It wasn’t until a series of rumors started among the community of astrophysicists that more instruments were pointed in Leigh-Strickner’s direction. The first rumor claimed the trajectory of Leigh-Strickner would bring it closer to Earth than any other previous comet. An exciting point, but still years away. The second rumor was far more intriguing to wealthy parties as many claimed the comet would be close enough to make mining it a valid possibility. The rumors of mine-ability fueled investigation into the celestial traveler that revealed its rather unique nature. While comets are usually a mass of ice and rock, Leigh-Strickner had a unique elemental composition. The outer surface was the typical frozen mix of water and dust, the inner layers appeared to be an iron core encapsulated in crystalized carbon, better known as diamond. It also turned out to be significantly larger than originally thought, in fact, huge by comparison to all other comets before it, with a nucleus 1200 km from end to end, similar in size to Pluto’s moon, Charon, and about 100 times the size of Halley’s Comet.

If the scientists were right, the world was in for quite the show, though they still had years to wait! 

Jump ahead a few years to April of 2020 when the media finally catches the Leigh-Strickner buzz. The media hypes up the world with claims that the comet will be visible with small telescopes by mid-year, boosting interest and sending backyard astronomers out in droves. All the additional eyes in the sky began feeding data to websites around the world and a rather terrifying discovery was made. 

Rather than passing by and creating an awesome celestial show, the best astrophysicists on the planet, fueled by amateur data from around the planet, determined that Leigh-Strickner was going to strike Earth sometime between November 27th and December 3rd depending on just how much additional speed it picked up whipping around the Sun. Even though the media got a whiff, it didn’t have any scientists willing to explain the complex calculation needed to determine the trajectory of a comet making its turn at the Sun, primarily because most knew that telling the world that they had less than 3 years to live wouldn’t do anyone any good.

Enter, the Collective. Back then it was called the International Committee on the Preservation of Life and it was made up of top government officials from almost every country on the planet, the best scientific minds of the day, and several great public relations experts who made sure everyone thought the ICPL was all about preventing the extinction of endangered animal species. 

Working in secret the Collective determined a plan of action that would solve several world issues all at the same time. Nuclear-capable governments of the world would offer up their arms and delivery systems to be used in a series of strikes against Leigh-Strickner. They determined that, while every nuclear weapon may not be needed, they were much better off pushing it further off course than saving a few nukes so that these countries could continue to threaten each other with annihilation. It was a great plan, they had plenty of time to execute, and the scientists involved were nearly certain the effort would be successful. The problem was, it involved all of the major players giving up their nuclear arsenal. With progress stalled, the Collective began looking for alternative solutions. 

Jump ahead again to August of 2021. The Collective is stalled, individual governments are looking into alternative solutions, and most of the world is beginning to plan where they want to travel to get the best view during November and December of 2022. Enter Garett Storm.

Storm was an actor, turned director, turned political activist that everybody knew. He was charismatic and had a reputation for honesty. He somehow got wind of the truth and brought that news to his throngs of followers. The news media quickly followed up and used Storm’s reputation to support the claims. Scientists were questioned and most responses came in one of two forms, stuttering denial or claims of ignorance. A rare few decided it wasn’t fair to lie and published the results of astrological surveys that showed the course of Leigh-Strickner and its imminent collision.  

The news shot around the world like a wildfire in high winds. Though governments denied and most scientists continued to keep their speculation to themselves, the world slipped into chaos.  

No one was spared. The greatest nations on the planet were unable to sustain civility with a populace that felt their life was now easily measured in months, rather than years. In truth, those nations that already lived day to day, were the least affected. 

The Collective brought their plan back to the table. The world’s governments, those that still had some semblance of order, quickly agreed and tried to set about putting events in motion. The problem was, they didn’t have enough control anymore. Order needed to be restored, and that’s where Garrett Storm went from harbinger of death, to heralder of the new world.

In January of 2022, after five months of chaos, Storm was broadcast across every available form of communication explaining that humanity could be saved, it just needed to come together. While some small pockets still refused salvation, the world came together under the leadership of the Collective and the face of Garrett Storm. 

The first launch occurred within the month and utilized much of the existing stock of long-range ICBM’s to send the first 5,000 warheads on a course to intercept Leigh-Strickner in September. The death toll from those months of chaos wasn’t fully tallied before the end but it had surpassed the billion mark. The loss of so many hindered the efforts and industry of the world for a short time. The second phase involved launching the 200 remaining ICBMs, with 1000 warheads, in April to be in position in October to give Leigh-Strickner another push. 

The times from that first worldwide broadcast until C-Day, was an era of peace and progress unmatched in human history. An ironic calm before the storm where man worked together to produce and modify their existing spacecraft to deliver 10,000 more of the worlds deadliest weapons in an effort to save all life on Earth. Paralleling this progress were advances in medicine, communication, and genetic engineering all thanks to the cooperation of the world’s scientific community. 

The final launch phase of the plan occurred in September as the freshly crafted and modified spacecraft were launched daily from around the world. They would encounter Leigh-Strickner in early November and put the finishing touches on pushing its course away from an unpleasant encounter with Terra Firma. As the final phase was launched, the first phase was detonating.

The world rejoiced as the Collective announced success. They never lied, the warheads detonated as planned, but the explosions did little to break Leigh-Strickner. New calculations altered the timeline but still left the chance of impact at 99%. This was not a surprise. The early launch and the crude delivery systems were meant to show progress, not bring success. 

In late October, the second phase played out. It was hidden from view by the Sun but proved far more effective. The warheads were detonated in sequence along the path of Leigh-Strickner as it accelerated towards the Sun. The explosions combined with the Sun’s gravity to push the comet a fraction of a degree off its course but also accelerated it just enough to make its new course and speed still a 99% chance of collision. The world was never told that. They were simply told it was another success and the everything was going as planned. 

The third phase played out on November 11, 2022. The final set of warheads, already stationed in space along Leigh-Strickner’s path, would provide another set of sequential detonations that would slow the comet and shift it back to near miss status. The world watched in tense anticipation as the first detonation erupted at 00:00:00. Each hour after another flash erupted in the sky between the Earth and the Sun. A massive 25th detonation occurred at 23:59:59 that included all of the remaining arsenal. 

The scientific community was allowed 12 hours to determine the status of Leigh-Strickner. At 12:00:00, on November 12, 2022, Garrett Storm went before the world again. This time to tell them, they were saved. Though only studied for a short period the astrophysicists of the world were able to determine that the modified trajectory of the comet would shift it from impacting the Earth. 

Saved from imminent doom, humanity celebrated. Parties began that very night and continued all the way until the 3rd of December, when the world suddenly realized they averted certain death for catastrophe. Even the Collective had dropped their guard. 

Leigh-Strickner didn’t strike the Earth, it missed by just shy of 400 thousand kilometers. A measure which happens to be the distance of the moon from Earth on that date. Leigh-Strickner missed Earth but struck our solitary innocent satellite, the moon. The unique nature of the comet has been speculated as the only reason for our survival. The heavy core surrounded by ultra-hard diamond made the comet punch through the moon like a bullet. Luna held strong at first but the impact had plenty of force to launch a massive shockwave and huge chunks of rock hurtling towards Earth.