176 light-years from Sol, 2250CE
Those last few years before the M’kkiae War were a time of lost innocence. The Avalon class explorers were just coming on-line and crews of a hundred or more began to set off on deep loops up to two hundred light-years from Sol. We found wonders out there.
Under the light of three suns, on the barren moon of a bloated gas giant, we found a ring half-buried in a crater. It dated over forty million years old. It was immune to our probing and seemed indestructible. Landry was convinced it was some kind of gateway, and we speculated whether it worked on wormholes or entanglement.
Finally, Captain Sanchez let us hook our converters to it. The ring fired off an EM blast and filled with a mirrored plane. We sent a drone through, but it never came back. The umbilical severed. The ring was too big to take aboard, so we marked it and left it for another expedition.
After the War, explorations proceeded more cautiously; we had learned to fear what we might find. It took years to authorize another trip to that system, so far from our homes, but when we came back, the ring was gone.
The whole moon was gone.
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by Geir Lanesskog, All Rights Reserved