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Blue Moon- Chapter 1
Peering through the small metal eyepiece, the astronomer stared up at the stars. A hundred billion tiny pinpricks of light dotted the small circle of space she could see. Turning the zoom knob just a fraction of a degree, the view became more focused on a smaller quadrant of the deep black nothing. One star, ? Pisces in the constellation Pisces, swam into view. The brilliant blue star gleamed blindingly in the eyepiece, causing the astronomer to blink and reduce the level of zoom.
Now, much more of the universe was in view. As the astronomer tried to adjust the zoom again to return to Pisces, she accidentally knocked the telescope and sent it careening down to Pegasus. Frustrated, the astronomer slammed her pen down onto her stack of notes and swore through gritted teeth.
The astronomer left the workstation and turned to the mini-fridge in the rear of the observatory. Opening the small chrome door she groped around for her water bottle. Snatching it up in tense fingers, she pooped off the cap and tipped it back to her lips.
While the water spilt down her throat, the astronomer eyed the large telescope that stood, unused, in the center of the rotating observatory platform. This telescope had amazing zoom and could take pictures. It was easily twenty feet high and ten to twelve feet long, five feet in diameter at the large end. It all narrowed to a small
point, a six-inch diameter, with a tiny eyepiece for one person. The astronomer sighed. It was, as all astronomers’ at the research base, her dream to one day be able to look in that shiny silver painted eyepiece, turn the focus and zoom knobs, and look into the infinite heavens.
Her own telescope was small and thin, and hidden in the shadow of her dream. The astronomer’s hand froze in mid-twist as she began to screw on the lid of the water bottle. Maybe she could just look, she couldn’t do any harm by just taking off the cap and looking through the eyepiece... She started to creep forward, looking around, and approached the table to free her hands of items before going to fulfill her destiny.
As the astronomer set down the water bottle, one of the security guards peeked his head into the room.
“Anything yet?” he queried.
The astronomer shook her head. “I had a nice focus on Pisces but then I knocked it… Can I use the big telescope instead?”
The guard laughed. He laughed so hard that after three or four minutes he was stooped over, clutching his diaphragm.
When he finally regained his breath, he wiped away a tear and replied, “It’ll be years b’fore you get your hands on that ‘scope. Heck, if the boss warn’t so racist, I’d asay that you’d get on in sooner time, but not with that mud skin o’ yours…” He burst out laughing again.
The astronomer glared at him until he stopped, a good five minutes more, time-to-time eyeing her rich chocolate skin. Racists, she thought with loath.
Biting back harsh words she longed to spit at the cruel man, the usually well-mannered astronomer instead hissed, “Well, if you’re not to be doing anything else than laughing at the boss’ and your own stupidity, you can at least get your hideously pale face out of my space and your rotten breath out of my atmosphere.”
With that, the astronomer escorted the man to the door and gave him a rough shove in the back to get him out, then slammed the observatory door behind him and turned back to fix the telescope.
Sitting down at the wooden stool, the astronomer fiddled with the telescope knobs until the distant stars were zooming out of view. As the solar system came back into view, at least the tiny speck of Jupiter and the slightly larger red blob of Mars, something large and shiny came quickly into view and then just as quickly out of view. It
was a silvery blue, and from the tiny sliver of it she saw it appeared to be somewhat round. The astronomer blinked in surprise and tried to find it, but she was too far out of the asteroid belt. Shaking her head as she attempted to zoom back in, she decided herself much too excited for simply a view of the moon. If only she could use the huge
telescope to find her moon again…
Looking around, the astronomer plotted to do something so sneaky, creative, and intelligent that would put the ‘fake second sun’ joke of last April Fools’ into shame.
The astronomer ran to the door and locked it, then shut and pulled the blinds over all the windows except the huge open observatory roof.
Locating three security cameras, the astronomer took off her clean white lab coat. Nothing should get in her way now.
Ducking out of the first camera’s view, she pulled a chair over to the wall it was attached to and climbed up. Studying the wires, the astronomer thought about what tools she could use to freeze the video feed of the observatory with her working at the smaller telescope.
The astronomer climbed off the chair, smiling at her intelligent. Going to school at MIT helps this kind of situation…
* * * * *
In another part of the building, a security guard was startled into wakefulness when someone opened the door, sending a beam of light across the computer console.
“Wha… yeah?” he mumbled, wiping a spot of drool from his chin and straightening his name tag, which read SABIR in teeny red letters.
“I came here to with a message from the boss,” said the other guard. “But instead I find you here, sprawled across your desk. If you can’t do your job right, you’d better not do it at all.” With that, the guard left the room, laughing softly to himself.
The security guard groaned. This was probably to most abusive place he’d ever had to work at. Every day, all night, the more ‘experienced’ guards teased the ‘newbie’ about his family history, his inability to work right, and everything else they could think of. He had been humiliated far too many times.
In truth, his family wasn’t the best there was. His mother and father were arrested many times for illegal drug dealings, prostitution, robbery and a long list of others. His brother was convicted as a serial killer wanted in fourteen states and Cuba and his sister was an assassin for some terrorist organization in the Middle East. They were
also racially discriminated from their Iraqi heritage, and after the terrorist attacks in ’01 no one would trust a man who looked so much like the stereotypical Middle Eastern terrorist.
But Sabir was the total opposite of his family. He was a pacifist, vegan, and environmental activist. He volunteered at a nursing home two weekends every month and enjoyed participating in cancer walks and charity bake sales. Before his father’s seventh arrest, this one for being an illegal immigrant, his father told him that when he got out of jail, he would never allow his son to return home. Sabir, now a ruined, homeless man, used some of his parents’ stolen money to get a visa and go to college.
After college and his mother’s third release from prison, Sabir had nowhere to go, so he applied for a job as a security guard at the local observatory.
Now Sabir, still in poverty, worked night jobs at the observatory and in the daytime took online graduate classes to be a pediatrician, his ideal job since childhood. Finally an approved citizen of the United States, he found a small apartment for rent. To pay his monthly rent, he watched the security cameras for hours, which was a very tiring job, but at least he earned a fair amount of money.
And at the present time, the security guard was supposed to be monitoring the multiple video cameras in the main observatory building. One picture flashed to the next, the videos recording every second. Sabir thought this was a stupid waste of money, as there was also a guard posted around each location.
Sabir looked up at the topmost video screen of room 251. Nothing out of the ordinary, except the mouse cage the intern had brought for entertainment and possibly a new source of energy. Pfft. Globes of Earth, Mars, the moon, and many other planets and moons dotted the room and lined the shelves. Books in stacks and assorted papers were also scattered about the room. A typical astronomer’s study.
Scanning the rest of the screens, the security guard made sure nothing important was missing. He lingered over the entrance to the ladies’ restroom, then looked away, mentally slapping himself.
Turning back to the screens, his eyes suddenly fell upon screen #43. It was the first camera near the door in the observatory. At first Sabir noticed nothing wrong with the image, just that new astronomer working at her small telescope. But as he stared at it, the security guard noticed something strange. Then his eyes got wide. The astronomer was not moving. Not even writing. Frozen, as if he were being fed a loop…
* * * * *
After the astronomer had frozen the images on all three cameras, she checked to make sure that no one could see through the windows, then wheeled her stool over to the large telescope.
Where are you? She thought as she scanned the horizon. Pressing the zoom button ever so carefully, the stars flew by as she entered the coordinates of her sighting. Stunned, the astronomer smiled.
As the incredible machine auto-focused on the blue smudge, the door banged open once again.
No! thought the astronomer in distress. She remained glued to the seat, unable to move, as the intruder stepped out of the shadows....