Screaming came over the intercom from throughout the ship. The Syrch warship grey against the light of nearby star, highlighted by orange only in the gaping holes from which the fuel leaked. The engine was dead and the vessel’s orbit deteriorated, drifting towards the burning body of the star, lit by some luminous heart that burned today as it had done for an eternity before. On the ship’s command deck, the crew now stood dumbstruck and inactive at their posts. The screen and sensors were still active and all eyes were on the whale – its flesh rippling as hydraulics, wires, engines, and other cybernetic mechanisms too arcane to properly fathom all flexed and moved with the bulk of its body. The great eye of the beast blinked, absent any discernable or vaguely human emotion. “Fire the guns,” the captain sneer and still the crew stood dumb. The captain stampeded across the deck and pushed the gunnery officer out of the way, bellowing “all guns fire!” down the intercom. And the guns of the warship spewed forth a torrent of violent force. The shots flew wide and the whale simply turned in the void, engines along the rim of its back flaring, and cruised away. The warship’s orbit continued to fail. The sun loomed large and still the captain ordered his crew to fire on the vanishing whale with the cry of “Hell’s heart! Hell’s heart!” ringing throughout the ship.


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