Beacons

Author : Rory O Reilly

The blue was bright beyond measure shooting far out from the supernova displaying a beauty across the void. The vast ship passed within viewing range, the shimmering metal reflecting strongly. To the stern lay the bridge resplendent in decadent materials and there stood the captain and pilot desperately searching the area with both eyes and advanced scanners. Everything returned negative results from the blank screens to watered eyes. In deep space a distress beacon had been activated several months earlier, a class three dreadnought on routine patrol with over two hundred souls on board. Contact had been lost after the crew reported distortions in magnetic fields and severe damage to the outer hull. The rescue effort had been swift but unrewarding, however back on board the bridge, a piercing siren announced the possibility of better news. A large shape was visible on the scanner, a mass spread out over an almost impossible distance. The captain gave the order to make for the location.

It took several anxious hours to reach the spot and when they did sadness filled the crew’s hearts as they appeared to be the first to discover the ill fated dreadnought which it seemed had been ripped to pieces and now was nothing more than an immense floating graveyard.

The charged particles of the supernova cast an eerie glow behind the hulking debris field.

It was with an uneasy feeling in the captains’ stomach that it dawned on him what had occurred, he shouted the order to turn the ship and place the engines on full power. In the ensuing frenetic rush of activity, strange noises echoed through the craft; the sound of metal contorting and snapping as the pilot desperately tried to get the thrusters to respond. The visor section of the bridge began to crack, the violent arcing of dancing spiderwebs as the sheet weakened to breaking point. With a final explosion the reinforced material gave way and sucked both the pilot and captain into oblivion. With no one left to pilot, the huge ship continued to be torn apart, vast sections torn off as the remaining crew members breathed their last. As the rescue ship neared the end of its existence, its automated distress beacon was initiated and began its deathly symphony with its cosmological brother.

The debris was quickly melded into that of the dreadnought, increasing the radar blip to nearly twice its size. It was here in the vicinity of the beautiful galactic cloud and dense spinning pulsar that these two great ships became one and sat in silence for thousands of years. News travelled and the tale of the missing ships passed into legend until one day a nearby corvette class craft picked up what sounded like two extremely low pings of distress beacons off in the distance and a blip on their scanner.

The merchant captain with surprise in his eyes turned to his pilot and coughed out the order.

“Make way for that point at full speed”.

2 Comments

  1. SimonJM

    Nasty – but natural or a contrived trap?

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