Post by Rugs on Sept 24, 2018 12:14:45 GMT -5
Five days before present time
“Ah, Mr. Thull. Yes, we have your family’s reservation in the system. Welcome back.” The receptionist smiled warmly, flattering blue eyes and perfect white teeth. “We hope you enjoy your stay.”
“Thanks.” Cado took his room keys and motioned for his wife and three children to follow. The Sky Gardens resort was the finest on Teth, in his opinion — and he’d been to just about all of them. The lobby certainly did its best to impress, all polished marble and fine furniture, with sculptures from some of the Galaxy’s most renowned artists in alcoves lining the walls. The resort, perched atop a massive plateau that lurched above the clouds into Teth’s purple sky, was his vacation spot of choice these days. Now that he’d settled into an honest life.
“Daddy! When do we get to see the birds? I wanna see the birds!”
Cado smiled at Terau, his youngest daughter of five years old. “Shhh, we’ll see the birds as many times as you like, dear.” He scooped her off the ground, shifting the bag on his shoulder. “But first we’ve gotta get all of our stuff to our room, OK?”
Terau seemed to find this agreeable and nodded, arms folded seriously as Cado carried her.
“Wonder what that’s about?” Miria, Cado’s wife, had stopped to look at a local news feed. Some Echani reporter in the capital city was talking about something. The projector’s volume was muted, but the text on the screen said something about a strange hyperspace disturbance.
Cado shrugged. “Who knows,” he said. A green Twi’lek bellhop approached with their luggage as they neared a turbolift. “But we didn’t come here to worry about any of that, eh?”
three hours later...
“So overall, revenues for the quarter are up, but the slowdown that started last year hasn’t stopped,” Iraz Crazell stood, pointer in hand, lips pressed into a thin line as she addressed the Dream Escape, Inc. executive board. The CEO sat at the head of a heavy wooden table — on the far side from her — with his fingers steepled and a grim look on his face. Inner Teth, the capital city, sprawled out below their skyscraper, visible through a tinted window behind her.
The Kiffar woman had never seen so many people look so dour at what was ostensibly good news. Continued growth, record profits from the company’s four dozen resorts scattered across Teth’s surface. The writing was on the wall, though. Something had to change, or this wouldn’t hold.
“Where’s the pressure coming from,” the CEO asked. “What’s slowing us down?”
Iraz inhaled briefly. “Competition, sir. Most of all from Atlas and Frontier Resorts-”
Hurried knocking at the boardroom door cut Iraz off. A few of the executives glanced at the door. The CEO motioned for Iraz to continue.
“The Sky Gardens has also been particularly aggressive lately and it-”
The knocking at the door again. “Sorry!” A muffled voice yelled from the other side. “It’s urgent!” Iraz looked down, smoothing her business coat as the CEO pushed a button on his desk. The door opened to reveal a young Human. One of the interns, fresh out of school, if Iraz recalled right.
Is it really that important if an intern is delivering the news? she wondered.
“Sirs, I’m sorry to interrupt,” the boy said. “But Ms. Teryn told me you might want to look at the news. It’s... it’s not looking good.”
Iraz could feel all the eye-rolling as the executives looked at the intern. She felt bad for the kid. It had to be hard, knowing you’d be out of a job by the end of the day.
“Turn the damn projector on,” the CEO said. “This better be fucking important, or so help me...”
“Security forces are scrambling to figure out where the mysterious vessel that’s appeared in orbit came from, or even what it is,” an Echani reporter was saying. “So far, neither the main vessel nor ones accompanying it have responded to any attempts at contact.”
The feed cut to some hazy footage as the reporter spoke. A giant ship — crystaline and far larger than any Iraz had ever seen — was in the sky, with five ships that looked as big as battlecruisers flanking it and a mishmash of smaller ships that looked like ants by comparison.
Stunned whispers rippled through the boardroom.
“This is the only footage we have so far,” the reporter said. “Officials are preparing to defend Teth if the ships do not res-”
The feed abruptly cut out as sirens blared through Inner Teth. Iraz hurried over to the window just in time to see something massive crash through a skyscraper a few blocks away from theirs, shattering its middle and sending the whole thing crashing to the ground The ground shook. Their building shook.
“What is that thing?” Cado craned his neck, hand shielding his eyes against the afternoon sun. Some giant thing was in the sky, blazing like a second sun. It was all the news was talking about.
“Beats me.” Another resort guest was standing near him, looking at the same thing. Cado had sent his family inside to safety. “Is something coming toward us?”
“I don’t see it,” Cado said, squinting.
“It’s moving, see,” the other guest pointed at something, glittering purple in the sunlight, that was streaking through the sky.
“It is.” Cado’s stomach dropped. “Get down!”
The thing slammed into the resort with a loud crash. Cado dove to the ground as debris flew through the air. He heard screams, but no explosion.
He looked up to see a giant purple crystal lodged into the resort’s main building. People were screaming, running. Smoke poured from a ruptured gas line.
“What is that?” the other guest wondered.
Miria. Cado sprinted toward the resort.