This is my first attempt at some semi serious writing – Dark Horizons is a short story about the New Horizons space probe and the discovery that was made that was totally unexpected. I hope you enjoy it and I welcome all comments on it. Other chapters will follow…
Dr Henry Jeffries sat back in his chair, thoughtfully chewing the arm of his glasses. Running through the checklists and requests for the last stages of the new Horizons mission, he could feel his eye lids getting ever heavier. The preparations for the flyby meant that he hadn’t slept for over 36 hours and the fatigue was catching up with him despite his growing excitement. As Henry was contemplating what needed to happen next a knock as his office door brought him back from his train of thought. He motioned for Fredric and Karl to enter, the door opened and they both march in chattering away, it seemed there had been some excitement.
“Henry, we think found another new moon” Karl proudly announced
“You think?” Henry questioned inquisitively, slightly confused, still shaking off the fatigue.
Fredric added “It’s very small, we’re talking only a few kilometres across and the shape is irregular too. If it was formed from the impact that created the Pluto system it could be a chunk of material thrown up that will give us a good idea of what’s inside Pluto. Or of course it could be a captured asteroid”
“There’s no risk of the probe colliding with this new moon?”
“No, but the probe it will pass very close” Karl reassured Henry. “We’re thinking about naming the new moon Obol” he added.
Both Fredric and Karl sat on the small sofa on the other side of the office. Getting up, Harry walked round an perched on the other side of his desk. Putting his glasses back on, he looks up at them, all chatter had stopped as Fredric and Karl waited for Henry to say what was clearly on his mind.
“I’ve just been going through the final actions for the flyby, the heading is now set and there’s no need for changes and the camera sequences are all set up, is that correct?”
“We would like to modify some of the camera and data capture sequences to be able to get a good look at Obol” Frederick interrupted.
“Can we afford the change? What if this this causes a problem or failure, we only have three days to the flyby” Henry responded with a concern brought by experience. He knew full well that changing things, especially at short notice was risky.
“I know we can do this Henry” Fredric replied
“Karl?” Henry looked to him, hoping he would air on the side of caution, but he knew too well that this was a slim hope. Karl nodded.
“We can do this, we’ve already created the program sequence, we just need the authority to give it to the mission programmers”
Reluctantly Henry nodded. “Ok, I would like this to be checked and done carefully, I don’t want any foul ups”
“But we don’t have much time…” Fredric intervened
“No, we do this carefully Fredric – no arguments” Henry didn’t like change and he didn’t like this, but even he was curious to see this new discovery and secretly was excited about it. “So it looks like you guys have some work to do, you better get on – I’m going to turn in, don’t carry out the upload until I’m back please”
Karl and Frederic got up “sure” they both agreed as they left. Henry allowed himself a smile as he thought how grown men can turn into little boys with only a little excitement. Henry walked from his office and down the corridor that led to the exit, as he passed a few of the other scientist they nodded and smiled, he replied in kind. One of the young lads held the door open as he left the building.
Copyright 2015 Simon Farnell
No Ownership claimed to image.