Author : Robert Niescier

When the captain sent the message, he wasn’t thinking of the texture of the button his finger had depressed. He didn’t hear the low bass of the shields as they were freely deactivated, allowing missiles long kept at bay to whisper through the fading dust. His eyes were focused forward, towards a screen portraying vessels that did not want to be seen, but he looked only because there was nothing else to look at. He was not thinking about the awe he had felt when the fleet had materialized before his small operation, nor the pit-wrenching horror when the battleships had commenced their bombardment. He wasn’t thinking of the crew that, when presented with two options: to run and hide, or to send a high-powered message and warn their distant home, chose to run. He wasn’t thinking of the cries, the pleas, the threats the crew had made when he had overruled them. He had thought of his wife and his children before, but they were no longer on his mind. He did not pity or champion himself, or wonder if the message would arrive too late, or if the information he had so meticulously selected for transmission would be enough to save his home.

Instead, his mind wandered to an old song he had heard when he was young, a slow, symphonic melody that had moved him to chills but whose name he could never identify. He wished he could have listened to it one last time.

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