The Earth Moves

Entry by: Lily De Winter

22nd April 2016
"Our top story tonight; leading scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have announced in a press conference this afternoon that heavy meteor activity is likely to impact planets Mars and Venus early next week, as well as accompanying moons, resulting in significant changes in several planets orbit around the sun, including our own. Reports suggest that whilst meteors are unlikely to impact earth, the drag from neighbouring planetary bodies will make such changes as a new path around the sun, and even a change in the rotational axis of the earth.
"Mark, come and listen to this", she turned the volume up so he could hear in the kitchen.
"What's happening?" he sat next to her drying his hands on a tea towel.
"Once again, our top story tonight, the Earth is likely to experience a shift in rotational axis as a significant meteor shower..."
"Sounds pretty serious.' She wasn't listening to him, she grabbed her phone and starting scrawling through various news reports. "Any info online?"
"Nothing more than what we're hearing on this" she nodded at the TV.
"Well... do you think its dangerous?" She looked at him baffled.
"Yes, Mark. Yes its pretty dangerous."
"But they haven't mentioned anything on the telly?"
"We could end up moving dangerously too close or far in our proximity to the sun, we could all die." He smirked at her.
"You're such a drama queen!" this took her aback.
"We could be burnt up in the suns atmosphere Mark, its not like I can't find an outfit for the evening."
"Yeah but how long is it since you went to uni?"
"The solar system has been around since time began, I'm pretty sure it hasn't changed in six years." She stared at him for a moment. He wasn't taking this seriously. How can he not take this seriously, surely the danger was self explanatory?
"I'm going to crack on with dinner, you want wine tonight?" She sat open mouthed as he wandered back in to the kitchen. What was happening?
Dinner was delicious but she barely ate, she sat mindlessly pushing food around on her plate.
"Are you still worried about this sun thing?"
"You mean the meteor shower that will kill us all? Yeah, you could say I'm worried."
"Susan, they haven't said there is any danger, they're talking about how best to view the meteor shower and whether there will be clouds that night!"
"You're believing the television over your own girlfriend?" He put his glass down with a bit of a thud.
"Its been ages since you did that course, and you dropped out, can't you admit you could be wrong?" But she wasn't wrong.
She barely slept, she kept scanning social media and news websites to see if any more reports came up. The following morning the office was alive with talk about the meteor showers. It seemed to be becoming the social highlight of the year, celebrities were already announcing the meteor tribute concerts, and she'd been invited to two meteor watching parties already. Several e-mails had gone around suggesting that anybody calling in sick Tuesday would likely face disciplinary action. Nobody was worried. How could this be happening?
"Susan, you'd better come in here." She heard Mark calling. She went into the living room and found him watching the news with the volume right up.
"They've got some scientist on, he's talking about the meteor shower." She listened intently.

"Well, its a simple case of gravity. We've been in a careful balance of drag-pull for years with our surrounding planets, and its this drag pull that maintains our current orbit. This current orbit is what is keeping us at an optimum distance from the sun; warm enough to not freeze, and cold enough to not burn."
"Well, Anthony, there's a long distance between us and the sun, surely we're not going to be dragged close enough to make any significant difference!"
"Its true that it we will have to travel a significant distance by our standards to feel any real danger, but we have to remember that we can't predict this new orbit and so we can't predict how much things will change."
"So you're saying is, its unlikely there will be any real danger?"
"No, I'm saying we can't predict if there will be."
"Well, thanks to Dr Anthony Finch, author of Planets: A Journey Through Our Solar System. Our next story tonight, Prime Minister..."

"See, there's nothing to worry about!" Mark nudged her leg and smiled.
"Thats not what he was saying." He still didn't believe it.
"Well the reporter didn't look worried, did she?" He was right there, and that was probably the biggest worry. "Get yourself ready, Mum and Dad will be here in a minute!"
"Well, I told your Dad that we need to start looking in to getting one, don't we Martin?" Jan took a big gulp of wine. "We simply can't do without any longer, especially not if we're all going to burn to death soon!" Everybody around the table laughed. Susan was taken aback. "Oh, dear, Mark told us about your theory about the meteor shower." Jan was smirking and Mark and his dad were trying to not laugh. Susan glared at them both.
"Don't be mad Sue, you must admit it is a bit far fetched!"
"I'm sorry, but I don't think its far fetched, its not like I don't know anything about it." There was an awkward shift around the table.
"Dear, I don't mean to be unkind, but it has been an awfully long time since you left university and its not like you did anything with your studies." The tension was growing and Mark started shifting in his seat.
"Its not like the news reports aren't out there though, Jan."
"Its silly conspiracy theory Susan, don't listen to it" Mark chimed in. She was getting angry now.
"The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. We've always thought this is going to be the same, and now its not, so how do we know we're not in danger either?" She could feel her face flush. Jan slammed her glass down.
"Well it jolly well had better not change!" Susan was stunned. "We bought that house for its south facing windows! You're not telling me that we won't be getting the same sunlight! Oh, Martin, think of the market value." Susan couldn't believe what she was hearing.
"I'm going to go and refresh everyones glasses, more wine anyone?" She rose from the table and dashed to the kitchen.
After the guests had left there had been words, and Susan felt worse for it. She sat finishing the last of the wine with a blanket whilst mark licked his wounds in the shower. There was a piece on the news about the charity meteor concert, although nobody mentioned what charity, when Mark came and sat down besides her.
"Looks like your favourite is playing."
"He's not my favourite and you know it, stop teasing. How was your shower?"
"Good thanks. Can we make friends now?"
"Its just that you didn't defend me at all, its like you weren't on my side!" Mark took her hand.
"I am always on your side, but you know how Mum can be." The TV chimed and the conversation came to an abrupt end. There was a busy sounding room on the news, with lots of came flashes and a relatively familiar logo in the background.

"Ladies and gentleman of the world, I am addressing you tonight on behalf of the leaders of all Nations. It is my duty to inform you that preliminary reports suggest that the impending meteor shower on Monday night is likely to present a much more significant danger than first thought. At around 3am, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, it is likely that the significant disturbances to our neighbouring planets will cause our orbit to shift to a path that will bring us dangerously close to the sun. The change in orbit will result in a drastic change in velocity, and is likely that four days following the meteor shower, at approximately four fifteen in the afternoon, Eastern Standard Time, that our planet will have drifted close enough to the sun to cause us to burn up. All life as we know it will come to an end."

"HA! I told you, I kept saying it but now you have to believe me because the President has told you!" Mark looked at her dumbstruck.
"Susan, we're going to die" Susan paused.
"Oh, shit."

"We now return to our regularly scheduled programming."