Fruit fly··Novl duration 5 mins
A tale of utter catastrophe
“So, that’s the last bit of the Norton Sphere put in its place,” Dixon said upon completing what Earthers would call a Dyson Sphere around a class G star. They called it simply ‘Potak’, just as we call our own special star simply ‘Sun’ even though it is quite unspecial as far as stars go. Potak was equally unspecial as the Sun, equipped with only one planet capable of harboring life and five other celestial bodies playing chase around it.
“Norton sphere, done. Locked and ready. Phew, time for vacation, man,” Loks said and pressed a touch screen button causing some bleeps around the hull. “We get good readings,” he said with half a smile while checking another screen.
“D’we get nominal quantum panel absorption?” Dixon asked.
“Aye, sir,” Loks said and scratched his pointy ears. They wouldn’t want anything to go wrong. It was the fourth sphere that their United Nations Governent managed to build; the first for this century. The previous three proved brilliant ideas and terrible catastrophes. The first Norton Sphere was actually named Pattington Cube and it was not a sphere, but a pyramid. They named it cube because Pattington Pyramid was a copyright infringement from a children’s toy company. Suffice to say that were the design to be a cube, it could have stood better chances.
During the last part of the construction works, Pattington himself, a maniacal insectophobic, forgot a banana inside his travel bag towards the construction station. The banana died a horrible, smelly death and the place got riddled with flies. In a wild attempt to protect himself from the absolutely harmless fruit flies, the inventor slipped and fell on the joystick that controlled the panels’ movement. It was the last panel to be placed. He moved it sideways a few millimeters and it crashed with the cooling station. The carbon nanites reacted with the coolant and fused all together in a scorching chemical abomination with the terryfying speed of five hundred moles per second. Three centuries worth of work went down the drain in mere hours. Thankfully for him, Paddington fell towards Potak along with the billion dollar space platform where his death was the most peaceful thing that could have happened to him as the UNG executives on planet Xhendu would have skinned him alive. Needless to say that from then on, compulsory fly swatters adorned every space vehicle and station in order to give any wandering insectophobes a chance to defend themselves.
The second sphere was a cube but never got past the experimental phase on the fusion reactor, back on Xhendu. Its walls collapsed inwards due to a microanomally in the calculations and to make a long story short: the math was wrong; everybody died. The third sphere, invention of a religious fanatic -but with nine PhDs in eight different fields of science and literature- named Norton, passed the test phase and collapsed into the star, but this time it was nobody’s fault. The usually calm class G star, decided it was time to burp some solar flares. It engulfed everything midway construction.
This time, Dixon, a simple Quantum Gravity Field supervisor and his subordinant, an electromechanical engineer named Loks, managed to bring the project to completion. Beverage consumption would ensue and their return to Xhendu would be nothing less than heroic. Their civilization would no longer rely on planet energy, but they would harvest their own star and power the antimatter drives that would propel them to another solar system.
Lights flashed red and an alarm pierced their pointy ears. Loks’s scarlet skin turned puple.
“Sir,” he yelled. “This is not good.”
“What is going on?”
“I’m getting life readings from inside the plasma vaporizer, sir.”
“That is utter nonsene, Loks. The computer must be wrong,” Dixon squealed.
“I am not wrong, Dixon,” the computer said. “There is a bug in my system.”
“Yes, I agree. A serious bug I might add, computer.”
“No, sir,” Loks said. “I think she means a bug.”
Dixon stayed silent for a moment. “An actual, living bug?”
“That is right, Dixon,” the computer said.
“Shall we head there and extinguish it, sir?” Loks said.
“Just fire up the plasma engines, they will incinerate it.”
“Right-o-sir!,” Loks said. He pressed a button and then another one and then typed a series of commands and the computer did that thing where everything seems to be tremendously fine and all of sudden a blue screen of death destroys all your work. All that happened and an earthquake shook the sphere momentarily out of its axis. The door to the main room collapsed and a huge fly, the size of a cat, entered the room.
“WHAT IN THE NAME OF THE GOVERNMENT IS THIS?” Dixon screamed. The computer answered dully, as if nothing was actually happening:
“This is a common fruit fly with gene modifications to G-445-x-c66, base pairs ‘CGATACCCGGATUAA’”
“I was looking for a more poetic answer, computer.”
“This is death, then,” the computer responded.
“Who authorized these modifications?” Loks asked.
“Oh,” they both said. “What do we do?”
The fly moved aggresively towards the control room. Loks turned sideways, towards the security door on the wall. He opened it and came face to face with a red casing, encircling a glass panel that read “When in danger, break glass panel.” Inside the casing lay a pink fly swatter. They were certainy in danger as far as Loks was concerned. He broke the glass with a swift move and after emmiting a thunderous roar that could possibly scare a small puppy, he hit the fly’s enormous head with the pink swatter.
Apart from enraging the insect and pushing it to a revengeful rage the hit did nothing. The fly approached the machinery as if the gene modifications had granted it some kind of intelligence. A blob of acid ejected from its face and began to melt away the metal components. The sphere wobbled once again. Another alarm sounded.
“Proton Decay demagnetizers are offline,” sounded the computer. Another wobble. The fly, still as angry as a giant fly could be, left the room.
“Oh, pray to the ugly Goddess of Pyr, that we escape.”
“Loks, we have had secular atheism for centuries.”
“Eighty percent of plasma is being cooled down.”
“When faced with crisis, secular atheism is a scary choice, sir.”
“Dear ugly Goddess of Pyr, please save us, even though we grew estranged through secular atheism. Please, don’t be mad at us, it’s only natural,” Dixon said.
“That is quite unfair, though,” Loks said.
“The Goddess? And the fly, also. I mean, we’re asking help from a goddess. What chance does it have?”
“The fly acid has eaten away the gyroscopic stabilizers. Goodbye, Dixon. Goodbye, Loks.”
The explosion was seen from the Aulix observatory. Fragments from the Norton Sphere would eventually reach the great city of New Pork, incinerating every citizen. A solar nuclear reactor found its way towards the last remaining thermonuclear weapon’s room on the North pole of the planet. Xhandu filled once again with thermonuclear light and a mass extinction took place. Three hundred thousand years later, bipedal life restarted. Three hundred and five thousand years later, Korcix, a thirty year-old aspiring astronaut, would take an unauthorized space walk against every advice of his superiors in order to identify a strange object that was in orbit next to the station.
“Report, Korcix. Is it something dangerous?”
“Negative, Juston. I…” he stuttered.
“What is it Korcix?”
“Sir, it’s really weird.”
“Korcix, I swear to the Radioactive Talking Forests of Zygliria, I will leave you in space to die. What is it?”
“It’s just a fly swatter, sir. A pink fly swatter.”