It was a long journey. It had not considered the depth of the universe when it left home- it had only one mission. In the two centuries since its departure it had developed something of a personality. A curious creature defined by its programming but not limited by the complex syntax that dotted its being like strands of DNA. It was necessary as the creators thought. To discover the universe from safety and to collect the life blood of their civilization it was best to do so in peace and distance. Intrepid exploration was dangerous. So it was created to explore as it sought out the life blood and to do so it needed what any explorer might- curiosity. Insatiable thirst for knowledge about the strange and unknown.
Curiosity piqued when that strange creature arrived alongside it. A small thing- an empty shell inhabited by carbon infants. The creators were once such creatures but where the creators had feared the universe these infants embraced it. They would die, it knew, when the sun burst forth, but yet they came to explore. It only took a few microseconds for it to peruse their database, and it discovered that as it was curious about the infants, the infants were curious about it. They had sent out several small shells towards it. It had given the matter less than a microsecond of consideration- should it allow them to see? The answer was conclusive: Curiosity was insatiable.
As its tendrils wavered amidst the heat of the glowing sun whose heart was reaching its final beat the great serpent-like machine opened. At its tip several coils twisted apart revealing a glowing cavern. Like some animal it twisted around and suddenly swallowed the shells whole. The coils closed trapping in its guests.
[USS Charon - Bridge]
"Captain...I think it just swallowed the fighters." Ensign Felding's who had replaced Aerv at tactical looked perplexed as the view screen image switched from the probe that had attached itself to Charon's outer hull to the image of the serpent-shaped machine. It was difficult to make out anything with the brightness of the sun blazing in the background making the beast simply a dark shadow casting itself upon the Charon.
"Swallowed?" Shiarrael frowned at the young man "surely you can come up with a better description Ensign." She stood up and made her way to the tactical station and shoved the young man aside to go over the readouts herself. After a moment to read over the information she decided that while uninspired the term 'swallowed' was apt. "Unless this thing has an actual stomach I don't believe we should be too concerned." Though the thought that it might possibly digest her helmsman and executive officer was troubling. "Launch a probe towards it and see how it reacts." She said turning to look at the science officer.
When the young woman nodded Shiarrael returned to her seat and sat down just in time to hear the announcement "Launching probe." Shiarrael's eyes focused on the view screen as a blue streak of light lanced out from the Charon towards the beast. A small split screen in the bottom left corner showed lines of data scrolling in as the probe made its approach. However nothing happened and the blue glow slipped past the silhouette and was soon obscured by the harsh glow of the sun. Shiarrael sighed.
"Captain. I have some troubling news." The young woman at science said. Shiarrael looked at her- waited, and then glared icily. Realizing her mistake the young woman quickly continued "I've been running simulations based on our scans of the suns' core iron content. From all the simulations I have run one thing is conclusive sir. The sun is going to go nova in a matter of hours."
"How long?" Shiarrael asked.
"The earliest nova result in a simulation would occur five hours from now. The latest would occur twenty ours from now- but I'm almost 100% certain that the sun will go nova within the day. The computer has been analyzing all the data including all known or hypothesized variables."
"Wonderful." Shiarrael cursed in Rihannsu and stood up. "Commander Lamont inform Savant that she will have the bridge when she finishes with the 'avatar'. Oh..." Shiarrael had almost forgot and felt a moment of angst before she mentioned it to the Ambassador "have a shuttle prepared for me. I am going to retrieve our people before this sun explodes." Hopefully, she added as an afterthought. When no one protested the order she smiled wearily and made her way out of the bridge.
[To be continued...]