Space Madness – Chapter 7
Former astronaut Nancy Line returns from exile after a public nervous breakdown to assist NASA in faking a moon landing.
Chapter Seven – Pennies From Heaven
NASA Director Josef Morrow, PR maven Tanner Mercer and astronauts Tony Graziani & Nancy Line are racing through the basement hallways of the Beverly Hills Hotel, late for a press conference announcing the upcoming lunar mission.
Josef, huffing, “You know, we wouldn’t be scrambling like this if Tony hadn’t opened his yap to his newspaper buddy.
Tony, chugging along behind the NASA director, “I said I’m sorry!”
Tanner stops and turns in front of the NASA employees just before they enter the hall full of reporters, “This is good, we can spin this. The key is to keep questions general, nothing too personal.”
Nancy nods, “Nothing personal, got it.”
Josef calls on television reporter Janis Page. “This question is for Miss Line. Will it be awkward flying to the moon with the man you once dated and nearly murdered?”
Janis smiles, “It’s the question on everyone’s mind, Miss Lyin’–er, Line.”
Tanner leans over into Nancy’s mic, “Ms. Line & Mr. Graziani would prefer to keep their personal lives personal. This is a professional mission and these are professionals.”
Nancy grabs the microphone back, “It’s okay, Tanner. Look, seven years ago I was young and confused. Doctors said I spent too much time in space, there was a lack of oxygen to my brain due to gravitational fluctuations. I had strong feelings for Tony and the space madness exacerbated those. Tony hurt me. I liked to think I was stronger than to give into feelings of jealousy, but I wasn’t. I don’t think any of us truly are. I’m not perfect. And neither is Tony. And neither are any of you. I made a mistake and I paid the price. I lost my job and I lost a friend. Now I’ve been given a second chance. A second chance at the job I love and a second chance to work with the man I lo–uh, like…to work with.”
Janis turns to Tony, “Mr. Graziani, how will it feel being alone in space with Ms. Line after she drove across the country on speed in a diaper holding a knife with your name on it?”
Nancy scowls, “Come on.”
Tony pulls his microphone closer, “That was an isolated incident. Nancy Line is the greatest astronaut I’ve ever worked with. She’s fearless, intelligent and she packs a mean left hook.”
The assembled press chuckle and Tony winks at Nancy, who rolls her eyes.
Tony continues, “We’ve buried the past and it’s time the rest of you do too. We’ve got more important things to deal with. Hell, we’re going to the fucking moon!”
Tony holds his fists up as the press room erupts in applause.
Det. Harry Schette is watching a mini portable television in the passenger seat of his partner Det. Ricky Faulk’s Cabriolet as Ricky stares at the empty movie stage across the street through binoculars. “No action today.”
“Ricky, check this out.”
Ricky watches the NASA press conference, recognizes the people they’ve been surveilling for weeks and looks up at his partner, “What are astronauts going on a moon mission doing in a warehouse in North Hollywood?”
Harry gasps, “Moon rock meth?”
Ricky squints, “I don’t…think so.”
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