This is a bit of a repeat because it’s the scene that was started at the end of yesterday’s snippet. I just finished it out and decided to post it as the snippet. Being that I’m on the final read through of the last 3 chapters of the first novel, I won’t be putting more snippets up. So it’s going to be rough drafts and other writing that I’ve done earlier involving her.
The blue star raged, with flares exploding as far outwards as Earth orbits the sun, causing the April to tamp down the viewscreen’s sensitivity. Even with that help, the people on the bridge struggled with the intensity of the light and the processor in Talia’s worked overtime to overcome the issue.
Talia De’Zahna wouldn’t have believed it a year ago but the humans that crewed the Valiant were now functioning better than any Gahl crew she’d served with during the War. Perhaps the ordeal she and the crew went through stopping the Wraith and Cabal from destroying mankind had worked like a forge and strengthened them.
A familiar irritation started to gnaw at her gut and it took all of the warrior’s self-control to keep it at bay. With peace having settled over the galaxy, it’d been nearly a year since she’d seen a battle and the withdrawal pains were getting worse and worse each day.
Thousands of years ago when the boffins created Talia and her sisters, they’d built into the four warriors’ DNA that an endorphin would release while they were in battle. Its effect on them was similar to when a runner hit the ‘high’ during a race but many times stronger and far more addictive. Keeping her and her sisters willing to fight instead of rebelling had driven the politicians to take such a course of action and Talia continued to pay the price for their actions.
So they made us drug addicts, she thought bitterly. Some control.
Just thinking about what happened proved enough to allow the thoughts of the War to come back to the forefront of her mind. Trillions of Gahl died at the hands of the Dragus, a cybernetic race that turned the civilians they encountered into biomechanical soldier monstrosities. For twenty thousand years she and her sisters fought them, and were cloned eleven times, until Gahlza finally fell.
And we were supposed to prevent that from happening, she thought. As if that were possible.
Even after being alive for a year, Talia still found herself like a fish out of water a lot of times. One hundred thousand years separated her death in the final battle and the reawakening last year. Things were different, the galaxy ruled by races that weren’t even known when the Gahl were alive, and it didn’t chance for the better.
The humans, despite their immaturity as a race and barbarism, had been more than kind as she and her sisters learned about the world around them. Maybe learning that their development had been brought about by the Gahl, and learning that their ‘super ship’ was a Gahl cruiser, helped shape that attitude. None of it mattered to Talia as long as the younger race didn’t get in bed with any races that wanted them dead.
She thumbed on the intercom. “Dannae, how much longer?”
“I need another thirty minutes. We’re still receiving the data from the probe.”
“It’d be nice if you hurried up, sis. I don’t like being this close to Cepheid Variable.”
“Relax, it’s nowhere close to its brightening phase. We’re safe.”
“You’ve been wrong before.”
“Not as many times as your plans have failed.”
“No it’s not.”
“Keep it up, beanpole, and I’ll come down and spank you.”
“Spank me? Spank me? Did I just hear you say that? Ok, Little Miss Perfect.”
“Don’t bring up my screw-ups.”
“Then don’t mention mine.”
“I have a right to.”
“No, you don’t.”
Talia chuckled. “That’s fine, I’ll get you back.”
“You’ll be waiting a long time.”
“Just hurry up, please. I’d like to get somewhere safer.”
With that settled, Talia turned her attention back to the matters at hand. Cepheid Variable is by nature unpredictable, which made this particular scientific mission stressful to say the least. If the star exploded, part of it would be moving fast enough to penetrate into h-space and destroy the Valiant. While a dimensional jump could get them away, no one knew what the additional energy in the area would do the ship or where it’d come back out at.
While Dannae enjoyed sitting still and studying things, it drove Talia nuts to have nothing to do. Unlike her sister, she’d been built strictly to fight, lead and to have the kind of lateral thinking ability to win almost any battle she was in. Unfortunately, while Dannae had been designed to fight and kill, her main abilities were healing and scientific exploration, which lead to the occasional argument between her and Talia.
“Sherri,” Talia said, “what’s our distance from the star?”
“Steady at thirty light seconds,” Sherri Watkins, the tactical officer, said.
“I want to know if anything changes-I don’t care how small.”
There wasn’t much more to do but wait, so Talia went and sat down in the command chair. With any luck Dannae would have everything done by the time she promised and they’d be on their way. From what she’d seen over the past couple days, the Stellar Institute back on Earth would be very happy with the data Dannae collected.
The com unit chirped for her attention. “Yes?”
Sherri shouting, drowning out the voice on the intercom. “Talia! The star’s output has suddenly gone up ten thousand percent and it’s collapsing!”
“Talia!” Dannae snapped. “Get us out of here!”
“Jones! Full power!”
A fluttering in Talia’s stomach was the only sign of the Valiant’s massive acceleration. On the viewscreen, the star started to shrink, but it continued to grow brighter and brighter. If Talia didn’t know better she’d swear it was about to go supernova, which should’ve been impossible.
Flares erupted from the star’s surface, each one reaching millions of miles into space, and raced towards the fleeing starship. The star started to visibly shrink and it’s brightness continued to grow to where it started to overload the viewscreen and the bridge crew had to shield their eyes to see their stations.
This can’t be happening! Talia thought. Dannae’s never screwed up like this!
“Talia!” Dannae said. “It’s going to blow! We need to jump!”
“We can’t! Cheikra only knows where we’ll emerge!”
The star’s luminosity started to drop, giving everyone a reprieve from the light, as it continued to grow smaller. That didn’t make sense because all the theories on star birth and death stated that a star got brighter before explosion, not go dark!
An explosion, large enough that it defied imagination, unleashed a flash of light that blinded the humans and forced the processor in Talia’s brain to shut down her vision. While the warrior wasn’t dead, a part of her mind refused to accept the fact and fear fought against her self-control in the effort to take over her mind. Moments later the processor reactivated Talia’s vision and what she saw was frightening to say the least.
When a star goes supernova, run away fusion happens as its surface collapses in on itself until it hits the core and then rebounds outwards violently. The shockwave created thrusts the star’s entire outer levels into space in an explosion that outshines the galaxy itself. Expanding outwards at nearly the speed of light, the superhot gasses and plasma will destroy everything in its path-including the Valiant.
“Sherri! Time until the wave hits us!”
“Jones! Dimensional jump!”
“Where? I have no course!” Mick Jones’s hands were a blur of motion as he worked the controls.
“I don’t care! Anywhere is better than here!”
The wave grew closer, its luminosity growing, and then started to fill the entire field of vision. It was an unstoppable force of nature that would incinerate everything in its path for several thousand years. This was just the part they could see; in hyperspace another large burst of energy moved faster than the speed of light, cutting off any escape.
She activated the ship-wide intercom. “All hands! Prepare for dimensional jump!”
“We’re ready!” Jones said.
A familiar sensation of vertigo washed over Talia and the ship started to fade away. Unstoppable, the wave reached their position and continued on…