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“This is General Alisandre, your top-ranked commanding officer. Sooner than any known actions will forestall, the vessels you are in will be destroyed by hostile Red Nexus Dragons already present in your vicinity. You are being offered unusual means to escape annihilation.”

This familiar voice resonated oddly inside the Alpha station, vibrating off of metallic surfaces in all directions at the volume of loud internal thought. People looked around and at each other. Some touched the walls as though the ship were shaking.

“Move now to your nearest external view. There will be an unfamiliar object, an orb of energy in midair. Gather around it, and link hands to stand continuously touching each other skin-to-skin. Have the two closest ends of each linked mass touch the orb bare-handed. This will bring you somewhere else which cannot be disclosed. This means of egress may be unpredictable, but it is your only option if you wish to survive. These are your orders. I am going along with you. General Alisandre signing off.” Random noises in the station escalated suddenly. The corner of an inner panel popped. This uniformed group met each other’s eyes and bolted up the hall.

The nearest outward view was a floor-to-ceiling section, where others were arriving from different directions. The object in reference was there: strange and alluring, changing the light’s tint with its glow. Shucking and tucking any gloves, hands found each other with high urgency and low awkwardness. The sound of disaster was increasing, along with their resolve to go somewhere else unspecified. There was some visible sign of inflamed Dragon presence, a fizzing yellow-green crackle against the stars.

This scenario played out in groups large and small near every porthole. Nods circled around, and with some variety of command assumed, the two nearest soldiers contacted the orb with a free hand. A bright netlike charge encased them, bringing them through as the thousands of vessels commenced to crumple, shear, and melt.

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