To the Core

Written by Thomas A Hanlon on . Posted in AE Stories

42 core_01For years i warned them about Cetia II and the relentless burrowing to the core, for their precious crystals. It was too much of a risk; the tunnels would collapse killing hundreds of workers, crushing the lives of the families they worked so hard to provide for. How the loss of life and machinery would only get worse the deeper they dug, the deeper i dug.

Two weeks ago and entire continent collapsed in on its self, creating a sink hole that could swallow a large moon. The loss of life was terrible.

It was unimaginable. The resulting quake that rippled across the planet shattering cities and mountain's alike. Worth the risk they said, tell that to everyone that died that day. Tell that to my wife who lost her husband and my three children who will never see their father again.

"Sir we just got word from command that the jump gate is unavailable..." The Lieutenant said rushing up to General Shibaz. He was looking out of the large windows that cascaded around the bridge of the Battleship U.C.S Kanoma, Hovering in low orbit starring the ruined planet below.

"Sir there shipping warships to counter an invasion in sector 38, we won't get any support for three weeks." Lieutenant Marlom added, standing to attention.
"How is the relief process going?" Shibaz said as he continued starring at Cetia II, not even glancing at Marlom.

"Urghh slowly, I'm afraid." Said Marlom sombrely as he too looked down at the burning planet below, watching fierce thunderstorms rage inside toxic clouds that where ablaze with the brilliant shining crystals. All shattered into dust by the implosion.
"What's the condition of the western hemisphere?" Asked Shibaz bluntly as he turned his head and looked directly at Marlom with his tired dark eyes.
"Not good either. Several miles have collapsed into the sinkhole since yesterday, and reports are saying the entire planet is on the verge of collapse." Marlom said as he watched several ships flying away from Cetia II, towards the Kanoma.

A young women sitting at one of the Kanoma's many bridge stations spoke up over Marlom and Shibaz. "General, Scanners are showing huge fluctuations inside Cetia II."
"What kind?" Shibaz barked as he walked briskly across the large open bridge towards the young women.
"Gravitational sir, the core is increasing in density." She said starring at her console.
"Ok, keep an eye on it and inform me if it gets any worse." Shibaz said as gazed back at the Lieutenant. "Marlom, I want to start evacuating the remaining civilian population." Shibaz said watching the Frigates go to and from the planets Eastern continents. "We can't sit here and wait for the support vessels any longer." He added walking up to Marlom.
"Even around the clock sir we can't possibly evacuate three million civilians, one at best." Marlom said quietly to Shibaz.
"I know." The tired General replied as he placed his pale hand on the tall window before him. "As many as we can though." He added grimly as another super volcano erupted spewing more toxic but beautiful dust into air.

Three days past and the planet continued its path of self-annihilation. Two large sink holes had formed destroying much of the southern continent, along with several cities. Alongside the Battleship Kanoma and the Carrier Parlet where several other ships that had raced to help.
"What's the status of the transports Commander?" Captain Bradburn asked curiously as the Parlet cruised above the black fiery smog. 
"Transport one and three are loaded and on route now, Transport one is taking a little longer." Commander Harris replied as he sat in his chair looking at his digital readout.
"Oh that's good. We are on schedule then." Bradburn said with delight as he watched the two slow transports fly under the bridge and into the main hanger.

"Sir I'm picking up those readings again!" the young women shouted. "The core is collapsing on itself."
"Helm, get us out of the atmosphere." Shibaz said with a raised voice as he rushed to the front of the bridge watching the entire planet beginning to buckle in on itself, even the storm clouds where being pulled into the depths of Ceita II.

"Kanoma to all ships, Cetia II is going critical. Evacuate now, I repeat evacuate Cetia II." Shibaz announced as he held his long thing finger on the intercom. 
"Sir several ships are responding but the Parlet isn't moving." Another officer shouted from his station.
"What?" Marlom blurted as he turned around and looked at the Carrier still in low orbit trying to pick up a transport. "She's trying to retrieve her transports."
"Captain the Kanoma is requesting all ships to evacuate the atmosphere." The commander said as the ship shock slightly.
"We can't leave yet the transport is almost here." Captain Bradburn said as he watched the unshielded transport struggle to get close to the Parlet.

As the transport hurried toward the Parlet it began to fly of course as gravity pulled it port and back towards the planet. As it did it began to enter the hanger bay at a catastrophic angle causing it to smash into the hull and explode, tearing it in half and sending the rest of the transport burning back through the clouds.
"Shields are failing!" The Commander yelled as he crawled back to his chair after the bridge erupted in sparks and explosions.
"Helm, get us out of here!" Growled Bradburn as the front of his twisted and buckled ship burned.
"I'm trying!" screamed the helm officer as he frantically piloted his controls.
"U.C.S. Parlet evacuate now!" The General shouted as he held his finger in place on the communication button. 

42 core_02
Marlom watched the burning Parlet list on its side in horror as its engines tried desperately to hold her in place.

"We are exiting the atmosphere." Announced Helm as the Kanoma slowly flew away from the doomed planet along with the other ships.

Shibaz heard the officer but said nothing as he walked quietly to the glass screens and watched Parlet fall closer to the planet, Support craft began to exit the hanger as explosions rippled across her hull tearing her apart. But they to where destroyed.

Soon the listing craft vanished beneath the black clouds and into the flames. After what seemed like an eternity the cloud bubbled up slightly and blazed brilliantly in a silent brief explosion. Within minutes the planet engulfed itself in a violent implosion before erupting in a flash of light as the core superheated and exploded.
"All hands brace for impact!" Shibaz shouted as he gripped the railings watching the shockwave hurtling towards them.

Story sent by Thomas A Hanlon for the AE Stories event.