Author : Rick Tobin

Solar flares were partially blocked from pillaging the threatened planet below the behemoth spacecraft. The Bohemia created a cascading, billowing shadow across the Jagron’s continents. Crimson pillars of feathery forests pulled their leaves to sleep as the false night blanketed the starward side of Jagron’s equator and its northern hemisphere. The floating ice beds of Nivonia fell back to the black seas to rest before their iridescent salts would free them to nestle skyward with purple clouds, after the blue star beyond reanimated their life. No life form on Jagron could ignore the silhouette from the black and white rescue vessel hovering in orbit.

Bohemia’s Captain, Egan Palton, communicated through a holographic projector to the central capital, Razic, where the Council of Five gathered to address the visitors in their skies.

“Chancellor Grimmott, you have received our offer. Are you prepared to agree to terms?” Palton’s cold, mechanical tones left no room for interpretation by the Council’s imperial soul quester.

“Captain, we are many peoples and species, all cursed to perish without your assistance, but your price is simply unacceptable to the Council. Taking half of all our wealth and a third of our children…it is simply outrageous.” The soul quester held the wrist of the Chancellor to maintain his emotional equilibrium.

“Very well, Chancellor, but know that you will perish. Jagron is doomed. Biana, the blue star you worship, will turn you all into space dust with one burst from her angry face. You have known this, but you have no technology to evacuate your world. The Bohemia was constructed for that purpose long ago. There is none other like her in this galaxy. There is no one else in your solar system to save you. Perhaps you are depending on some ethereal force to save you, as the Zeboton believed when we abandoned them after unsuccessful negotiations, just before arriving here. Experience what their reluctance cost.” The holographic display widened across the Council chamber. Detailed scenes appeared of absolute destruction of the Zeboton home world. Vistas portrayed cataclysmic onslaughts from a rogue comet. Screams of slaughtered Zebotons sliced through the chamber as the Council watched the planet’s flammable atmosphere savage cities, continents and then the entire outer mantle until the sphere ripped into six large sections and thousands of smaller shards, leaving a glowing core to drift aimlessly in a new, unstable orbit.

“Enough,” Grimmott cried out, lacing his six slender hands over his filigree horns, high above his red, encrusted forehead. “As you command. We have no choice. We will prepare but know there will be no joy in our coming to your ship…even with the promise of safe passage to a new world. We are at your mercy.”

Palton stopped the transmission. He pointed to the dozens of alien forms working in the command center to ready the evacuation craft. It would take three months to move three billion onto the Bohemia while sorting out the loot and the new crew members. Children were a critical part of refreshing the ship’s crew as radiation sickness, accidents and disease took their toll over the millennia. External repairs were the largest culprits as some evacuations were precipitously close to a planet’s demise. It was the legacy of the Bohemia since its first voyage, evacuating Earth to the Andromeda Galaxy ten thousand years before Zeboton’s destruction.

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