Chapter 29 - Creation

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Silas could build anything.  He knew that to be true, right down to his core.  That had been an absolute truth for him until the moment the holomatrix activated.

In the distance, he could see shining scaffolding, not measurable in feet and inches, but in tens of thousands of miles.  He had seen starships, frigates, and carriers built, had even designed his share.  He watched the construction of both Saturn Station and the Lynx Habitat and had been awed by the manpower, resources,  and planning that were required..

But he never would have imagined a day when he would see a planet being built.

The young pirate stared, speechless.

"Estimates indicate that it is more than three times the mass of Earth." Haden's voice echoed thinly through the holographic environment. Greens and blues swirled about one side of the distant world.  From their perspective, the southern hemisphere was, as yet, incomplete.  The world rotated and a gaping hole began to slowly reveal itself.

For more than an hour, Dawnhammer floated in space.  Terris used the attitude jets to bring the asteroid tunnel to their forward horizon.

The longer Silas contemplated what he was seeing, the more convinced he was thay he was having some magnificent dream.  A planet!

Terris stood in the middle of the command deck.  Without turning toward their arc of seats, he spoke aloud.

"I've got nothing, people."  His dark brown hair waved slightly as he gave a nearly imperceptible head shake.  "Anyone want to venture an opinion?"

It was Dawn who spoke, her voice seemingly a shout in the silence of the chamber.  "I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this, Terris.  The last time I was here, we were abandoning the training station.  There was nothing in this system but a sun.  The accretion disk hadn't even produced planetoids."

"She is correct."  Haden moved to stand beside Terris.  "There wasn't enough mass in this system to build the substations used in training.  We had to jump the materials in."  He paused to turn toward the distant planet.  "That's why this system was chosen for training."

Silas stood.  "You told us that these asteroids were put here.  That means someone has the tech and power to import materials from another solar system.  I see a planet being built, presumably by those "someone"s.  It's a fair bet that these asteroids are the construction material."  His voice was low and shaky.

Terris half turned to the pirate.  "Silas, I recognize the enormity of what we're seeing, but I see no reason for alarm."

"Really?  You can't just pile a bunch of rocks together and say it's a planet.  Well, you could, but it would just be a bunch of rocks."

"I'm not following."  The young pilot turned completely, his face expressing curiosity and the beginning of alarm.

Silas pointed a finger at the holomatrix horizon.  "Does that look like a pile of rocks?"  The pirate looked around to see if everyone was missing his point.  Not one person saw it.

He put his fingers to his temples and lowered his head, walking out to stand between Haden and Terris.  His mind was whirling with data and possibilities.  "Alright, let's try it this way.  Mass and density.  A planet is formed and shaped by its own gravitational pull.  Basically, everything on the surface is pressing down on everything below it.  With time, that pressure will shrink the planet as the materials inside are crushed together.  The density of the planet increases as it's size decreases over millions of years.  The space between materials from crust to core is removed through tectonic shifts, earthquakes, and chemical reactions.  Is everyone following?"

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