Through the starship window Terugis could still see the fleck of red that was his home. He wondered how many years it might be before he set foot there again, saw his family again. He thought of all the times he would fail to be there for Samuel and Levicthionus, all of the experiences that he would not be there for. But their mission was important. Important enough to draw him and thousands of others away from their lives to possibly never return.
With a sigh, Terugis turned away from the window and focused his attention back on the men addressing him.
"Commander Terugis," intoned the elderly General Sharpton, "We have finished our preliminary reconnisiance of the upcoming asteroid field. We believe that we can traverse it safely, but we want you to look over the reports before we proceed."
"Very well, send me the reports and I'll review them immediately. You're dismissed." With this, Terugis turned back to the window and resumed his pensive vigil of his slowly disappearing home.
Terugis was awoken by the shudder of the ship. Not an asteroid, something bigger. "What are those fools doing with my ship?", he muttered to himself as he levered himself out of bed. Activating his communicator he called to the bridge, "Report!"
"You had better get up here commander. There's something outside the ship."
Dressing quickly, commander Terugis took the hyper-lift directly to the bridge. Walking in, he immediately noticed something on the view-screen so unexpected, so disturbing, that he was loathe to believe his eyes. Before him was the legendary terror of Bataxia, the feathered menace of Jersey, truely the most destructive force of the universe. Suddenly, the lights went out and all that he could see was the beast. It spoke to him telepathically, "You know what I am. You know why I am here."
"Not here...not already...", Terugis managed to mutter through clenched teeth. Regaining some composure, Terugis addressed the bridge, "Status!"
"Shields fully functional."
"Life support nominal."
"Weapons at fifty percent."
Terugis barked out, "Execute maneauvor delta. Concentrate all fire on the beast!"
"Shields at fifty percent."
"So this is how this ends", Terugis thought to himself, "before the mission even truly begins we get struck down by this leviathan." Moments later, Terugis felt the ship shudder again.
"Sir! The beast has severed the tail section. We are adrift." The beast appeared once more on the view-screen. Terugis once again heard the voice in his head, "And now it ends."