tone, don’t even think of trying to use it on me.”

 Big Boy’s reaction was one of awe and consternation. Instead of raising the weapon as he intended, he threw it down on the carpeted terrain and began to beg for mercy. This was unheard of in Mirk. I was taken aback myself, not having had anyone ever do this. As much as I wanted to expend his energy, I at once thought of the conversation I had just had with the Highest Power and reasoned in my mind, “What would He do in a situation like this?”

My answer came in the words of Big Boy.

 “I can be of great help to you in the face of the coming disaster,” not knowing that he had any thought of the Asteroid.

I carefully lowered my weapon, walked closer to Big Boy, and we somehow, at that moment, began to understand why we were given the energy we possessed. We were to be the Saviors of all the other beings. Big Boy, in the face of imminent death, had realized his purpose!

Three o’clock came with no immediate hope of salvation.

As Big Boy and I sauntered into the Patrol Station, we noticed the Sergeant jumping up quickly from the giant laser control.        

“Why are you touching the laser?” I inquired.

“Oh, I was just curious as to its ability”, the sergeant lied!

Big Boy and I knew down deep inside that he was lying. His countenance gave him away. We knew that there was one switch that could direct the beam to any area that the operator chose to point it and that it would only affect that area. We began to put two and two together. If the Sergeant could direct the force to just part of the Asteroid and cause that part to disintegrate, then the area it was to affect would be a place of Safety. He, and who he chose to go with him, would be safe in that area.

 We could not merely accuse him of conspiracy. We had to catch him red handed at just the right moment, then we would spring our trap on him.

We did not realize at the time that he was an evil force dwelling in a body like ours. When a being eats like you, dresses like you, talks the same talk, and seemingly displays the same values as you, it is hard to accuse him of being evil.

Big Boy and I went behind the lead curtain of the Patrol Station so that we could discuss the matter without other snooping senses. We must figure a way to stop the Sergeant and at the same time save as many beings as possible.

“If the sergeant goes for the laser we must expend him,” I whispered.

“No matter what happens, you must take control of the laser, Big Boy replied. I will keep the sergeant’s attention so that you can do what’s needed.”

“Quiet! We must not be heard.”

It was hard for one as large as Big Boy to be discreet. Our nerves were at the breaking point. To sit still was a stupendous effort. Much energy was expended to control our emotions.

     As four o’clock drew closer and closer, I could think of no way to relieve the Sergeant of his duties early. Big Boy and I crouched behind the lead curtain awaiting any sign that the sergeant would spring his little trap.

Two minutes left, the Sergeant began to edge toward the laser. Every nerve in our bodies stretched tautly like a tightly wound stringed instrument.

           “I wonder what Tring is doing? What must my progenitors be thinking?”

           Zero hour!

The giant Asteroid spun into our atmosphere, blazing furiously. Its capacity was overwhelming in size! It headed straight for Mirk!

     Just then the Sergeant made a leap for the laser.

“Let’s go Big Boy, I cried. Let’s do our all for Mirk!”

Big boy and I rushed from behind the lead shield, approaching the Sergeant at the speed of light. The Sergeant only had time to draw his laser and fire at the ever screaming Big Boy, immediately disintegrating all his faculties. This allowed me time to direct my laser at the Sergeant expending all his energy.

 I then was able to take complete control of the large laser.

Liquid oozed down my brow. My overworked nerves pounded against my temples to the point of apoplexy. Every ounce of energy I possessed was directed toward making sure that the beam was pointed straight toward the right half of the Asteroid.

My rapidly diminishing energy was used to push the large laser button at just the right moment.

Thank you, Highest Power! I breathed as I shoved the button to the fullest extent.

The Laser disintegrated the whole right side of the asteroid, saving that area of Mirk. The ensuing explosion was enough to shake Mirk to her very foundation.  This allowed the left half of the meteor to swerve from its path. It landed just outside the town limits, affecting only a few farmers and ranchers.

“Thank you, Highest Power! I breathed. We owe you our all.”

 Our laser protected most of Mirk’s citizens. I relaxed, knowing that the greatest amount of my energy had been expended for the good of all. As the Mirkians came rushing in the door, they were more than glad to add to my dwindling supply. One who gave me most was an old Mirkian named Torg. He had not forgotten!

A memorial service was held later for Big Boy, the farmers, and ranchers who had sacrificed so much that we remaining Mirkians could sustain life. 

“Tring, it is time that we mingled our energies for all time,” I proposed.

“I am so proud of you, she replied. I am extremely happy to be part of one so brave and true as you.”

I couldn’t help but think what a great sacrifice Big Boy had made for us.

“Let’s name him Big Boy,” I suggested as the first offspring arrived.

I wished to honor his memory as he was the real hero of the hour.

“That is a wonderful idea, Tring agreed. I am sure that he will take on the attributes of that brave soul.”

  He grew exceedingly fast, considering he had two energies to draw from. He is now a Patrolman working out of the same Station that I am a member of. I will retire soon allowing Big Boy to take on all security of Mirk.

 Our jobs at present are a little less dangerous. We offer classes on how to preserve energy and how to use the energy in a more positive direction. Most Mirkians are willing to take these classes knowing that the least energy expended on foolish things, the longer their life expectancy.

 Overall, I’d say that the whole Martian planet has benefited from little Mirk’s experience with the Asteroid. Records were made of all that transpired and sent to all the other provinces.

 Sometimes, great adversity causes one to turn to the ‘Only’ help, the Master Energy. He in turn directs the actions of the one seeking help, to do the right thing at the right time.