The Pillar - Not Quite So Empty Space
“It’s all so…artificial.” Captain Lang breathed heavily. “Thirty years, I’ve been wandering the rim on these hulks, defending Earth from what isn’t even out there.”
Commander Tom Relk sat in his chair, listening to his Captain’s lament passively, swishing the ice cubes around in his glass. He wondered whether he should have another whiskey.
“There’s nothing out here, Tom. Just us. Exploration is a fool’s errand. And I’m ready to turn it in.” Lang concluded.
The silence was uncomfortable. Relk leaned forward as if to say something, but gulped the last of his whiskey instead.
Lang stood at the window in his cabin, staring into the void of space that used to capture his imagination. It disturbed him that he now had contempt for it. “There’s no one out there.” he repeated.
Then, a flash of light outside the window, followed by the appearance of a monsterous machine. A thousand thoughts and emotions. Excitement. Terror.
Then, a terrible noise…followed by a ghastly pain.