CAPTAIN ZUZZ was the last of the Scorpian Deucicorns. His ship, the lightest and fastest in the entire universe, was on its last legs. Even the red alert alarms had just about given up. Their feeble warbles sounded like muffled trumpets tooting underwater.
“Computer — ” The Deucicorn reared up his huge head and spoke in a language nobody in the universe would ever likely hear again. His two noble horns, one twisted around the other spiralling out from the middle of his forehead, dimmed and lost their inner sparkle. The end was near. “Computer, wake up! Computer!”
Computers in Scorpio, as far away from Earth as it is possible to imagine, were so advanced they were officially classed as living things.
“Captain Zuzz!” The computer wailed. “Should I take evasive manoeuvres?”
“No, it’s too late for that now,” Zuzz mumbled. He looked down at his crew and shook his head. Every last one of them, dead. “We’re Novaweavers. We have to save the universe. Even if that means we don’t make it.”
The Novaweavers were the guardians of the entire universe, and their sacred duty was to protect every living thing from one end of the sky to the other. Another fire roared to life on the port side of the bridge, and Zuzz knew he only had a few minutes left to finish his job.
The battle shouldn’t have even counted as one. Zuzz and his crew of Deucicorns – the only Scorpians in the entire Novaweaver force – had responded to a distress call. Seconds after they arrived – disaster.
Then somebody turned off the stars.
A beep echoed from the console. Life support was down to 4%.
“We have to get a message to the rest of the Novaweavers!” His lungs burned with each ragged breath. Nearly every scrap of air in the ship was gone. “There’s a Nova Particle on Earth! A tiny planet, in the dustiest corner of the universe, but it’s there! No doubt about it, it’s there! Computer, you must send it – ”
The captain gaped in horror as he stared at two massive hands gripping onto either side of his ship through the viewscreen. A huge, moon-sized face came into view, dead-centre of the screen. Its eyes blazed a blinding, fierce yellow, and energy seemed to radiate off the entire being.
Zuzz’s head suddenly felt like it was on fire. “Computer, send it! Send it now!”
A voice boomed out through the ship, so loud that it hurt Zuzz’s ears. “IT’S TOO LATE, NOVAWEAVER. TELL HER I’M COMING. SHE TURNED HER BACK ON ME. SHE LEFT ME TO DIE. AND NOW YOU WILL ALL PAY FOR HER MISTAKE.”
The ship creaked and groaned as the enormous being gripped the hull with its massive hands. Zuzz knew he only had seconds left.
“Computer…is it sent?” Zuzz gripped the arms of his captain’s chair for the last time.
“It’s away, Captain,” the computer sighed. “It’s been a pleasure serving with you.”
A deafening crack echoed throughout the ship, and Zuzz knew the end was near. He hoped the message would be enough.
Countless light years away, far enough that to get there required travelling back in time, a message alert beeped in the ear of a Piscean being with a crooked back. Her scaled legs ached and itched, and her long-retired wings stretched out stiffly as she sat up in her bed. She flapped her wide, pointy ears to receive the message.
Captain Zuzz’s final words of warning echoed in the ancient woman’s cavernous ear. Her eyes were unreadable as the message played out. It finished, so she flapped her ears twice to play it again.
“Of course it’s on Earth,” she murmured. She spun her legs out of bed, remarkably quick for a woman several thousand years old, and slid her talons into big plouffy slippers waiting for her down below.
She hobbled over to her personal Novaweaver station and brought up her map of the universe. She zoomed in on a tiny planet about as far away from the centre of the universe as you could get without actually defying the laws of existence. She zoomed in even closer and a picture of a young girl with light brown skin and reddish-brown hair stared back at her. A name popped up at the bottom of the screen.
“Madeline Singh,” she said, her chambers glowing faintly blue and green from the image rolling across the map screen. “Thank you, Zuzz. You may have saved us all. Rest in Nova, Captain.”
With that, she was off, the fate of the universe resting on her wizened shoulders.