“hand over your side arm” officer Alka Perry had just entered the captain's office and was meet by a very angry look from the captain and two of her security officers. “what?” “your side arm officer Perry now” ordered the captain. She pulls the gun from it's holster and puts it on the desk “what is this all about sir” “your being relived of duty” the captain turns round his monitor “ground control sent this up. What do you see in the photo officer Perry” “it's the pay load being loaded on a truck sir” “i was under the impression it's your job to keep our activities secret now this photo is on the front of every newspaper on earth” the captain opens a file “and now we are getting some odd thing showing up on the radar” “odd sir?” “ a number of objects being dragged by the ship have moved irregularly and there is something large moving through the main belt” “i don't see what the radar readings have to do with me sir” the captain leans back in his chair “well here my theory the objects behind the ship may be receiving and relaying messages from someone on the ship. and see as your the one meant to be stopping that sort of thing from happening your clearly not to your job properly or your the one sending the messages .so I going to lock you in the quarantine quarters so you cant jump ship and run off with who ever is waiting in the belt” he tuns to the two security officers “get her out of my site” the scarcity officers march Alka Perry out of the office
Alka Perry sits in quarantine as the ship moved in to orbit around mars. The sky lark holds a crew of 4000 as soon as it's in orbit 3500 of them head down to the planet haft head to the Hellas planitia and the other haft land at Alba mon. the team at alba mon code named stardust had the hard task of drilling down under Alba mon and digging out a bunker to detonate the pay load in. on the hellas planitia a control base is quickly assembled and the crew divide again a small team including the captain stay at control base code named the tin can. the rest code named arachnid head up the Dao Vallis valley to Hadriaca mon
the radio crackles “arachnid to tin can” a coms officer pushes a large wight button “we're receiving you arachnid, go ahead” “tin can we have drilled down reducing volcanic plug to 10% and are awaiting orders” the coms officer Writes down the message and holds it up a runner takes the massage from the coms officer and walks to area partitioned off by a glass map the runner salutes the captain and hands him the note “thanks Jenkins” “actually it's Glover sir” “oh sorry Glover” the captain takes a bottle of pills out of his pocket “send our boys back to the sky lark” the captain chucks two pills in to his mouth Glover salutes and heads back to the radio desks. Jenkins appears from behind the glass map and salutes the captain and hands him a note. The captain reads the note “ok tell stardust to set up the war head” Jenkins salutes and heads off. The captain wonders to him self if it was Jenkins of Harrison he was just talking to. this was worrying he was finding it hard to think straight. He didn't know if it was the presser of the job or the presser of the atmosphere or maybe the recycled air.
On the other side of the planet the stardust team drive a large truck like vehicle in to the middle of Alba mon with the war head on the back. It stops in the center the bunker then from the bottom of the truck six hydraulic legs lower to the red dusty ground. Ten men look up through the vises of the helmets as large metal arm lift the warhead vertical so the tip of the cone points down. Once the warhead is in place the ten men get to work running checks and geting ready to leave the bunker. One of the men presses a button the the wrist of his suit turning on the microphone in his helmet. “stardust to tin can the gnome is in place and we are leaving the bunker”.all the men it the bunker climd in to 4X4s parked round the edge of the bunker with flood lights mounted on the sides. The flood lights are turned off and the 4X4s moved round the bunker and out through the tunnel. The planet falls quiet as the stardust team head back to the sky lark.
The captain stands by the radio desks. The silence in the control room was broken by the radio “stardust to tin can we have left the atmosphere” the captain walks over to a control panel and inserts a key card. The control panel only has three switches and one button. He flicks the switches one by one 100.000 appears on all the screens in the room over live pitchers from the sky lark of different parts of the planets surface. The captain presses the button. The countdown starts everyone in the room and on the sky lark watches as the numbers tick by a hundredth of second at a time 099.100, 099.099 ,099.098 no one talks some even forget to breathe 050.100, 050.099 ,050.098. Jenkins bits his nails and Glover holds on tight to a small crucifix round his neck 000.002 ,000.001 ,000.000