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THE SPACE MINERS OF AHRIMAN-108
The following story idea was submitted to SciFi Ideas by Alfonso Posadas Jr…
Astronomers have discovered a ten kilometer wide Near-Earth Asteroid that has been dubbed Ahriman-108. Though large enough to trigger a Mass Extinction Level Event not unlike the Cretaceous-Paleogene transition, further observations have shown that the asteroid would actually have a higher chance at impacting the moon than the Earth and will never delve any deeper into the Earth’s Gravity well than the distance between the planet and the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 1.
However, there are a few corporations who see the benefit of having a resource rich asteroid close to the Earth year round. Thus they conspire to nudge Ahriman-108 over a period of several orbits until the combined gravitational pull of the Earth and the Moon pull it into a comfortable orbit upon either Lagrange Point 4 or 5. This engineering marvel, often compared to the construction of the Panama Canal, has become one of the first so-called “Natural Resource Satellites”, ushering in a new age of Interplanetary Space Exploration.
Yet, the action is not without consequence. Due to constant gravitational nudging, combined with its strong and chaotic magnetic field, Ahriman-108 tumbles on three axes. This makes the prospect of tele-operated and drone mining of the asteroid virtually impossible, or at least expensive enough to not warrant such an investment. Thus humans are sent to mine and exploit the asteroid.
Though the corporations see Ahriman-108 as a cash cow, the scientific community sees it as a great achievement of science and deep space exploration, and the general public see it as a modern marvel, the miners of the asteroid only see it as it is: Hell.
The unusual composition of Ahriman-108, though rich in resources essential to deep space exploration and travel, make it seismically unstable, with each drilling and mining attempt leading to high casualties upon the asteroid. The corporations whom sponsor the mining expeditions do little to increase the safety for the miners due to the amount of profits they’ve gained compared to the number of the dead and lost. In fact, for those miners who survive long enough to complete their mining tour and return to Earth, the most common illness is PTSD.
Ahriman-108 has turned soft men into harden veterans due to the hellish environment both within and without its network of mines. However, men can only be pushed so far before they decide to push back….