There are references in Roman texts to witches out of Thessaly drawing down the Moon in a net of their hair. The only misunderstood reflection remaining to us of the science – or art – that saved their straight-lined man’s world, if our theories are right, and the orbital mechanics and geostress pattern analyses certainly supports them. They say a lot of evidence is being correlated to support it, and I look forward to reading the papers. Assuming this works, of course.

My field – quantum geometry is the phrase that seems to have caught on with the public – languished in dusty obscurity for years until developments in quantum computing in the 2010s, and remained little-enough known outside the field after that. Until the asteroid was detected, swinging inorexably sunwards past the orbit of Jupiter, the calculations began, and it became far too obvious that too many of its probable paths led it to firey ending here.

There were a million different hypotheses, and money poured into the space programme, but it quickly became obvious that a bomb would only disperse the impact rather than prevent it, and nothing we had was capable of shifting its path sufficiently. That’s when my phone rang at 3am, with the Science Minister on the other end.

And this is why we are here, all of us, putting the final painstaking touches to our work. It is notable that, with all of us here, in one place, with the knowledge even dormant in our heads. Salisbury Plane is beginning to ripple, to reshape itself subtly. When the calculations start tomorrow night… We hope it will be enough. The asteroid is so close now it seems larger and brighter than the Moon…

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