The whole of the Palace of Amino was bathed in an almost blinding blue-white light, a complete contrast from just a second ago when the warm amber glow from the setting sun had been casting longer and longer shadows amongst the palace’s towering structures.
Instantly the viewports on Baron Onslaught’s ship had adjusted to filter out the excess light, but never the less the bounty hunter still had to squint at the sudden harshness of the view beyond the confines of his ship.
As an alarm began to sound the head-up display in front of the bounty hunter displayed detailed graphics and an analysis of what had just happened sixteen kilometres above the palace. A detonation, one of the largest the bounty hunter had ever witnessed, had occurred just a few kilometres below and to the west of the asteroid. The effect had been dramatic, slowing the asteroid’s descent to less than five-hundred metres per second and shoving it off course towards the east. A huge part of its hull had been blasted away.
Baron Onslaught silenced the alarm and looked up. The palace’s defence field was shimmering as its dome of protection absorbed the ferocious energy of the explosion. Beyond the defence field the approaching mass of the asteroid could be seen drifting towards the east. It was surrounded by a growing cloud of fire and smoke. A wide grin spread across the bounty hunter’s heavy-set face.
The communications panel activated. “I notice that most of you have stopped your attacks on the scab demons. The show above is certainly impressive, but we still have a job to do. Return to…”
Baron Onslaught silenced the communicator. He was not going to allow Mad Woman to spoil his enjoyment of this moment. He continued to watch the asteroid as it fell.
“It is no longer on a collision course with the palace, commander.” Goliath Snook said. The relief in the chief officer’s voice was obvious.
Commander Pepe sighed. A significant amount of stress and tension evaporated from his body, easing the intense pains in his chest.
The chief officer continued. “The impact point will now be three-point-three kilometres east of the palace’s perimeter wall.”
One of the massive screens at the front of the Battle Command chamber displayed the progress of the asteroid in both a visual and sensor form as it approached the ground. It was a wonderful sight, but that sight was marred by the images on some of the other screens. Although the timely reactivation of the palace’s defence field had saved the palace from destruction, the surrounding landscape had had no such protection. For as far as could be seen the former forests, valleys and mountains now glowed a deep orange as their softer surfaces had been vaporised and then the rock beneath melted by the incredible heat of the detonation.
The commander looked at his chief officer. “How far does the devastation extend?”
Goliath looked down at his data pad. “There is total destruction of the landscape out to a radius of almost two-hundred kilometres, commander, and to a lessening degree out to more that a five-hundred kilometres. A supersonic blast wave is spreading. It is likely to effect more than half of the planet.”
Commander Pepe nodded solemnly. He looked at the sensor analysis of the detonation on one of the screens. He spoke quietly. “It looks like the first field test of a MADPLOP was a success.”
“It does, commander.” The chief officer said, nodding.
The commander said nothing more and watched, along with the entire staff of Amino Battle Command, as the now heavily scarred and deformed asteroid smashed into the ground sending up a wide cone of molten debris high into the air. The palace’s defence field lit up with myriad of sparkles as the wide spray of the debris vaporised on contact. A deep rumble quickly rose in volume as the intense tremors of the impact began to shake the palace.
Satisfied that the primary threat to the palace had been neutralised, Commander Pepe struggled to his feet and then steadied himself against his chair. Battle Command continued to shake as he looked down at his chief officer. “Look after things, Goliath. I’ve been neglecting my massage chamber. I must pay it a visit. Let me know what has become of Lawrence as soon as you can.”
The chief officer nodded. “Of course, commander.”
As the tremors began to subside the commander turned and walked heavily away.