Transport 2 slowed to a relative stop over the contact pad on the asteroid. The cargo door opened and the maintenance bot drifted out.
“Bot is away Albatross.” The pilot announced to the station.
“Acknowledged, Transport 2.” Commander Dickerson responded. “We’ll take it from here. Move to your assigned observation position and link up.”
“Aye, Aye, Albatross.” The pilot moved the transport to a higher altitude and off center to afford a better camera angle.
The bot descended toward the contact pad. A grappling arm extended in the middle and three landing legs stretched out from the sides as it rotated around. It slowed its approach as it neared the target. The grappling arm grabbed to the mount point as the little craft rotated to place the landing legs outside the contact pads and located between them as it touched down.
“Bot is down.” Kim looked over to Gwen “Ready for the first set of tests.”
“Alright,” Gwen started punching buttons “Starting initial voltage tests between the pads, star pattern.”
She concentrated as the readings were displayed on the console for a few moments. “Kim, come take a look at this.”
Kim left her console and floated across the compartment and stopped behind Gwen. “What have you got?”
“Look at these readings.” Gwen pointed to a couple of pairs. “Voltage and frequency appears to be going up as impedance goes down across these sets of pads.”
“It is not consistent across all of those pairs.” Kim pointed to one set “This one seems to have the greatest change. What impedance range did you use?”
“I started at a gig ohm and brought it down to a mega ohm.” Gwen had the display order by the amount of change and display the correspondence values.
“Alright, let’s run this pair again and slowly run it down to 100 kilo ohms, and watch out for dangerous voltages.” Kim gestured down the list that showed no change. “And then check this set again.” She headed back across the compartment.
“Alright my little friend,” Gwen started programming in the test process “Let’s see what you are up to.”
Kim strapped back down in front of her console and called up the video feed from the observing transport.
“Albatross station, Shuttle 2.” Sam’s voice sounded slightly nervous.
“Go ahead Shuttle 2. What have you got?” Kim was focusing on the bot, looking for anomalies.
“This end of your asteroid is starting to glow.” Sam was definitely concerned.
“Did you just say it is glowing?” Kim was startled. Gwen looked across the compartment.
“Yes I did. Here is the video feed.”
Kim quickly punched up the feed to see the slightly blue tinted glow emanating from the end of the object. It was slowly growing in intensity. “Gwen where are you in your measurements?”
“Impedance is 500 mega ohms, voltage is 90 volts and frequency is 125 hertz.” Gwen checked the other pads “And pad 3 to pad 5 is showing 10 volts DC, no AC.”
“Ok, knock it down another 100 mega ohms and re check the other pads.” Kim set the screen to show both video feeds.
The ice on the far end of the asteroid erupted in a cloud blasting away and out from the body.
“Did you see that?” Sam shouted through the radio.
“Albatross, that thing is moving!” The transport pilot was near panic.
Kim looked up and remembered the asteroid was lengthwise pointed directly at the station. “Gwen…” Kim was very nervous now.
Gwen cut her off by punching the panic button for the station. The klaxons and emergency lights lit up. “Suit up Kimmie! And DO IT NOW!” Gwen shouted and then turned to the radio “Reykjavik, Emergency Undock! Unlock and blast clear of the station. Code Blue 5. This is not a drill.” She paused “Repeat. Emergency Undock! Unlock and blast clear of the station. Code Blue 5. This is not a drill.”
Gwen quickly punched the command for the bot to disconnect then unstrapped and launched herself toward her space suit.
Beginning of Story