(Serial fiction, sci-fi)
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SEED4611 crossed the margin of an interstellar gas cloud and plowed through the sea of ions.
Particles swirled in the wake. Systems registered trillions of tiny electrical discharges sparkling over the hull. But the calm ahead did not last.
Several billion kilometers into those remnants of an ancient supernova, a disturbance rippled in the cloud.
The interference beat against SEED4611. Intensified. Something huge was cutting a path ahead.
The pod's scopes noted anomalies in the light patterns of the stars ahead. A dark object began growing and obliterating stars. Proximity sensors warned SEED4611 that it was going to collide.
A precious jet of fuel pushed SEED4611 onto a new course. The mission parameters wiped--all the years of tracking, all the painstaking calculations. It would have to spot a new star and begin the calibration process again. And it would have to hope for a clear path. SEED vehicles carried enough extra fuel for three emergency thrusts. After that, their course could not be significantly changed.
The object adjusted course to match SEED4611.
The proximity alarms triggered again.
After two more bursts, it was finished. The object matched course a third time, making collision inevitable. Over six hundred years of travel was doomed.
When SEED4611 caught up to the huge, black craft, the relative speeds equalized, and a long, mechanized arm unfolded.
A claw angled open.
It gently closed around the pod.
On to Part 6.
Back to Part 4.