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Friday, August 21, 2015


     Closing the godawful creaking door softly behind me, I set out to prepare some more toxins for the youngsters to soak up. I was halfway to the preparation lab when Claudia came running out, screaming hysterically. I grabbed her and shook her violently to get her back to her senses.

     "Claudia! What's wrong?" She stared nervously down at my firm arms holding down her trembling body. "Calm down now, and tell me," I gently coaxed.

     She shook violently and took a deep breath, but she could not suppress the rising panic that was surging up out of her throat and racking her body like a 9.8 earthquake. "I looked out through the observation pane. The star has blown!"

     I slowly dropped her shaking figure to the floor and left her to her hysteria, Part of me wanted to doubt it. No way the star has blown. The scientists guaranteed that the Dyson sphere would keep it in check for over 2000 years. But then again, strange power outages have been happening sporadically ever since the sphere was implemented, and these outages have been occurring more frequently, and over greater areas recently.

     "No, I must go confirm with the head of the station," I thought to myself, snapping out of my trance.

     My face a resolute mask, I marched with determination to the head's offices, where the head and his supporting secretaries and section managers carry out their work. I entered the hallway that led to flights of stairs to every department office. At the end was a massive steel-plated door that slid open to reveal a flight of constantly rotating hardlight escalators. I skipped steps and raced to the end, where I was greeted by Jenny, a hologram and AI replica of the head's personal secretary, Jennifer. Behind her was what looked like a plain white wall, but I knew what was hidden on the other side. Jenny served as the head offices' security guard.

     "Hello, Cecilia. What brings you here?"

     Impatiently, I stated bluntly, "I am here to see the head of the station. This is urgent."

     "What can be as urgent as his own affairs to maintain this ship?"

     "Please, Jenny. Now is not the time to ask questions."

     "Very well. I see the anxiety in your eyes. You may  enter." As she said the last word, the nonthreatening-looking wall warped and dissolved away and I stepped into the offices with haste.

     My goal was to find the head's office in this giant multi-level network of rooms only the engineers understood how to navigate. Even the maintenance workers barely entered here and the secretaries and heads of sections seldom ventured out of here, for fear of getting lost.

     Everyone was rushing around in what looked an emergency. I asked for directions to no avail, and had nearly given up all hope when I spotted the head striding urgently to the station operations room. My feet carried me up the stairs so fast that I felt that I was on a space walk-- I felt that I was weightless. Maybe I was just lightheaded. I traced his footsteps and was reaching for the handle when all the lights across the offices dimmed and blew out. The emergency power supply started to hum sharply, then abruptly died in a brilliant flash of white-blue light.

     Suddenly, everyone cried out and started panicking. Screams of pain and agony echoed around the levels. People were being trampled underneath the frantic mob of distressed workers. Panic had taken hold of us.

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