Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.
Part 6, Around The World And Above; Chapter 8, Terry Knox.
Terry Knox, son of an Andamooka opal miner and an astronaut serving aboard the ISS.
The way he tells his story, from a hospital bed natch, reminds me of a television programme from the 1960’s.
A fantastic show for children of all ages, with this great space station (Thunderbird 5) that monitors all earth communications. The idea being that should there be a catastrophe, the other Thunderbirds would go in and rescue the people under the guide of “International Rescue”.
Wonderful programme, I’ve watched that series over and over.
Mr. Knox’s tale may as well have been that of John Tracy aboard Thunderbird 5.
Monitoring the demise of the Earth and it’s population, human or otherwise. All life was pursued but only humans re-animate.
He and his mates made the decision to remain on board the ISS and maintain any essential satellite’s, the other crew members departed for Earth.
I think Terry may have gotten the better deal but it surely must have been hell not being able to contact family members.
Those spy satellites didn’t help. The entire war played out like an endless soap-opera without sound and no means of intervening. No real way of helping those on the ground.
He saw the battles that raged between the living and the dead. He and his remaining crew mates could only morbidly witness such events as Yonkers & Chongqing.
He saw what really happened in India, how General Raj-Singh did not abandon his men like the rumours say.
Don’t listen to what the critics say about that man, about how he buggered off when things got too hot. We saw it all. He did try to put up a fight, and one of his blokes did smash him in the face with a rifle butt.
I’m rather glad someone else knows the truth about the Tiger of Delhi, he gave his life to blow up the last road out of India, effectively halting the zombie march after the Indian refugees.
He witnessed a great many other things while in space, including the effect on the environment, the mass exodus of the human population by any means at their disposal and the mega swarms of ghouls. Zombies in vast numbers, the swarms miles across.
And then there is the strangely funny incident of a Zed Head trying to dig it’s way to a tasty meal in the Namib Desert. He claims he watched the damn thing constantly digging for five days until it must have lost the scent of the critter it was chasing.
Good on the mole indeed. If moles laugh I’ll bet that one was screaming with laughter and trying to tell his/her mates how he/she evaded the daft stupid not-quite-human.
Again, dwindling supplies was a constant worry. I don’t really want to dwell on the fate of those live specimens.
Thankfully the astronauts did not resort to cannibalism.
It was thanks to the Yang Liwei, a previously thought to be abandoned Chinese satellite, that their supply issues were solved.
It seems the civil war that was raging on Earth had spread to space and the two Chinese taikonauts seemed to have taken a stand on either side. With dire consequences.
One of the taikonauts seems to have been blown out an airlock, while the remaining body (whose name tag was Zhai) had taken a bullet to the face.
Of all the nations affected by the virus, the Chinese government seems to be the most inept and stupid which almost beggars belief.
I bloody hope that is just the author’s point of view. He has used many historical events to build this book of accounts but I can only naively hope that China’s rulers do not have so many shortcomings and are not as blind as their fictional counterparts.
If they aren’t…
Back to the chapter.
Terry witnessed the events preceding the eventual collapse of the Three Gorges Dam.
A right royal cock-up is the only way to describe it without resorting to many swear words strung together like a blue-pearled necklace.
What a bloody mess! No wonder China was plunged into a civil war (what is so civil about war?).
It’s a rather depressing way to acquire new supplies but at least Terry et all was practical about it all.
Zhai had a decent funeral service, and the ISS was comfortably manned for another three years performing their essential tasks.
Some of the things that Mr. Knox witnessed are beyond my capacity to understand.
Such as the Three Gorges Dam and the vast loss of life as it finally gave way and unleashed roughly ten trillion gallons of water, along with the usual debris.
The shear number of zombie holes.
The Saudi oil rigs purposely burning out of control, for whatever reason the Royals decided to set alight to them.
The billions of camp fires and the shroud of Nuclear autumn that had begun to envelope the Earth.
All these things are to just too immense for me to understand in my comfortable, modern living room.
It’s just all too big.
I still think it’s one of the war’s great ironies that our replacement crew ended up arriving in a privately owned civilian vehicle.
His friends & crew mates are gone, he is the last but he does not regret the decisions he made. His mates agreed even up to their last days that given the chance, they’d do it all again with no regrets. Despite the over-exposure to cosmic radiation and the chronic effect such a long stay in space has had on their bodies.
I don’t regret this.
[He motions to the hospital room and machinery attached to his body.]
We made our choice, and, I’d like to think, we made a difference in the end. Not bad for the son of an Andamooka opal miner.
He was the first Australian to command the International Space Station, considering his choices he has every right to be treated as a hero.