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   Chapter 49 Solar flare

The Story of the Mimosa By Paul Kater Characters: 11921

Updated: 2018-02-11 19:04

Maurizio, as he was Italian, did not join the beer-drinkers. He allowed himself a glass of prosecco, and Rebel joined him for one as she liked the bubbly stuff more as well. Barthomeu, Zopierama and Carmolo had attempted glasses of beer too, but opted for a glass of Italian sparkling wine also. In the distance a streak of light sped by, a comet on its lonely path through space. It did not affect the crystal. Several crew members saw the trail of light and pointed it out to their friends.

"I wonder where it's going, " said Dimmie. "Perhaps it is on its way to fly around a sun, to baffle a less advanced race with its remarkable presence."

"One that makes them feast and revere the powers and magnificence of their gods that live in space, " Vinnie added.

The crew stood along the railing, looking at the comet as long as they could, which was a long time.

"It's not going fast, is it?" Zopierama said as she leaned into her boyfriend. The prosecco was taking its toll on her already.

"It's going fast, my dear, " Barthomeu said who had an arm around her to steady himself. "It's just the refacration... retraction... uhm... that light thing around planets that makes it look slow. See there?" He pointed. The prosecco was getting to him too. "That's probably the sun it's going to swing around."

And indeed, in the distance there was a rather bright object which seemed to be the target of the comet.

"Must be where the natives are already singing and chanting, " Nilsie said, raising his empty glass to the imaginary natives, "with their sweaty bodies glistening in the light of the sun as they dance around the fire, waiting for the arrival of the divine flare in the sky." He started to dance a wobbly kind of jig. Several of his Clan members joined him, each giving their personal interpretation of the native dance. The ensemble was accompanied by some chanting that spontaneously came from the throats of the people not dancing.

Maurizio stomped a quite acceptable rhythm with his new leg, others clapped their hands. All this activity was the reason that no one noticed how the comet forgot to get caught in the gravitational pull of the sun but instead dove into its centre. At first this only was visible as a small blip of light while inside the star a maelstrom of eruptive nuclear activity took place. The planet with the natives that Dimmie and Vinnie had thought up actually existed, orbiting the sun in distress. It didn't exist much longer however. The nuclear oven inside the star was so terribly upset by the visiting comet that it decided to explode, blowing its size up to thirty-six times its original span. The subsequent dispersion of heat and radiation following this expansion burnt the six planets closest to the sun. The natives (who had incidentally not been dancing and singing) were, unfortunately for them, on the fifth of those planets. Remarkably enough this fulfilled an ancient prophecy that had gone around on the former fifth planet, that one day the sun would be disturbed by fire from space and eat all the planets, and that the race living there could prevent their doom by brushing up on technology and telescopes. Good advice which on the former fifth planet had been ignored.

After all the singing and dancing aboard the black ship, everyone went to fetch another round of drinks and returned to the deck to look at the comet again. "It has gone, " everyone noticed. "And that star looks a bit brighter than before."

"Must be the grabidational pull of the womet, " Barthomeu nodded as more prosecc

at much is clear. And since there's nothing we can do, we might as well get another beer, " said Vinnie. "And that sounds neat, there could be a song in that."

The song didn't happen that day. Beer did however, and in copious amounts. Maurizio was impressed with how much these people could handle. They passed the time talking, lazing, sleeping and eating.

Zopierama was close to the captain very often, asking how the new leg was as she had put so much effort into it, and therefore was very proud of the fact that the man was now walking around on it in a near normal fashion.

Maurizio himself had almost forgotten about his leg with all the sudden commotion around exploding suns and insanely large spaceships. "It's amazing, Zopierama, " he said. "It feels as if it is part of me already."

"It is part of you. The Hibbies were scary in the end but they did fix that up for you quite nicely. In a Jiffy, " the geek girl grinned. The two of them sat at a table in the dining room for a while, to get away from the constant flickering of galaxies passing them by. It was tiring on the eyes. "It would have been nice if we had such a box on board too."

"Indeed. But clearly there was no time to arrange one. A bit of a shame. I would have liked to thank them for attaching the leg to me." The captain took a spoon and tapped the lower part of his left leg. It sounded muffled through his trouser, but the sound was clearly that of wood. "Where I am from, the Earth, people used to say 'break a leg', " he told the girl. "From what you told me about this material, I don't think I need to worry about that."

Zopierama nodded. "Your leg will last longer than most of us."

A shudder went through the ship, it tilted and the few plates and cups that were on the table before were next to it a moment later. Gravity took care of their destruction.

"What was that?" Moro wondered.

They went to the bridge where Barthomeu and Mikkie sat. Barthomeu looked over the instruments, Mikkie tossed bits of stuff at one of the monitors trying to hit the spot where the next blip would appear.

"Do you know what happened, my dear?" asked the geek girl.

He shook his head. "Not exactly. It felt as if the ship turned off somewhere without slowing down. It never did that before."

"I hope it won't do it again, " said Maurizio. "We have some broken plates now."

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