Space Madness – Chapter 12
Former astronaut Nancy Line returns from exile after a public nervous breakdown to assist NASA in faking a moon landing.
Chapter Twelve – Makin’ Whoopee
Astronauts Nancy Line & Tony Graziani are on a bus heading north out of North Hollywood. Having escaped a shootout with White House Chief of Staff Jeremy Wolfe’s black ops hit squad, the two are standing near the back of the bus in full spacesuit regalia — minus the helmets — catching odd silent looks from their fellow passengers.
Nancy glances over at Tony’s clammy paling face with concern, and then down at his feet where a pool of blood is forming. Tony blinks and then everything goes black.
Tony wakes up bleary-eyed and drained in what appears to be a cheap motel room. Light shines in from the half-drawn curtains and creates a shining crown around Nancy’s head as she sits over him.
“We should get married,” Tony slurs.
“You were shot.”
“Let’s go to Vegas and get hitched.”
“You lost a lot of blood. We’re lucky we got out when we did. Those men were trying to kill us. The government is trying to kill us.”
“We could hide out on a farm. We could be farmers.”
Nancy holds Tony’s head in her hands, staring into his eyes. “Tony, I’m gonna need you to focus up here. Our lives are in danger.”
Tony lunges forward, eyes shut, lips puckered. “I wanna kiss you.”
Nancy pushes Tony’s head back onto the bed with one hand. “Oh, good lord.”
Chief of Staff Jeremy Wolfe is standing over a bound NASA Director Josef Morrow on the lunar surface set where the moon landing was faked a day earlier. French movie director Arrendise Marche lays dead to one side.
“I need to know where your astronauts are heading, Josef.”
Morrow spits blood onto the floor. “Maybe to space.”
Wolfe slaps the NASA Director. “They’re loose ends, Josef. They need to be cleaned up.”
“All of this is just to boost your boss’ approval rating? You’re sick.”
“A President in a time of crisis holds more power than a President in a time of peace. When there is no crisis, we create the crisis. We will find your astronauts, Josef. The crash landing is off the table now, but I’ve got a far more ugly fate for them.”
Josef Morrow sneers. “You’re a dickhead.”
Jeremy Wolfe is taken aback. “Hey, screw you, man.”
On a live press conference that evening, Chief of Staff Wolfe speaks to the nation.
“…and though these astronauts left our earthly skies as heroes, it seems they have returned as monsters. After landing outside a contained zone this morning, NASA doctors determined they may be experiencing severe space madness. If anyone comes into contact with Nancy Line or Tony Graziani, use extreme caution. Deadly, if necessary. These astronauts are now considered a danger to the public. A reward has been issued. $500,000 for their return to the United States government, dead or alive. In other words: Shoot to kill.”
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