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Artemis 7: Destroyer of Worlds (#3)

April 13, 2018

Anywhere else, Hargrove would have been in awe of the sight before her. The hole in space dragged light into it like the drain of a bathtub. It tore the gas off the giants far away from it. Pieces of Artemis Station were being picked off and dragged into the void. 

"That impossible!" Reed announced. Their eyes were wide and their was mouth slack. Looking around her ship Hargrove noticed the whole crew had a similar expression. 

Hargrove's heartbeat ticked in sync with each second that passed. Her mind went blank as the station finally lost its will to fight. She shuddered to think what awaited those trapped inside. Even the few that could have gotten to an escape pod were likely yanked back by the pull of the anomaly. She heard crying, subdued, but in the silence of their ship it was as loud as a newborn. Tears trickled down her cheeks, she hastily wiped it away, clearing her throat.

"Status Report!" she barked, taking back the situation. 

"It's going to take us if we don't get out of here," Stavos informed her.

"We have to leave, now!" she shouted rushing towards her seat.

She pulled the harness down tight. Brooks looked at her with fear. The words caught in her throat. "Go!" she repeated with all the presence she could muster. It shook them from their terrified stupor and spurred them into action. The core engaged, everything shifted, then silence. The chaos of the outside world was gone, replaced by the serenity of their previous destination. Everything was calm. There was a collective release of air from the crew. Hargrove felt disconnected from her body. A numbness blanketed her senses. What she'd just witnessed was impossible. Yet, it'd happened.

"How?" Brooks said, their words were barely audible. Hargrove only heard them because she was right next to them.

She didn't have an answer. Everyone was quiet as they processed what had just transpired. 

"That's impossible right? How the fuck does a fucking BLACK HOLE pop up on our fucking doorstep!" Stavos exclaimed.

Hargrove had anticipated something going wrong. She'd been fully prepared for the possibility they'd run out of fuel and be stranded in another system with no hope of returning home. The knowledge that they could activate the warp engine and become horribly disfigured was a risk she'd been willing to take. The odds of a black hole showing up in the Sol System were astronomical. The end of the universe level odds. Yet she'd witnessed it with her own eyes.

"It's gone," Wilson said from the back of the room.

Everyone looked at him. "Earth, that thing would have torn her apart," he clarified.

Hargrove watched the revelation creep into the frightened minds of her crew. She had to do something, anything. "How are we on fuel?"

"We can't make another jump," Brooks announced. "But we could enter atmosphere if needed."

"It was us," Stavos interrupted. "We punched a hole in the universe. We killed billions of people." Their breathing became frantic.

"You did this!" Wilson exclaimed charging Hargrove with an outstretched finger. The phalange stabbed her right in the sternum. She looked at him sternly. "Drop the finger. Sit down. Let's figure out how we're going to survive this."

"Survive? Why would we want to do that?" Wilson said, dropping his hand to his side.

"Because we're all that's left," Hargrove fired back. "It was a one in a billion shot that what happened, happened. We can either be the most unlucky bastards in the universe, or the luckiest."

She swept her hand out towards the view screen. "We also jumped from this system, it's still here. We're still here. Every single on of you is now the last hope for our people. I intend to take advantage of my luck. Are you with me?"

Hargrove felt her body shake with emotion. Her breaths came quickly, but she wasn't about to break down. Not when they needed her most.

"I have become death, destroyer of worlds," whispered Drake from their station.

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