It was about seven in the morning when the first shadow of a building touched the vehicle. Two fiery streaks left the launch pads and zoomed upwards into the clear, violet sky. Sentrywatcher would track the Grionic missiles progress every step of the way until their eventual detonation on Abnarak. The Excelsior was patient in the front row, constantly sending images back to Terron. If everything went well, the impact would take place in about five hours. Alana had programmed the second missile to impact on Abnarak on the dark side, just in case the Platnios had some device to prevent the missiles from landing. Lexia continuously scanned Abnarak for any changes in behaviour, but it was as ominously tranquil as it was before. Between all of them, they erected a formidable wall of defences combining the new batch of weapons with their remaining stocks.
Alana programmed the blue rays, strategically placing them on walls or high ground pointing towards valleys and vacant spaces, on all points of the compass. For up to seven kilometres, the forest-surrounded city and its flattened splendour gave them an ample, perfect view. All entrances to the buildings were protected by blue rays, bringing comfort to all of them.
A general alarm sounded for all civilians to come into the city, for protection during the battle. Philip had never seen a mass concentration like this. It was an endless sea of heads, appearing out of nowhere. More than four million Peblinus scuttled into the city and disappeared into the bunkers. Some came with their strange wind vehicles, while others drove electric machines with small mounted stumpy wings like flaps. They descended into the underground tunnels constructed for this purpose decades ago.
The tunnels stretched for dozens of kilometres under the city. They consisted of three levels accessible only by a metal ladder. At each entrance to the bunker, a guard tower added some extra protection. The underground tunnels could sustain life for up to six months, each one capable of housing more than half a million Peblinus. The normal everyday Peblinus here on Ganus was a shy person, they avoided confrontation. The few times Philip or Lexia tried to communicate with them, they backed away without saying a word, so they never forced the issue.
"Just look at them," said Baygorn. "Two billion people without defences; the battle wouldn’t have lasted even a day." Some of the elite guards would use their ion and plasma technology, they seemed capable enough to handle them.
"We got an impact warning!" shouted Alana, as she watched Sentrywatcher transmit images on the C-12. The first missile landed directly in the middle of the two infestations. The visual images they received were fascinating because the detonation didn’t reveal any physical explosion of any kind. Instead, as it struck the landscape of Abnarak, the rocky surface began to melt away like an ice cube on a hot summer’s day. All matter living or dead would become part of this rapidly forming, giant drop of water. By the time the second missile hit, Abnarak had almost transformed, but before the missiles had completed their task, some of the Platnios had taken off. Twenty Platnios warships had reached the orbit of Abnarak. They were hanging there in debate. Lexia was observing them with the eyes of Sentrywatcher --- suddenly she stood up.
"Here they come!" Most of their plan had worked. The math was easy. Ramaan calculated that each Platnios warcraft carried about a hundred thousand. The good news was they didn’t know Philip and his crew were here, but Philip wasn’t sure if they could even defeat twenty of these gigantic freighters with their limited firepower. Philip certainly wasn’t sure of the quality of the Commanders manpower. The Peblinus were completely untrained for any type of military maneuver, and all Ramaan could do was to show them how to point and shoot. Many of these Peblinus would die ---they knew it, yet it was up to them to prevent it. Ramaan and Alana pointed out to them strategic positions. Philip gave them powerful weapons, but they had limited time ---the twenty war craft could arrive at any moment. Baygorn constantly monitored and relayed their distance and speed. One of the Peblinus gave them a map of the central continent. They called it Astmad. Philip unwound the map on the floor as the C-12 continued unravelling their progress. A Peblinus, staring at the map, moved closer.
"Its possible they could land there and there," he said pointing with a long plastic ruler revealing fourteen possible points of descent.
"The remaining Platnios will probably land on the other side of Ganus ---the maps are not available, but we did manage to warn them. They are aware of the situation."
When two-hundred year old human remains are found on one of Neptune's moons, Earth's history falls into chaos. The momentous discovery points planet earth towards a solar system a thousand light years away. Twenty years later, Captain Philip Wakefield and his team, onboard the starship Excelsior, reaches the solar system of Mintaka and continues the investigation. But they are not the only thing evolving in the galaxy. Something frightening has them in its sights. Their discovery of the very cradle of humankind becomes a struggle for interstellar survival.
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Genre - Science Fiction
Rating – PG
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