Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mining the Asteroid - 2

Sentine was busy at work. Her ship The Driller was parked close by; anchored on the large asteroid which hurtled through space. She was on a tight time schedule. The Asteroid was called FT-22ssX; an old Earth nomenclature for asteriods which seemed meaningless to her. She called it 'Old Grumpy'; named after the hard mantle it had. Old Grumpy was largely composed of metals and she had to finish mining enough for a payload before it made another pass at Ganymede.

Saving on fuel was important. With all the cutbacks imposed by the Nezzer in charge of Nokiaexxon, she would not be able to use too much of the solid fuel. Almost all the energy used to travel was garnered from the Sun's rays. 

She looked across where her mother and father were also using large drills like her, these drills dwarfed them all. In this microgravity, it was easy to use. One had to be careful of rocks and radiation though. The three of them were heavily suited and sheilded from the Sun's radiation. The suit was 12 layers thick; and included a evacuated gel layer, a carbon isotope layer and the hard shell which made them look like lobsters. Thinking about lobsters made her hungry. They no longer had access to Earth food; that was only for the very wealthy. And the Nezzers.

She remembered her last visit to the Nezzer space station. They lived in style; as befitting a conquering species. Humans were no match for them and surrendered meekly to the Nezzers, once the Nezzers had blown up whole islands from space as a demonstration of their powers. They had wanted humans as slaves and didn't give humans a chance.

She snapped out of her reverie as she noticed her mother waving as she headed back into the Ship; it was time for her break. Sentine lumbered over to the huge solar array which had been fastened securely with some nanofibers which the Nezzers 'sold' to her. It was all part of the standard kit. Except they didn't have anything left over after they managed to pay for essentials. Just enough to do the job and keep drilling.

She turned a switch and the huge solar panels folded back like petals, the black covers closing over the blindingly reflective material. She headed in after her parents.

Marie and Don were already heating rations. There was a warm cup of dark liquid on the table - synthesized coffee. They had just a few days before they would hit perihelion.

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