Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects, including education and creative writing.
There it was --- the planet killer. Being six miles in diameter, it could lay waste to any heavenly body that got into its orbital path. This "chunk of rock" had the potential to send the human race onto the same path as the dinosaurs.
Or it could make one member of the human race rich beyond belief.
Captain Thornton licked his lips as his eyes glowed upon the potential that this planet killer may possess. Dollar signs flashed through his mind as he peered out the command module’s portal on the exploratory craft, King Midas.
"I have my eye on you," he whispered to himself. "I know you're a real beauty."
"Probe has a reading." Carlton, his second-in-command said, over the intercom.
Thornton turned away from that beautiful, and potentially lucrative rock and peered at the console. There, an image of Carlton appeared in holographic form.
An Asteroid's Path in the Solar System
"Take a look," Carlton replied as his image abruptly vanished.
The holographic projector in the center console produced the asteroid’s scaled image in Carlton's place. Immediately, several sections lit up in yellow, green, and red.
“Some iron and nickel," Thornton stated, a bit disappointed. "Good enough for a modest claim. But nothing new for this asteroid belt."
"There’s more," Carlton said. The entire image exploded in multiple colors.
Thornton howled with delight. This was the mother lode that he and his crew had been looking for since entering the unfriendly frontier of the main asteroid belt. This rock was loaded with every precious and rare metal that Earth and its interstellar colonies throughout the solar system demanded.
"What are we waiting for, Carlton; get your men in that landing craft! Let’s stake our claim!"
"Will do, Thor... Uh, oh,"
Thornton replied, "What do you mean oh-oh?"
"The probe has identified a marker."
Dollar signs flashed through his mind as he peered out the command module’s portal on the exploratory craft, King Midas.
Markers were unmanned crafts sent out by large corporations to stake out potential claims throughout the belt. They were illegal, considering one must send a "live" person to physically claim the asteroid. But, the regulators in control of such ventures always looked the other way when the rich and powerful - and their cadre of mercenaries - made their claims with markers.
"What do want us to do?" Carlton asked.
They came all this way. Thornton knew they were in a lawless place. But the dollar signs were swirling in his head. He glanced at the holographic asteroid. A red light flashed, indicating the marker’s location. Then, he glanced at a button.
"We have the Midas touch," he said as he pressed the button.
A missile shot from the craft and obliterated the marker. Afterward, Carlton's face replaced the asteroid on the holographic projector.
"I didn't see a marker, did you?" Thorton said sternly
"Nope." Carlton said as a sly smile stretched across his face.
Thornton gloated. Planet killer, he thought, some planet killer.
© 2014 Dean Traylor