The meeting started on schedule and mere minutes were just in when the bickering launched. The NASA Administrator was dumbfounded to find out that
covert and possibly secret military experiences were being held aboard the I.S.S.
The Military, in this case represented by General Langdon, was adamant. The no need to know basis was still very prevalent and he was urging the
assembly to take action. The fastest the threat would be taken care of, the better.
Bloomfield, from the European Space Agency, specified that the I.S.S. was legally under a Global
that the military had no jurisdiction and that in any case, Roscosmos (the Russian Federal Space Agency) had already sent rockets up to reach the
remaining scientists and crew to get them out of the I.S.S. before it would be too late. To which Langdon, rising from his chair, vehemently
disagreed. The returning rockets would have to be shot down as a precaution. No chances should be taken. He proudly stated that they had technology in
the Near Earth Atmosphere to take care of the problem and that StarCom was just awaiting his orders.
Gerardson was flabbergasted. StarCom? Really? Are we that deep in secrecy? Then again, it would explain the trillions of dollars that go missing every
now and then, was he merely thinking.
The bickering continued back and forth as opinions were shared across the table. Eventually, his turn would come up, and it finally did.
“Mr Gerardson,” the President said as he turned towards him “I have asked for the ESIP to send me their wisest representative so that he could
make light of what has transpired here tonight and that he may make recommendations. I am all ears.”
“Thank you, Mr President.” he said as he stood up to have a look at everyone around him and to make sure that they also would have him within
their eyesight. “I fully understand the crisis facing us. The rockets sent by Roscosmos will obviously save the remaining crew, Dr Jensen, his team
and the crew of the I.S.S. Let us not forget that lives were lost recently, namely Dr Jones and three astronauts that were doomed in the outside Lab.
At first glance, it looks as though they died in vain as the Element went outside travelling to nearby satellites.”
“Mr President, I must, once again, reinforce my position.” Replied Langdon. “The threat is imminent and we must act now.”
“Absolutely not.” As Gerardson glanced over to him. “Mr President, our very best scientists had researched the resurrection of this Element here
on Earth, under cryogenic procedures. They also tried working on it in Antarctica, under freezing conditions. The Element broke up at every step,
except for the vacuum of space but there is one Element that it’s never encountered.”
He picked up the Scientific Essay “Element 115”, turned around and showed it to the General.
“It’s all here.” As he turned back to the President. “Sir, when satellites have their re-entry, I only recommend shooting them down if they
are a threat to cities or any smaller communities. I would also recommend waiting that the said targets get under a 69,000 feet ceiling to do
“Nonsense... Mr President, we are wasting precious time...” rebutted Langdon, once more.
“Please, hear me out.” Gerardson reaffirmed. “Here are the facts. The unknown Element travelled to earth, inside an extraterrestrial vessel
fabricated from an unknown alloy to us. It survived the entry as it was protected by its outer core. It then landed in Antarctica and froze, only to
be found under miles of ice and God knows just how long it stayed there. When found, it was tested under cryogenic experiences, which is still a deep
frozen state. The Element always broke down. The only possible way to reverse engineer it was in the vacuum of space, where Dr Jensen and his team
finally succeeded. Mr President, through all the essays and research done before and up to the last minute of this crisis, it appears that the Element
115 has never been in touch with”
“Oxygen.” Replied President Gray, as he turned around to face him, smiling for the first time.
“Precisely” Gerardson replied, offering a smile to the President in return. “To destroy the threat in space would only multiply it in the vacuum
of space. Early teams of scientists were unsure of what oxygen might do to it. In this case, elemental instability could mean our very survival and
this is a chance I’d be willing to make. Sir, this Element was comatose until we touched it.”
General Langdon sat down and picked up the Element 115 Essay, suddenly realizing that perhaps he should have read it.
As Gerardson was being driven back home, courtesy of the United States Government, he hoped that he was right and that his conclusions were accurate.
Yet, no one really knew for sure.
The next few days would reveal the results.
Perhaps it could be the end of the world, an extinction event, he thought to himself, perhaps there isn’t anything anyone can do to prevent it, if
oxygen fails but still, in this freezing January day, there is one thing Gerardson knew...
It won’t be today.