“I know, Joe, from down there I look like GI Joe with a warped tennis ball with a rubber band wrapped around it, but this mission is real, so get on your game face!”
“Blue planet calling astronaut Ken, come in, Ken doll….can you hear me?”
“Cut that out! Now give me the trajectory I have to set this on and I’ll be out of here!” Ken pushed himself away from the massive asteroid and jet packed his way back to the capsule. He only had a bit of fuel left, just enough to return to the space lab. This mission would save thousands of lives and he didn’t appreciate the frivolity of his teammate.
“Blue planet calling Ken doll, are you in the capsule yet?” Joe loved teasing Ken, especially since Ken hated it. “Ken doll, come in.”
Ken arrived inside the capsule with no problems. He thought the space lab could easily jettison enough pressure to send the asteroid out of Earth’s way. If not, they would tow it far enough away from Earth to cause no harm. Everything was set up, now it was up to the lab to finish the job. Ken set the panel to return to the space lab when he noticed some type of force pulling him back to the asteroid. He pushed a few buttons and grabbed the controls more forcibly. Nothing seemed to work except the pull of the asteroid. The more pressure he exerted, the stronger the pull.
“Ken doll, come in, I say again, are you in the capsule?”
“Of course I’m in the capsule! Can’t you hear me? I’m being pulled into the asteroid!”
“Ken doll, come in, Ken, are you all right?”
Ken started to panic. He was a certified, trained astronaut, so remain calm, he told himself. The asteroid was getting too close. Can’t they see what’s happening to me? I need some help! “Mission ARM, come in! ARM, come in! I’m in trouble here, guys. I need you to respond!” The capsule started going faster towards the asteroid. Ken had no control. He braced himself for impact.
Suddenly he felt a huge crash, but the capsule stayed intact. Then nothing. Ken could barely see out of the small capsule’s window. He seemed to be going away from the asteroid now. What the hell was happening? Then movement again, and another crash. This time Ken bumped his helmet on the window. Now he was drifting away again.
“Ken doll, what in hell are you doing? Come in!”
The space lab reported “Blue Planet, come in. We seem to have a problem. The tether for the asteroid is holding the space capsule. We knew there might be a problem using that rubber band system.” As they watched from the lab, they saw the capsule bouncing back and forth on the end of a tether. They set their controls to rescue the capsule.
Joe couldn’t help himself. “Ken doll, this one’s for you”….and played Bobby Vee singing “Rubber Ball” over the intercom.