Heran stood at the window, savouring her final view of the city. The sun was slowly sinking below the horizon, bathing its ancient buildings in a warm orange glow. She followed the arcs of the buildings as, circle by circle, they radiated out looking like a giant angular spider’s web. Eventually the streets reached the innermost of the three sea rings that encircled the central city and its two outer rings, separating them from each other and from the plains beyond. On the horizon the sun was reflected off the ocean, creating a sparkling orange shine on the water that could be traced towards her, across the city’s encircling seas, only broken by the land in between. Heran couldn’t remember the last time she’d stopped to take in this view and she felt a tear run down her scaly cheek as she attempted to imprint it on her memory. Soon this would be gone, with little trace that her or her race had ever existed here.
From behind her, Girgan placed an understanding hand upon her shoulder. “The evacuation is complete,” he said softly. “We’re the last ones.”
It was unbelievable that it had come to this, but it was necessary less this world suffer the same fate as its sister worlds Vamir or Goran. That could not be allowed to happen. Atlan’s second sentient species was just emerging, with a strong candidate for a third not far behind. Heran’s mind returned to the visitors that had departed only moments ago and she turned to check the room and see that they had truely gone.
When the visitors had first arrived they had been met with distrust and disbelief, but the destruction of Vamir changed that. Shame welled up in Heran as the memory that it had taken the death of 4 billion people, and wiping out every other living thing on the planet when the enemy stopped the planet’s core and striping it of its protective magnetic field, for them to be trusted. Her people had been so arrogant, so sure of their own capabilities, that it had blinded them to the fact that the visitors were fighting to preserve this world’s future as much as her own people were. When the visitors had arrived claming that the outcome for her people was going to be very different to what they expected, their message was ignored. Now it was too late.
“They’ve already returned to their ship,” said her companion. “The first firing sequence will begin anytime now. We need to get to safety.”
She nodded and the two of them headed for the glowing portal set into the wall opposite.
“I can’t believe it’s come to this,” he said as they prepared to step into the portal. “We’re sacrificing everything to preserve a world that will never know it.”
Heran nodded. “Our time here is over. Atlas will now shine on the next generation of Atlanti’s children.”
Lieutenant Parker traced her fingers over the alien writing, amazed at its intricate patterns that were carved into the wall’s stone.
“Quite something isn’t it.” A voice asked from behind.
Parker glanced away from the writing and saw out of the corner of her eye saw Commander Meyers standing in the arched stone entrance to the room.
“Yes sir.” She replied, turning her attention back to the writings, continuing to trace her fingers over the perfect engraving that had somehow stood the test of time.
“They’re preserver aren’t they?” Meyers continued as he entered the room and stood next to her, looking at the wall.
Parker turned her head to look at him and nodded. “Yes. These are the oldest examples that have ever been discovered, dating back over nearly 13,000 years, as well as being some most distant. And it’s everywhere.”
She turned away from the writing and indicated towards the city beyond the panoramic window on the far side of the room. “The Dystrom Institute believes that this whole city may have been theirs,” she continued as she walked to the window, “that this is one of their colonies or even their homeworld. It’s a real loss that we have to abandon it.”
“What is the status of the evacuation?” Meyers asked, returning to business. He turned way from the engravings and joining her at the window.
“Most of the equipment has now been transported up to the ship; there’s only the delicate scanning equipment that we can’t use the transporter on left at site G23,” she replied, “but the Tucker should have it aboard the ship by the end of tomorrow. We’ve almost finished packaging up all the artefacts, but we won’t be able to get most of it up to the ship until the end of tomorrow.”
“Good,” Meyers replied. “Starfleet intelligence doesn’t believe that the Dominion will reach this system for another three days. The Seventh fleet should be here tomorrow and they’ll be well entrenched by then.”
“And we’ll be safely back at Starbase 375,” said Parker with a slight touch of bitterness.
“Don’t worry, Lieutenant,” said Meyer’s reassuringly. “We’ll be back in the fight soon enough.”
Parker was about to protest that she was more annoyed with war’s interference with the work being done here. Her thought was cut short when the heavens flared in an explosion.
“What the hell was that?” said Meyers with concern as he reached for his commbadge. “Meyers to London. What’s going on up there, Captain?”
“Three Jem’hader… just appeared… nowhere,” came the garbled reply. “Lost the Scott before…”
Another bright flare filled the sky.
“Meyers to London.”
“London, please respond.”
“Lieutenant, start rounding people up and move them safety in the lower levels. I’m going to get to the Sloane and try to get a message out to Starfleet.”
“Aye sir,” she replied and they both headed off in different directions.
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