Sarab thrust the ship towards the Dark Matter Cloud as Callib tried to stand next to her.
“Commander please…” He begged; “It’s too risky…”
Sarab ignored him;
“Strap in; we’re entering the cloud in several seconds.”
“The ship might not be able to handle it… force fields alone have never been tested inside…”
Sarab steered the ship into the cloud; the Dark Matter engine hummed to life a second before the whole ship shuddered violently.
“Hold…” Sarab said through gritted teeth… “Hold!”
Within seconds they had made it through but as they did warning signals flashed and rang throughout the craft. Several computers went dead and lights near the rear of the vessel went out.
“We’ve lost over 50% of our power,” Callib said as he pulled himself painfully into a seat next to Sarab.
“We are just a 30 second burst of light speed away from Cryostar,” Sarab said determined; “We can make it.”
She fired up the ships drive before Callib could protest further. Sarab put most of the remaining power into the drive and the force field around their craft.
Quickly; they hurtled through space towards their destination, the 30 seconds seemed agonizingly slow to Sarab; wishing she could double the light speed but knowing the force could rip the ship apart.
In a flash they appeared before Crysostar’s coordinates; but realized all too quickly they were too late.
Darkness was all around them; no sun in the distance, no planets orbiting it… and no Cryostar.
“It’s gone…” Callib spoke; his shoulders sagging. “It’s all gone…”
Sarab scanned with her eyes, ignoring the ships read out that there was nothing around them for hundreds of light years; no incoming signals, beacons or waves of any kind. It was empty space; complete and dead silence.
Sarab sat back, as she did so the ship lost more power as more computers turned off and the lights dimmed even further.
“We have just enough to maintain the outer shield,” Callib said panicking; “We will have to switch to our suits soon.”
“What’s the point?” Sarab asked; “The suits can travel 2x the speed of light but the nearest system is over 200 light years away. 100 years of travel cryogenically frozen in our suits only to die once the batteries expire. Why delay the inevitable?”
Callib looked around wildly;
“There must be something!”
Sarab sighed and looked down at her control panel. There were over 10,000 messages there waiting to be read; all varying from distresses to warnings; but there was 1 message highlighted as “personal” and it was a video message.
Sarab hesitated a moment before pushing the flashing message and opening it.
A familiar face came on the screen instantly; the smiling face of Rossiana.
Tears welled up in a second as a lump formed in Sarab’s throat.
“I hope you receive this message my love,” She said; “We lost contact with your ship two week ago at this point. I know it’s possible you are lost in some kind of way or your communications are out; despite what many scientists are saying. They have said you have been destroyed by the black hole. They are tracking it now; it’s completely consumed Balanntis and is now on its way towards Cryostar according to Chancellor Lycon. I want to give you a message before I depart.”
“Depart?!” Sarab said sitting up.
“We are boarding a ship that I have camouflaged personally; we are hoping whatever this rouge anomaly is that it cannot find us like it has found everything else. We are traveling to the Neptonius solar system. It is 22,500 light years from Cryostar; I hope that you still have Dark Matter Warp capability to reach us here. It is here I will be waiting for you; it is the star system I told you about in the deep south of the galaxy. I believe here we might find some hope to defeat this thing that terrorizes us all… I hope to see you soon… my love…”
Sarab gasped as tears flew from her eyes again, a smile formed on her face; there was hope! They might have survived… but how to get there?!
She turned to see Callib fussing over something; he turned to look at her.
“I heard the message,” He said.
“Is there any way to reach Neptonius?” Sarab asked hurriedly.
Callib looked away;
“There may be one way… but it is a huge risk.”
“What?” Sarab demanded.
“We could hook up our suits to the ship,” He explained; “It might power the ship enough to reach Dark Matter and warp but the strain it will put on the ship will be more than it was ever intended to carry. One suit will have to power the drive and shields while the other powers the Dark Matter engine. We have enough power in the suits to make the journey, after that the suits and the ship will be completely dead… if help does not reach us within minutes we will die.”
Sarab nodded; it was a huge gamble, but they had no other hope. Whether their destination was 22,500 light years away or 5; the trip through Dark Matter would have the same effect upon the ship either way.
“Can we send any kind of signal ahead of us?” She asked Callib.
He checked the instruments and did some calculations on his wrist computer.
“Sending a message will drain the rest of the power in the ship; once it’s sent we will have 30 seconds to power the ship fully on our suits. Whoever receives the message will have a 30 second warning to look for us and then about 4 minutes to rescue us.”
Sarab unzipped her suit and took it off; wearing her uniform only now.
“We have no other choice… we do this now.”