Fueled by a relentless engine and plowing an immutable furrow through the cold reaches of space, the Hellion flew on. Its preordained path had brought it once again within the cloying grip of the shimmering orb. Vague recollections stirred within its roiling gaseous form as the planet pulled and plucked and tore at it, for this was no ordinary comet; it was not just an insentient ball of ice and dust.  It had been destined for something grander, an undertaking on a scale that only a universe could provide, but at the last, fate had decreed that it should roam this thankless solitary orbit. It consoled itself in the hope that its path was temporary; that it had merely been deflected onto this course whilst the architects of the proposed galactic scheme made their final adjustments. And who was to say it was wrong in that hope? But it had been a long time. So long it could scarcely recall its genesis.Flaming shards of its outer membrane were ripped away yet no pain was felt, for its senses had long been dulled over the millennia of its wanderings. As its very substance cartwheeled down with imperious grace into the churning atmosphere below, it flew on with complete detachment, deflected not one iota from its allotted course.


It was now or never. The intruder was at its closest point. In desperation the planet made one final attempt to clutch at its tormentor, to draw it into its gravitational realm and imprison it forever. But such was the extent of its endeavor that for a single timeless instant its rotation slowed. It regained its spinning momentum almost immediately but by then the colossal pillars of water that had already gathered, pulled up by the proximity of the intruder, were raging unchecked across its surface, driven to yet further fury by vast pockets of displaced air.

The planet’s efforts had not been entirely in vain however. The Hellion felt a stirring deep within, as electrical fields realigned themselves and withering potentials built up. Undeterred, it prepared to arc out into the void once more, but, just as distant galaxies beckoned, it could not help but disgorge a single spark of gargantuan proportions and hurl it, as a parting gesture, at its beleaguered adversary.


The entire horizon seemed to surge upwards as the wave swept onwards. All that lay in its path, save for the boundless ocean that had spawned it, was a ring of white rock. Obdurate, resilient, but no match for the heavenly induced phenomenon that bore down upon it. It was engulfed in but a moment, the vortex within overwhelmed.

The atoll reemerged, its walls pristine and glistening, its waters invigorated, refreshed. But no sooner had those new waters begun to settle, free at last from the vagaries of wind and tide, than something else took them in its grip. An enchantment that had merely been biding its time began inexorably to shackle them to its will, until once more within that cursed enclosure an eager current swept around, to imprison all that might happen upon its liquid coils.

Yet no prison is perfect and this one’s most glittering inmate had already fled.


It hung in the tortured stratosphere, spinning slowly, searching. A single pulse from within momentarily relieved its crystalline blackness and then it surged away, cutting a swathe through the churning layers of air. Black troughs of turbulence radiated outwards from its leading point, rupturing matter and time with equal disregard. A cocoon of static enveloped it and coruscating lines of energy rippled across its surfaces. With single-faceted intent it swept around the planet until before it lay a sprawling pyramid of land …