I pulled into the church parking lot and nearly ran over Satcom 5. It lay on the pavement, shattered, flattened, like something attached to the back of Wile E Coyote after he smacked into the side of a mountain. The four solar panels spread out like cracked mirrors, still attached to the central core. Even from a distance I recognized the remains of the American flag painted on its side.
I stopped the bus and told the kids to sit tight.
Tendrils of smoke rose from broken components, the burnt electric smell stinging my nostrils. I kneeled, trying for a closer look. Couldn’t have been here long. Fresh. I glanced around, but the church grounds were still empty in the dawn light. I still had time to clean it up before the Fire Brigade caught whiff of the wreck.
“Joey,” I shouted toward the bus. “Grab a bucket.”
We swept up what we could, salvaged a few bits and bobs and shoveled the remains into a ditch behind the Family Life Center. Joey and a few of the older boys covered the whole pile with leaves.
“When will it stop raining satellites?” Joey asked.
“I don’t know, son.” We put our tinfoil hats back on. “I don’t know.”