Solution.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about a distant race facing extinction.

Submitted: January 03, 2010

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Submitted: January 03, 2010

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The black stoned citadel of Fernus stood in the center of the plain, its uppermost point shattered in the barrage of artillery. Seroc padded across the dusty expanse, the yellow slits he called eyes moist with anger. His thick heeled boots left a wide trail on the black dust of the basin. As he neared the wreck of the once iconic structure large cut stones lost their grip in their mortar and tumbled to the ground. The thuds of these monoliths sent shockwave's racing up his heavily armored legs, stopping him in his tracks. Three green scaled figures ran from the onslaught of falling masonry, their long sinuous legs gathered up behind them.

On reaching Seroc their pace slowed to a walk, bare chested and breathless they stopped beside the armored arrival. Seroc looked around their dust smeared faces, as their forked tongues flicked out of their fanged mouths

" How long ago?" he asked.

" With the rising of the sky fire lord," one of them bowed.

" What have we done wrong? Why does the sky fire torment us so?" another one of the party wailed.

" Quiet! Stop your sniveling. It's not our place to question the will of the sky fire. Only the council of fire makers have that honor," he snapped.

The three, looked back at the Citadel, rearing from the ground like the broken stump of a tooth. Seroc brushed by them, uncaring of their fear and superstition. When he'd gone about twenty paces, he heard the pad of boots racing to catch him. The youngest of the three, his scales only light green, jogged up beside him.

" Lord, I would assist you?"

" As you wish."

White robed bodies lay in the dust surrounding the citadels opening their bodies twisted in unnatural angles. Slick, green blood coated the lowest steps as they made for the heavy wooden doors. The door opened halfway before being obstructed by the fallen timber and stone of the roof. Squeezing through the small opening, Seroc surveyed the destruction inside. More white robed priests of Fernus lay dead under the debris.

" Any survivors.....?"

" Fernich my Lord. I don't know we'd only arrived when the top fell in."

" Very well Fernich. Where are your friends?"

" Gone Lord, to fend for their families. The last three days the bolts from heaven have increased the people are afraid. Is this the end?"

" I have no answer to your question, boy. Maybe you should join your friends it seems we can do nothing here?" he said gloomily.

" I have no family anymore. The sky fire's spit took them two days past," his voice quivered.

" What will be, will be," Seroc shrugged.

A low groan, coming from beneath a massive beam, alerted Seroc and Fernich. Stumbling about the wreckage, they located the source of the groan. laying broken under the timber beam, the priest opened his one good eye and struggled to talk.

" Hee..... Help me?"

" Save your energy, holy one. Here, take a sip of water." Seroc offered the dying priest his canteen.

Licking blood- slicked lips, the priest drank small sips of water and took a ragged breath. " Thank you kind traveler. Are any brothers left?"

" You're the only one we found so far. It's not looking promising," Seroc replied.

" Ah! An honest man at least. Tell me, how fares Genentus?"

" Badly, the city took a barrage of heaven fire yesterday. It burns still."

" Our prayers are not answered then? Get far from here, all hope is lost," he cried and went into a spasm.

Seroc and Fernich stood watching the dying priest take his last breath, and bowed their heads when he passed.


" You say your kin died?" Seroc asked the youngster when they reached the outside steps. Fernich nodded, his eyes rimmed. " Then you can come with me to Optolon. The Fire makers will know what to do."

The thin spires of Optolon broke the skyline ahead as the stars glimmered above the two travelers. Their breath fogged in front of them in the cold night air. Chewing on strips of raw meat, they advanced across the desert. A small point of orange light blinked into existence in the night sky, unaware of its appearance they continued. Another orange glimmer joined its companion, followed by another. Soon the sky filled with fire. Slack jawed, they stared at the burning sky. Seroc let out a bestial scream and ran for the dull light of the city. The night air hummed with noise as the heat seared the scales of his head. He ran as fast as he could, looking back once to see Fernich still standing staring at the burning heavens.

The sand of the desert popped and crackled under his feet. The strips of material holding his armor in place smoldered. Optolon shimmered on the edge of his vision as he tried to speed up, but his feet wouldn't answer the call. His lungs felt on fire as he fell forward on the hot sand and roared in agony as the ground scorched the soft skin from his palms. Rising from the molten ground, Seroc lifted his ruined hands to his chest and his life ended in a brilliant flash.

***********

The phone rang on his bedside locker. Fumbling in the dark he picked up the receiver.

" This is the President of Earth. Who's calling."

A muffled voice answered over the crackling ancient line.

" Project Solution was carried out with one hundred percent success. Good, listen keep this one quiet we don't want the liberals on our case."

The voice sounded agitated on the other end.

" Yes, I'm sure this line's secure. It's the only one left on the entire planet. Yes, it's a pity about the life on Asterion but those are the breaks. They were pretty barbaric anyway. Look in a years time when the first settlers land there we'll have it all cleaned up. There's nothing but dust there now, dust and bones. Good job Verne, you're in line for a promotion."

The receiver clicked as he replaced it and he lay on the pillow with a broad grin spreading over his features.


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