This object, made by creatures that did not resemble men at all, sped past the orbit of Neptune, inward bound. In just short of three hours it had crossed to the orbit of Saturn. Another thirty-six minutes later it had reached the orbit of the planet Mars. From there to the earth took only three minutes.
Faster than any eye could follow, this killer machine missed the Earth by just over eighty thousand kilometers. But it did not miss totally. A half second after its near-miss of the Earth, the object impacted with the edge of Earth’s moon.
The explosion was the largest ever seen by man, dwarfing man’s puny atomic and hydrogen bombs. It shattered the moon, leaving one major ragged chunk and thousands of smaller pieces flying off in all directions. The off-center hit caused what was left of the moon to spin wildly, throwing out fragments and dust as it did.
It was the largest disaster to ever hit mankind. And it was not natural.
Chapter II: Counting up Losses
News bulletin, Station KKNV, 23 July 2213 A.D.:
“Officials all over the world today are releasing casualty figures from the Moon Strike, as it has come to be called. Casualties attributed directly to the falling pieces of the Moon have already topped 800 million worldwide, and more continue to strike the Earth. Secondary casualties from tsunamis, flooding and fires exceed 100 million and are expected to grow. Authorities place the death toll from the major meteorite that struck near the center of Beijing at 200 million, but communications within China are unreliable. Some say that figure is too low.
“Other cities have suffered near misses. Casualties are high New York and Chicago, also from nearly direct hits.
“Disruption of the social infrastructure in many countries is expected to affect almost everyone on the planet. Distribution of food supplies, power and other necessities has been disrupted in many areas, and it may be weeks or months before they are restored. The World Health Organization has warned of massive spread of diseases to due food shortages and disruption of fresh water and sanitation facilities.