Here’s another piece for the #300DaysofFlashWriting challenge, where participants write for ten minutes only on a prompt posted online by my friend Shekina on her blog and social channels. This was written from the Day 23 prompt, ‘Adventure’.
One Small Step
She was the most brilliant coder in the entire corporation, if not the world. Of course it was her job to ensure every single system onboard the billionaire owner’s spacecraft did everything it was supposed to do.
But she had noticed that there weren’t as many birds flocking to her garden in the warmest months.
That the pond in the local park had started to dry up, leaving scum-covered detritus around the edges of the water.
That sometimes it rained for weeks at a time, and the headlines were flooded with anguished faces and solemn promises by government ministers to do more.
That refugees were fleeing droughts and rising sea levels to the countries that had caused all of this and were being turned away.
And here was her boss, about to go on the greatest adventure of his life. He would board the spacecraft that his company had spent billions developing, then escape from the dying Earth in search of somewhere else to ruin. This was a test run with just the billionaire boss onboard, but next time the ship would be followed by others holding cargo, people, seeds, food.
She couldn’t let it happen.
There were protocols and safeguards to swerve, but she had built them herself, so they were easy to dismantle without any alarms going off. It was also easy to put the tiniest bit of extra code in one particular system and write more code to hide its existence.
Launch day. The spacecraft sails off into the black void. Billions watch it on TV at home.
The distress signal comes two hours later, but none of the scientists on Earth can work out what’s wrong.
It was easy for her, you see.
So easy to ensure that the autopilot couldn’t be overridden.
So very easy to programme the ship to turn back as if it was returning to Earth, then to steer it towards the sun.
She was the most brilliant coder in the entire corporation, if not the world.
© 2021 Dipika Mummery