“It’s the cold, it gets in everywhere. That black cold of space. It’s out there calling.”
Dan Cooper shivered as a tremor of cold went through his emaciated form.
“One more hour, my son, and you can eat all you want. You’ll fill back out and be as warm as an English muffin.”
“We don’t eat English muffins F..F..Father B..Borynski. We eat b..biscuits, or h..hoecakes.”
Father Borynski shot a worried look past his skeletal subject to the other occupant of the somber cell.
Dr. Ettore Majora was working on a proof that covered a three meter high wall that was five meters long. The wall, chalked with numbers and equations, looked more alchemical and magical than scientific, but mathematical it was.
This was Dr. Ettore’s 15th year in a row to triple check his calculations.
Is everything still good, Ettore?”
“Yes, Father, if he has lost enough weight to make it inside the radio tower, the signal will reach Earth.”A bulky blast door opened and a rugged young man covered in grease and motor oil entered, saying, “That ain’t the only if. If he o’nt die from starvation, if he on’t freeze in the tower. If those rotten snitches what work in control on’t detect him and zap ‘em out. Oh, and if his brain on’t give out from losing fifty pounds in a month, fitteen years in a row, evry August 26th. Give it up and the let the man eat, we’re dun fur.”
The big mechanic plopped down and rubbed the sweaty hair on Dan’s head. “It’s alright hoss, it’s almost time. Tell me again how you got all that money.”
Dan Cooper was a highjacker who stole 200,000 dollars and parachuted out of a jet airliner. It would have been perfect, but a cigar-shaped ship had shone a blue light on him, and ever since that day, he had been a captive. His captors, the Krotoane Overlords, were preparing to enslave humanity.
All Dan had ever wanted was to be rich, but despite having an entire mattress full of money, all he wanted forgiveness.
“You’re forgiven, my son.” said the old priest as Dan disappeared into the radio control.
The scientist stood outside the tiny hatch Dan had crawled through on his mission. It looked like a tiny dog door. He tugged on the rope that disappeared into the tower and waited for a response that never came.
The pious Pole hung his head saying, “Pull him out, he didn’t make it.”
Ettore and the mechanic pulled the rope dragging the feather-light man out of the tower. After the scientist delicately folded Dan Cooper’s limbs to get him through the hatch, the man’s eyes flickered.
“I did it E..Ettore.”
“Are you sure Dan, can you repeat it to me?”
“Y..yes. Si vis pacem, p..p..ara bellum.”
The mechanic hugged Dan Cooper as he said it again in English, “If you want peace, prepare for war. They are coming!”
The science article that inspired this story: Storm of Strange Radio Bursts Emerges From Deep Space
Hawk and Young Website: http://hawkandyoung.com