01767: Fast Fiction - The Lighthouse (Conclusion?)

Saturn V Firing Room  - Kennedy Space Center - Launch Day by Josh Hallet

It's about time I wrapped up this story. I admit it's not going to be an amazing ending. But I need to practice finishing these things. And this story has been hanging for more than 6 months now.
Links: PART 1 | PART 2


Big Tom was still alive, but he was badly burned when the reactor blew. Young Max was able to drag him out before things got worse, much to the family's relief. But that now meant that the station's man reactor was offline and the entire engineering section was now being drained of all atmosphere in order to kill the fires that were still raging within. There were auxiliary engines providing limited power to essential systems, but things were looking pretty bleak.

Still the alien vessel just sat there, seemingly indifferent to their plight. Rexford had forbidden any attempts to restore the core for now - not until they were sure the last of the fires were out. Things would be even better if Big Tom were conscious - he was the closest thing the family had to a true engineer who understood those ancient engines. None of the others could manage things.

The limited lighting in the control room flickered once more and things went completely dark for a good 5 seconds. The silence felt like an eternity given the absence of the vibrations of the station's power core. Even the consoles dimmed significantly despite dedicated power circuits and then things started coming back. They were still on auxiliary power though, and whatever had triggered that power drop had left them with less than 20% of their maximum shield strength.

By the time internal comm system had finished re-initializing, Rexford didn't even bother to ask what had happened. The secondary hanger had depressurized and the stations sole lifeboat shuttle had launched. It had strained the system to operate the hangar systems without depressurizing the rest of the station. There was no chance trying to contact the shuttle - the alien's jamming continue to prevent all other forms of external communication apart from the unintelligible message from the aliens themselves.

Rexford shut down comms entirely in order to get more of the external sensor pods tracking the shuttle. As he finally got decent image of the vessel, it appears that one of the old laser cannons has been mounted on the vessel somehow. That meant only one thing. Max. Rexford watched in horror as the shuttle appeared to be heading directly for the pyramid ship. The alien vessel did not seem to have any immediate reaction to Max's approach.

Without warning the shuttle changed course and was now on course perpendicular to its original orientation. It's ascent was going to take it to the same level of the top of the pyramid, more or less. What was that boy thinking? But Rexford had no intention of watching his youngest son without doing anything.

He triggered a general alarm, as if the station wasn't already on alert. But this alarm specifically required everyone on the station to divert to core evacuation zones. This would only leave essential personnel at their posts and the rest of the station could be pretty much shut down. Rexford fingers danced across his console as he pulled every bit of power out of any system possible. He needed enough for but a moment - for a single shot.

Max's shuttle continued to climb and it appeared that the pyramid was still not perceiving him to be a threat. The only change thus far was that their repeating message had stopped for now. They were clearly watching Max's shuttle with interest. He didn't have much time.

With the last of the evacuation zones sealed, Rexford killed life support in the vacated sections of the ship and one final light on his console finally lit up green. He had enough power to overload their most functional laser cannon. Pushing it into overload will extend its range enough to touch the pyramid ship. With that one shot - two if they were lucky - it might be enough to give Max enough time to complete whatever crazy plan he had come up with.

He had to manually target the cannon, but it would be pretty hard to miss a ship that big. Max's shuttle was still trying to climb up to the peak of the pyramid. Time was running out. Rexford depressed the firing button and the high pitched whine of the cannon could be heard throughout the control room. He kept the beam on longer than what was recommended - he figured he might as well make the most of this one shot. 

The beam lanced out at full strength and hit the alien vessel's wall. The energy seemed to spread across the side of the vessel that he had hit - as if the material was trying to dissipate the energy by distributing it as evenly as possible.

Max's shuttle continued to climb.

Pyramid flared to life and started to reorient itself, turning as the last ergs of energy from the sole laser cannon sputtered and the cannon went into full overload.


You can't hear anything in space given the lack of sufficient air to carry sound. But perhaps it's just as well.

We are spared hearing the overloading laser cannon whine reach a fever pitch as the overload began in earnest. We are unable to hear the alien vessel fire a single pulse of light from it's apex that completely disintegrates the station just before the cannon blows a hole into the outer hull.

We don't hear the cries of anguish of young Max in the lifeboat as he watches his entire family disappear in a blaze of light.

We do not hear the pyramid's engines flare to life as it leaves the system once more, it's true purpose uncertain.

We are safe from the crazed screaming of the last human life in this system as the shuttle climbs on, into oblivion.