"Gates of Heaven" – Prelude
Thunder rippled across the barren and dusty landscape. The dozen or so spectators standing a mile from the blindingly white hot glow lifted their arms in unison shielding their eyes from the wall of sand churned up by a resonating shockwave. The ground began to shake as if the earth beneath their feet had liquefied but the small group remained still- bracing themselves expectantly against metal railings, leaning forward with anticipation. The glow slowly ascended towards the heavens leaving a smoky contrail in its wake as is ploughed through a set of cotton-like clouds.
A cacophony of shouts and cheers echoed through the sand-dust haze.
Aboard the rocket the lone pilot breathed heavily as the crimson horizon began fade to a blackness dotted by millions of tiny candle flames. "I have broken through the exosphere. I have made it." He echoed into his microphone. Excitement tickled at his lips but he hid his exuberance with a professional tenor- the small manned capsule at the head of the beast vibrated violently but slowly began to settle.
"You have made history!" A voice returned through the speaker system in his helmet. The pilot grinned to himself and cocked his head towards the dusty brown orb behind him as it started to take a spherical shape. He then looked ahead as the small rocket hurtled towards the milky white dot of the first great moon. As he roared into the dark side something caught his attention- a speck of silver sparkling against the dotted blackness. His breath went still as he neared it.
"There is something…" His voice trailed as the microphone returned static. His eyes stared at the strange structure floating aimlessly through the space ahead of him- it was enormous- at least a hundred folds larger than his small rocket. It seemed like a silver saucer with singed edges where bent scaffolding reached out into space. He was speechless as it sat serenely locked in the orbit of the moon. His mouth gaped as he noticed etching on it… shaped as: U.S.S. Horizon.
[To be continued]
Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu