Xing Saga Part 20 – Please Explain
Mount Barker, South Australia
After missiles are launched from the Earth space station near Jupiter, the hapless station chief, Charlie has a lot of explaining to do …
As the missile struck the fighter craft, creating a spectacular explosion, Snoopy felt a pang of grief at the death of the brave soldier inside, Amblecot was his name. She would make sure no one forgot his sacrifice. The second missile missed and shot past harmlessly. The other fighter craft protecting the colony ships now awaited her orders.
‘The attack originated from the Earth space station near Jupiter, but the United Earth government denies any involvement. Take a couple of craft and go to the station. Contain the threat. They’ve got some explaining to do.’
The craft left immediately, while Snoopy reviewed her options. She could hit the station with an EMP, but that might be extreme—she didn’t want to condemn the occupants to death. Not yet, anyway. She shivered as she thought of what might have happened if the missile had hit a colony ship. So much could have been lost. While the space station was rendered harmless she’d better get on with landing the fleet on Mars, though the excitement and anticipation of this was now tar-nished by the cowardly attack.
Meanwhile, on the space station there was utter chaos.
‘Oh my God! We’re so dead!’ shrieked one of the controllers as the two alien craft hurtled towards them.
The station’s chief, Charlie Jones was panicking big time as the implications of this disaster became clear to her. Security staff had subdued the culprit, Mad Mickey, but what was going to happen now? Her support staff were desperately trying to discover how Mickey had broken through security protocols to launch the missiles. It should not have been possible. This attack may have sparked a war between the aliens and the people of Earth. Who was going to believe it was just an unfortunate sequence of events—an accident really? No, if heads were going to roll, hers would be first on the block.
An image appeared on all their screens. It was red, metallic and cross.
‘This is commander SnoopyLoo of the imperial Xing colony fleet. Who is in charge there?’
‘Um, that would be me. Admiral Charlene Jones of Earth space station Jericho.’
‘I’m sure you have a pretty good idea why two of my security vessels are arriving in your airspace?’
‘Please don’t kill us!’ Charlie was on the verge of tears and didn’t feel very well.
‘We will reserve judgement until we have heard your explanation. So, please explain.’ Snoopy’s grim expression only added to the fear of imminent death just about everyone on the space station was now experiencing.
‘It was Mad Mickey! He’s usually just a bit eccentric, but he’s gone off his meds and we didn’t know until it was too late.’ Charlie knew she was ranting, but hoped the metal nemesis would keep up.
‘He’d been watching a recording of this interview on television, you see. And there was this crazy chap going on about aliens attacking the Earth, and Martians and abductions and goodness knows what. But he said “We should just shoot them out of the skies while we’ve got the chance”, and Mickey thought the voice was telling him what to do, so he did it.’
‘I see,’ said Snoopy, ‘and where was everyone else while this was going on?’
‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I take complete responsibility. He was very sneaky about it and no one noticed. What we are still investigating is how he got through our security measures to actually launch a weapon. He was certainly not authorised to do so. He’s schizo.’
‘Schizo? Is that a mental condition? What was he doing working on a space station then?’
‘We have an obligation to employ people with physical and mental disabilities. It’s the law,’ muttered Charlie, lamely.
‘So, what do you plan to do about your actions? How do you propose to compensate the family of the brave metalbot who sacrificed himself to save a colony ship from certain destruction?’ Snoopy’s voice rang with anger. Charlie felt she was shrinking to the size of a pea, a lowly amoeba, soon to disappear through an approaching black hole. She broke down and sobbed desperately.
‘Perhaps we should question this “Mad Mickey”?’ suggested Snoopy who was rapidly losing patience with this so-called Admiral.
‘Of course, if you like,’ said Charlie, ‘but you won’t get much sense out of him now he’s been sedated.’
Mad Mickey was pushed in in an automated wheelchair. His tongue was lolling out of one side of his mouth and his eyes were pointing in different directions. He sat up and took notice though when he saw the image on the screen.
‘Aliens!’ he managed to say.
‘Are you the Earthling known as Mad Mickey?’ asked Snoopy.
‘Not telling,’ mumbled Mickey.
‘Yes, he is,’ said Charlie, and Mickey threw her a murderous glance.
‘Can you explain your recent actions regarding the attack on the Xing fleet?’ Snoopy continued.
‘Had to do it,’ he said. ‘Shoot them out of the skies before they attack Earth, they told me.’
‘Who told you to do it?’
‘Mr Tommy said on the television. He told me, so I had to do it, no choice!’
‘How did you get the launch codes for the missiles?’ asked Snoopy.
‘Joe always scribbles them on a note next to the firing button. Everyone knows that.’
Charlie gasped in horror. The security on her space station was rubbish and she would be held responsible.
‘Oh my God! I had no idea! I’m so sorry. What do you plan to do to us?’ she asked.
‘Well, don’t launch any more missiles. Explain the situation to the United Earth government exactly as you explained it to us. Keep Mad Mickey restrained until he can be evacuated from the station. And … we’ll let you know.’ The image abruptly disappeared and Charlie wailed in relief. They weren’t going to die. At least not yet.
Snoopy turned her attention to the successful planetfall on Mars and pondered what punishment could be imposed on the aggressors. The “Admiral” was woefully incompetent, that was obvious. So, demotion and transfer for her. Disarmament for the space station, obviously, and material compensation for the family of the victim. That should do it. She would let them know in a day or so. Let them fear the worst. They deserved it!