(Line from writingforward.com
The asteroid was hurtling straight for Earth...
Right on time.
Dev tapped the monitor once to make sure the connection hadn't come loose again - not this time - and then grabbed the two jutting knobs of the backup MNET.
If all the equipment was functioning properly, the automatic systems would catch the rock all by themselves. If they weren't - and here on M6 Station, they often weren't - it was Dev's job to act as backup.
At least, he thought to himself, the systems had been designed to fail cleanly and give him plenty of warning. A lot of money had been given to a lot of engineers for a lot of time to make sure that whatever else went wrong on M6, or the other M stations, no asteroids would get through the net and hit Earth.
That was why they paid Dev the big bucks, too. He was very uniquely qualified, thanks to his almost paranormally sharp reflexes, to do a job that, he often felt, even a trained chimp shouldn't have too much trouble taking care of.
The red light went on. He moved the levers slightly to the left. He moved the levers slightly down. He double-checked the angles marked in the array of mirrors around the observation window, nodded to himself, and waited.
It was a very satisfying sound, he always thought. Nice and crackly.
He waited for the official notification before slipping off his work gloves - if he'd missed after all, it was also theoretically his job to hop in the tiny rescue craft and play retrieval - but it was only a formality. He never missed. He didn't see how anyone could possibly miss, if they had the slightest sense of spatial awareness. Besides, he'd heard the magnets grab it.
"Success," said D.O.N.N.I.E.
He dropped the gloves on the workstation, slid open the door, and walked out.
Third time they've needed me to do a catch in the last month, he thought to himself. Maybe I should ask for a raise.
He wouldn't get it, though. M6, run by a conglomerate of smaller mining corporations who struggled in the shadow of the Big Three, could barely afford to pay him as it was. The Big Three, meanwhile, controlled M1-M5 2, 2 and 1 apiece. They didn't have to share.
He'd transfer if he could, but there were no openings - and he liked the conglomerates and their scrappy, over-determined spirit.
Flash Fiction Index: http://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=393711