“Rog, this is Kyra, come in.”

“Rog here darlin’, how might I be of assistance?”

“We have new information. Kieran has stage one manifestation of the virus. For whatever reason the soup appears not to be working on him. That means –”

Rog interrupted, “That means we’ve got less than 48 hours. Anyone else showing signs.”

“Not yet Rog. Have you secured the medicine we need to fight this thing?”

“We got the goods darlin’. ETA, twenty minutes. Remind me to . . . you . . . these . . . Nerajians.”

“Rog, you’re breaking up on me. Can you repeat that last bit. Rog, come in. Rog?” Kyra starred at the communication panel. Nothing but static. No picture, no sound.

“Yul, any idea what just happened?” asked Kyra.

“Atmospheric Tear on Neraj is closing in. Without that opening, nothing can get in or out, including communication,” said Yul. “Openings are unpredictable. Pandoras are reporting we could see the next one in a matter of minutes or,” Yul hesitated, “or a matter of days.”

Kyra starred straight ahead at the gorgeous globe before her ship. So beautiful a sight and at the moment that beautiful world was threatening her entire crew. A dense and impenetrable atmosphere held Neraj and its diminutive inhabitants captive most of the time. Fortunately, a natural phenomenon, locally called Tears, allowed passage to and from. Pandoras, giant airborne creatures, acted as beacons, guides and overall guardians of the Tears.

“Kyra, can you hear me? Damnit! This is not the time for this fricken atmosphere to shut down on us. Emy, what are the Pandoras reporting,” asked Rog.

“Too early to know when the next Tear will appear. Apparently could be minutes or could be days,” said Emy.

“Holy mother of Janus, what the frick is that!” He had never seen an electrical storm of this magnitude. The damn thing seemed to emerge from the thick purple atmosphere without warning and was heading directly towards his ship.

“Strap in!” shouted Rog. “And if you know a few prayers, now would be the time.”

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