Unnatural calm prevails. Trepidation builds. Silently, a storm gathers.
Survivors from mainland Europe and North America converge on Britain. Weary, confused, all come seeking answers; some are spoiling for a fight.
What began with the Cleansing and was hastened by the Beacon nears fruition. But time is running out, and human numbers are too few to win the last battle alone. Unless help can be found from the unlikeliest of allies, failure is assured.
Humankind faces its ultimate test. The Reckoning is upon us.
Blacker than jet, smoother than glass, vaster than a mountain range, it moved through space like an obsidian meteor. A large sun growled and flared like a blacksmith’s furnace at the blast of the bellows. The ship had already passed the fourth and final planet of the solar system, was accelerating into the furthest reaches of the system’s gravitational field, when the smaller craft appeared.
Eight vessels, little more than a scouting party, but still capable of inflicting severe damage with their antimatter-seeking missiles. Travelling at close to light speed when they came into view, the craft were already slowing as they entered the embrace of gravity.
The black ship was built for speed, not battle.
Trying to evade the smaller craft by vertical or horizontal thrusts would merely expend huge reserves of energy in an exercise in futility that would also slow its rate of acceleration. The smaller vessels were capable of changing direction within moments through deployment of on-board gyroscopes and would be able to train their missiles on the larger ship regardless of what manoeuvres it attempted.
No. Its best chance – likely its only chance – of escaping ruin lay in speed.