The Little Star Fish That Went Into Space
by David Kernot
Star Fish, the bright red comet, lived in peace for centuries, one generation to the next, floating in the warm tidal estuaries on coral reefs in the South Pacific. And then men came. They wore uniforms and carried guns. They were in a hurry to try and stop an ever so cold war…
One night, they strapped Star Fish to Thor, a spin-stabilized two-stage solid-propellant rocket, intent on sending her into space. They held her down, and two engines ignited, and once the correct thrust was produced, she left the concrete pad. Another engine ignited, burning bright while it coasted out of the atmosphere. There, she’d made it. The first Star Fish in space! Another engine fired, and the first stage fell away. She began to spin slowly, and she travelled higher and higher until the rocket ran out of fuel. At 1200 kilometres she stopped and the nose cone ejected. There were only the heavens filled with stars above her. A geomagnetic field sensor telescoped out and stared at her a short distance away. It looked cute.
And then she fell 600 kilometres, and 27 rockets were poised, watching her.
Four-hundred kilometres above sea level, south-west of Johnston Island, where other Star Fish were enjoying tropical tidal currents, she exploded with blinding results.
She made a big impact, running ellipsoid along the planet's magnetic field lines, with debris expanding for thousands of kilometres. Bright auroras were observed. Almost fifteen hundred kilometres away, Hawaiian streetlights died from the electromagnetic pulse. Her electromagnetic pulse created its own artificial radiation belt, and she had energised the Earth’s Van Allen belts. Nine satellites died. The artificially geoengineered radiation belt lasted for ten years.
Nature had been weaponized. ICBM’s could be confused. Communications degraded and satellites removed. Human space attackers could be irradiated. The world was now a safer place because of Star Fish’s sacrifice.
Below, the coral reefs were dredged because of fallen plutonium. But nobody remained there except for Star Fish.
A recent survey was conducted to see if the cycle continued. Would there be Star Fish, the bright red comet who once lived in peace for centuries, floating in the warm tidal estuaries on coral reefs in the South Pacific…?
Imagine. Surveyors found some brittle. Some were crowned with thorns.
But a Star Fish Comet was seen to be regenerating an arm, so perhaps all was well with the world again.
David Kernot is an Australian author living in the Mid North of South Australia. He writes contemporary fantasy, science fiction, and horror, and has over sixty short story credits in a variety of anthologies in Australia, the US, and Canada, including the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror (2011, 2013 & 2014), and Award Winning Australian Writing (2012). After taking time off to complete his PhD, he is busy writing again. More information can be found at http://www.davidkernot.com
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