Carl the Stargazer

Carl was really good at two things; creating uncomfortable silences and stargazing. One of these skills was profitable and the other really dug into profit potential. He brought up that last point often at parties before shuffling his feet and leaving the conversation.

Stargazing was how Carl made a fortune. He found things in the sky that no one else could. He identified asteroids and meteors full of ore and helped companies get to them. He found spots in space that hold up against solar winds and helped companies colonize them. He had a knack for the act of finding space in space.

If there was one thing he really knew though, one thing that he had a hard time explaining to people, it was that space was limited. Humans and the things humans like to grow, breed, and generally travel with have very unique requirements. He had to find new ways to look into the void and new places to plop a telescope on in order to do his job.

He had run out of places on Earth and was down to one last location on the moon. A telescope had been set up on Montes Jura that looked right into an area Carl did not know too well.  He booked time on the telescope, he booked travel, and he booked a  meal or two before he returned home to Denver and the spaceport there.

The ride to the telescope was quick. The driver played “Mambo Number Five” on repeat and for a moment Carl thought of opening the door and stepping onto the lunar surface for a second but reconsidered when he thought of how the coroner’s report would read.

A polite staff member greeted him at the gate and told him all there was to know about the telescope he was about to use.  He had used hundreds of telescopes through his career and instead of listening to the directions, he sang “Tubthumber” in his head. He had no idea why 1990s one-hit-wonder tunes were plaguing him this day.

Finally, he was alone with the scope. He trained it in one location then another and another. He had moved on to Lisa Loeb and The Rembrandts by the time he saw something of note.

He was used to finding places to help life flourish, or help someone make a profit. What he saw now was going to help neither of those.

“That’s not a comet,” he muttered.

What was coming toward him at speeds he had never seen before was going to cause plenty of uncomfortable silences.



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