Epilogue

Jaul Nasser, former president of the Earth Planetary Union, knew he was on the world of Atrium in the Vesta system. He also knew that he was in a penitentiary and that he was locked in a cell. He had been here for a few hours, or at least that was how it felt. He had done nothing but sit on the edge of the bed, twiddling his thumbs, with the occasional bout of pacing.

The amount of life he had left before he finally met his fate, was unknown to him. It could be months or years. Or it could be days or even hours. It all was dependant on what the Sovereignty had in mind for him. If it was anything like what they had in mind for the Union, or perhaps rather what it seemed like they had in mind, then he didn't have much of a life left.

Nasser rose up from the bunk as two alien soldiers stopped outside his cell door. They stood there for a moment, before pulling it open. Without uttering a single word, in English or otherwise, they gestured for him to come out. He did so and was led out of the large prison building.

Outside there were quite a lot of people. None of them wore typical prison garb, which meant that they were most likely the survivors of the attack. If that was the case, what had happened to the actual inmates?

Beyond the walls and fences was a city, that lay perhaps ten miles away. He wasn't familiar with any of the cities on Atrium, so he couldn't put a name to the place. It didn't really matter anyway, as this planet now belonged to the Sovereignty and there was nothing anyone could do to change that, nor was that likely to ever change now, given what he had seen.

The guards left him and headed back inside. It wasn't long until people started to notice him. They would know who he was, and some of them would no doubt be angry, as it had been his voice that had relayed the Sovereignty's message. Yet none of them approached him, nor did anyone interact with him at all, other than looking, or staring. Still, Nasser anticipated accusations about colluding with the enemy being thrown at him before too long.

Nasser turned away from the people. Seeing a wooden bench, he walked over to it and sat down. He didn't want to be here. He wanted to be back at home safely on Earth. But that wasn't going to happen, it was never going to happen.

He knew that such thoughts were selfish, but he couldn't help it. Things were now so far out of his control, he honestly wondered if they had ever been in his control, to begin with.

"Nasser," a gravelly voice said from the side.

He looked up to see an aged man in a military uniform stood over him. He didn't recognise the man, but he had a feeling that he had been someone important here. Before the Sovereignty took the planet of course.

"Who're you?" Nasser asked him.

"I'm Admiral Alex Rice. I used to be the one who led the military in this star system. I guess you could say I'm outta the job now."

Nasser nodded slowly, his eyes on his dirty shoes. "I used to be the president of an entire union."

Rice sat down beside him. "It's not over yet," he assured him. "I will fight till I drop, and I suspect a lot of other people here will do the same."

"Futile effort," Nasser dismissed.

"Me and Mr. Haik, the Deputy Prime Minister don't think so."

"No one's coming for you. Soon there won't even be a Union left to save anyone."

"How can you be so sure?"

"I saw it," Nasser said, closing his eyes tightly. "They showed me the footage. If you'd seen it, you'd know there was no stopping them."

"What do you mean?"

"I saw it. World after world destroyed by them. There were worlds inhabited by races we don't even know existed. They've cut a swath throughout the galaxy, maybe more than one. The last race I saw them decimating was the Pavorans. We're next on the menu, a long list of death and unrepentant despair."

Rice was about to respond when a sudden blast of air shook the fences and caused a few people to stumble. It was almost as though there had been a powerful explosion, only without the explosion.

The Admiral rose up slowly and pointed. Nasser followed the direction of the gesture and saw a large boxy ship bearing Union colours, hovering over the city.

"That's an evacuation cruiser!" Rice shouted in clear surprise. There was also something else in his voice. An undercurrent of despair. "They're not designed for atmospheric flight."

After a few moments, it dawned on Nasser that the ship wasn't actually hovering as he had initially thought. The engines on the underside looked like they were on full burn, but the ship was starting to drop, and it was accelerating.

The lower wing of the ship, which bore the registry EC-03, struck the top of a building. The upper part of the terrestrial structure began to crumble under the weight. Then the engines cut out and the ship simply dropped, crushing buildings beneath like they were nothing.

The ground quaked as the vessel struck. The land almost looked like liquid, as waves of dirt and debris from buildings moved along the surface, away from the epicentre.

Nasser was speechless. He thought after everything he had seen, that seeing a Union ship crash into a city would be nothing. But this wasn't on some screen, this had happened before his eyes.

Slowly, the dust dispersed, revealing a slightly bent ship, as it balanced on its crumpled lower wing. At first, it looked settled. Then came the screeching of metal as the lower wing gave way and imploded in on itself, causing the ground to tremor once more. Finally, the ship and dust settled, leaving everyone positively unsettled.

"Why?" Nasser managed to say after several minutes.

Rice sat back down, rubbing his face with his hands. "Because they can," the aged admiral replied, with anger and frustration in his voice.

"You think the Sovereignty did this?" Nasser asked, even though he already knew it was.

Rice looked him right in the eye, fury plain to see in them. "It was a message!"

"What kind of message."

"To not have hope. That they can drop one of our on ships on our heads at any moment. That they can do whatever they want to us."

Nasser looked on at the crashed ship. He knew that this was most likely the end for them. He doubted any of them would be alive much longer. That this was just another final act to push them further into despair.

For the first time since all of this began, he no longer wanted to be rescued, to somehow get his life back. Now, he just wanted to lay down and let the end come.

In his mind, the sooner it came, the better.


Well, that's it. The end of part 1. Hope people enjoyed. If you did leave a review, it's very much appreciated even if you don't have much to say.