Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

“… in reply, the Ambassador of the Chinese Federation to the U.N. had this to say;”

“It must be made clear to the people of the Russo-North American Coalition that these insults to the People of the Chinese Federation and her partner nations will not be tolerated. Swift measures will be taken.”

“Shortly after the statement was made, a massive build up…”

“Ray, Honey. Would you please turn that off? Let’s enjoy the evening in peace.”

“… Russian bord…,” Ray turned off the TV and sat down beside his wife at the teak deck table overlooking the Port Aransas beach front. He unfolded his pocket computer, and spread it before them.

“Okay, I’ll have the feed from the new Palomar scope in a minute. We’ll actually be able to see the shuttle dock with Xanadu”.

“I can’t believe we got your parents to go,” Caroline said, leaning back and taking a sip of her margarita. “Your mother was practically shaking. And then they decided to boost to orbit instead of taking the Konstantin Lift? That’s got to be hell on the body at their age.”

“Actually it was my idea. Don’t tell Mom. Dad’s been a space junkie since he was a little boy and saw the first launches to the moon. He’s been dreaming about something like this his entire life,” Ray replied, battling the wind as it attempted to blow his computer away. “Besides, your ninetieth wedding anniversary only comes around once.”

“You never took me to the habitats,” she pouted.

“It would be a waste of money,” he pulled her down for a kiss; “we’d never get out of our room.” He gave her a gentle pat on the ass.

“There, I’ve got it,” he said, returning his attention back to the computer. It was weighed down at the edges with a citronella candle and a margarita. The Xanadu colony superficially resembled a central pivot irrigation system. Ten spoked wheels rotated around a central axel.

“Ah ha, there it is.” He jabbed his finger at the screen, temporarily marring the image. He was pointing to a sleek delta wing craft that was approaching a docking port at the end of the axel.

“What’s that,” Caroline asked, indicating a second craft approaching the orbiting colony at high speed.

“I don’t know.” Concern was evident in his voice. “It looks like…,”

The screen flashed white.

“What the hell?”

They looked up across the water to the darkening sky. The L-5 pleasure colonies slowly, yet methodically, glowed fiercely like newly lit candles, then just as quickly, were extinguished.

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