Roux stood on deck, gripped the railing, and stared at the bridge screen, stupefied.

Enormous, jagged rocks and planetary debris hurtled through star-riddled blackness on their eternal journey to nowhere in particular. No scream accompanied them, for the terror—left far behind—lost its voice in the vast emptiness of open space.

The torn planet hung lopsided, still turning but knocked off its natural orbit around its distant sun. Clumps of planetary matter clung haphazardly like shreds of dirt from an uprooted plant. Shards bled through the rent atmosphere, draining the broken core still further.

Max rose from his chair, his mouth open but silent.

Her eyes glued to the image, Jazzmarie stepped forward like a sleepwalker and placed a trembling hand on Max’s shoulder.

Bala, draped against the arm of his chair like a wrung-out rag, held his face in his hands as if to shade his eyes from blinding grief.

Only Yelsa manned the directional console, her gaze fixed on the data stream. With a triumphant snort, she straightened and faced Roux. “We can catch her, sir.”

Unheeding, Roux stepped forward and ran his fingers through the air as if tracing the missing section of the planet. “My father brought me here once when I was very young. We visited the wild-animal park. It was the best month of my life. Amphibians as big as mountains, flying creatures decorated with every color of the rainbow, and these cute little—” Roux’s voice broke, and his shoulder drooped. “God Almighty.”

As if on cue, a fiery spout erupted, and volcanic cracks opened vast fissures, further renting the planet’s surface.

Max cleared his throat, blinking rapidly. “It’s hopeless. No one could survive.”

Frowning, Jazzmarie dropped her hand to her side and trotted across to the communications console. She jabbed Bala in the ribs. “Get to work and send a message. See if anyone responds.”

Bala straightened and focused his attention on the console, his fingers darting in every direction.

Jazzmarie bent over his shoulder. “And send messages out to every ship in the area that might be able to lend assistance—Luxonian, Cresta, Ingilium, Sectine”—she dashed a glance at Yelsa— “even Helm.” She shrugged. “Someone might be able to get here in time.”

After stepping behind her, Max leaned in. “You really think anyone could have survived this?”

Jazzmarie turned and tapped her fingers together. “We won’t know until we try—will we?” Peering intently at Roux, she strode forward and took a position between her captain and the main screen. “Don’t you agree, Roux?”

Without taking his eyes off the desolation, Roux nodded.

Yelsa’s eyes widened, her mouth puckering. “If we don’t hurry, Cosmos will get away again.”

Jazzmarie’s eyebrows rose as she stared at Yelsa. “Again?”

Shaking himself out of his stupor, Roux turned from the screen.  “Max, I want a full analysis of the planetary destruction. There’s something not right here.” He waved his hand in the air. “Obviously, a lot is wrong, but I mean—” He locked eyes with Jazzmarie. “Doctor, consider the scene dispassionately. What does it look like to you?”

The hologram panel before her, Jazzmarie pulled the screen image up on the holoplatform. The massive scene of destruction slowly turned in vivid three-dimensional form. She circled around, her gaze sweeping from the planet’s core to the flying debris. “It looks like someone took a bite and left.”

Roux snapped his fingers. “Exactly!” Charging over to the holoplatform, he traced the planet core with his finger. “She attacked here.” He tapped the area of greatest destruction. “Granted, one Cosmos bite can do a great deal of damage, but still, this planet should cease to exist. It should be—”

Max jumped forward. “I have it, sir. There’s a great deal of Technetium on this planet. When I checked the debris, I discovered that it’s almost completely Technetium. In fact, it seems as if the other elements were devoured, but this was”—Max took a breath—“spat out.”

“Gave her a tummy ache, did it?” A gleam entered Roux’s eye. “This information might come in handy. Thank you, Max.”

Yelsa tapped her foot and gripped the directional console. “If she’s sick, then we have no choice but to give chase now. There might never be a better time.”

Bala lifted his arm. “Wait! I’ve got a signal.”

Roux rushed to the communications console. “From a passing ship or the planet?”

Bala met Roux’s gaze. “From the planet, sir. Someone is still alive down there.”

~~~

A. K. Frailey is the author of 16 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.

Make the most of life’s journey. 

For books by A. K. Frailey check out her Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/author/akfrailey

http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

The premise is bold and daring, a promise of an equally bold tale — and the author does not disappoint in living up to that promise, introducing plot points that are robust and characters with depth. ~Cristina Prescott, The Book Commentary

http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

“Newearth is a place to start over. A place to figure out sin, transgressions…gives us a chance to re-think many of the propositions that we take for granted, a chance to discover anew what is needed in order to live a good life.” ~Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight

Photo https://pixabay.com/illustrations/science-fiction-spaceship-alien-1545307/


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