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Entries in space travel (2)

Saturday
Jun102017

Lure

Paul slammed the newspaper on Cedric's desk and said, "How the hell did the newspapers get this before me?"

You’d have covered it up. Someone had to make sure people knew," Cedric answered.

"I would have studied it! We can't just announce something this important when we don't know anything about it except that it's a fish," Paul said.

"A fish found in ice from Europa," Cedric said.

"The President gave a speech today announcing a manned mission. A hundred billion dollar trip. Billions we should spent on schools, hospitals and public infrastructure!" Paul said, his eyes bulged, and the vein in her forehead throbbed.

"We're at the heart of the greatest discovery in human history," Cedric said and ran his finger over the newsprint photo of the perfectly formed fish which looked more alien in print than it had in the laboratory.

Paul stood up, the red disappearing from his face and he said "We’ll be celebrities."

Cedric glanced at the black and white picture and said, "You're right," then he paused for a minute and said, "But you know I don’t like being in public. I'd rather you take the credit, like the other times. I'll stay here and study the fish. Someone has to get a skin sample."

Paul looked at the picture for a few seconds then said, "I thought you were angry about that, but if it’s what you want."

 

***

 

The news anchor droned on about half a dozen subjects but, like everyone else on the planet, Cedric was only interested in the shuttle in orbit of Europa. It held twelve men and women ready to complete the greatest scientific mission ever created by mankind.

The mission had done a lot of good in Cedric’s opinion. Countries were working together like never before and the research for the trip had improved recycling and manufacturing techniques. But all of that was secondary to the real mission. They were here to explore an ecosystem that was advanced enough to have fish and as the massive ship began to descend towards Europa Cedric began to wonder if he had went to far.

That was because Cedric knew they wouldn't find any fish. There were no fish. In fact there had been no signs of life at all.

When they discover that there would be a witch hunt. And since it was Paul who had taken the credit for Cedric's work it was Paul who would be blamed and no one would ever question Cedric who had never been allowed to have his name on anything connected with the small rubber fish that was currently in the Smithsonian.

 

Saturday
Apr232011

Free Short Story: Fish Story by Elton Gahr

I wrote this story most of a decade ago and it is one of the few stories from that time that I still actually like. It is pretty simple and it is in part due to the frustration of the government dropping the ball on space exploration. I suspect the name has been used for a number of other stories, but I hate titles enough I didn't bother looking to find another.

 

Fish Story

By Elton Gahr

 

 

Paul slammed the newspaper on Cedric's desk and said, "How the hell did the newspapers get this before me?"

“You’d have covered it up. Someone had to make sure the people knew."

"I would have studied it! Finding complex life isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It’s just one fish," Paul said.

"One fish found in ice from Europa. How many do you need? There's life on Europa," Cedric said.

"The President gave a speech today announcing a manned mission. A trillion dollar trip! A trillion dollars we should spent on schools, hospitals and public infrastructure!" Paul said, his eyes bulged, and the vein in her forehead throbbed.

"We’ll win the Nobel Peace Prize," Cedric said and ran his finger over the newsprint photo of the perfectly formed fish which looked more alien now than it had in the laboratory.

Paul stood up, the red disappearing from his face and he said "They’ll probably have us on every TV show in the country. We’ll be celebrities."

Cedric glanced at the black and white picture and said, "You know I don’t like being in public. I'd rather you take the credit, like the other times. I'll stay here and study the fish. Someone has to get a skin sample."

Paul looked at the picture for a few seconds then said, "If that’s what you want that's what we’ll do," the smile now breaking his face nearly in half.

 

                                  #

 

The news anchor droned on about half a dozen subjects but, like everyone else on the planet, Cedric was only interested in the shuttle which circled the moon of Europa with twelve men and women ready to start one of the greatest scientific missions ever created by mankind.

The mission had already paid for itself in Cedric’s opinion. Countries were working together like never before and several scientific discoveries had improved recycling and manufacturing techniques. Much of that was about to change.

What shocked Cedric the most was that in three years no one had bothered to get a second sample of the fish's DNA. It was simply too valuable to cut up and study and he wondered for a moment if this had all went too far.

That meant that the only one who knew that there would be nothing found today was Cedric. There were no fish, in fact there had been no signs of life at all.

When that happened there would be a witch hunt. And when people began to check the DNA findings they would find see Paul’s name as the only one who took samples of the DNA thanks to his need for glory.

Cedric then glanced down at the envelope. The letter in it reminded Paul of the ideas he had stolen and pawned off as his own three years ago. Then it explained, in the most cryptic language Cedric could devise, how he had gotten even with a small rubber fish.

 

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