In the beginning, there was an accident.
A freak particle storm raging through the galaxy's remotest corner entered the solar system and nixed the sun. One moment, the inhabitants of the system's one planet that was both close and far away enough from its central star to survive were enjoying their usual bickering. Then, within a fraction of a second, they had vanished.
The storm parboiled all organic material on the planet, but it left the structures untouched. Ever so slowly, their outlines were getting blurred, covered in layers and layers of soft ash, swirling through the skies like charcoal snowflakes. In death, they all were united--the great and the small, the rich and the poor, animals, insects, bureaucrats and racists.
Including those hunkering in the bomb shelters.
Whoever was out in space at the time fared no better. The flotilla of satellites was blinded in a nanosecond and shredded to pieces as debris, the biggest the size of a sand corn, the smallest invisible to both naked eye and high-tech sensors, powered through them.
The wreckage tumbled through the dense mass of clouds that shrouded the doomed planet. It was fortunate that nobody was left down there to get in the way of those freshly created asteroids.
The space station was far too big a target to survive the apocalypse. It imploded with a muffled oomph heard only by those sitting inside the sardine can, staring at monitors that spelt out their imminent demise with daunting accuracy.
The particles hammered into the debris just for another second, then they were gone, and it was all over.
What had been the pride of a whole planet had just got particle-blasted into twisted strands of metal, plastic and rubber. Eventually, they too would drift down towards the surface.
Not that it would make any difference. Not anymore.
From the centre of the wreckage lifted a small tubular object, fired its engines and sped away, towards the bigger outer planets. From there, it got bumped into deep space, the last experiment of a world that had ceased to exist.
The probe carried seeds from the dead planet. That and bacteria, a whole range of them. If the seeds didn't find fertile earth, perhaps the bacteria would turn barren lumps in space into a new world. To be quite sure, the builders of this lifeboat had added a few more developed organisms.
Just in case.
It had been the result of a last minute decision and much debate. Many a species had been put on the list, only to get removed again. In the end, the probe got boarded by lichen, mutant termites from a nuclear testing site - and a handful of tadpoles.
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Lords & Ladies of the M'Verse: An Ooorah AnthologyScience Fiction
Each of the 100 stories featured herein will be set within a Universe of the writer's creation, all being a part of a larger, shared Multiverse. Writers have free reign to tell the story they wanna' tell and providing...