The light came first, a searing flash of white at the centre of a fireball. I'd seen nukes before, but this explosion was on a different scale entirely. Instead of dying away and leaving an expanding pillar of dust, it seemed to have an independent life of its own.

Moments after that burning flare, there was the ear splitting shockwave of supersonic air, a wave front hitting us as though it was solid. Beneath our feet, the ground heaved and convulsed like a wounded animal, dislodging stones and rocks and throwing us to the ground.

I stumbled back to my feet to see a flickering glow on the horizon. The afterglow of the weapon seemed to be burning the very clouds from the sky, even as it consumed the planet itself.

'What the frak was that?' I shouted the words to Zenya, who was sheltering behind the vehicle. I shouted again but louder, realising we were temporarily deaf.

The Lazloi looked triumphant as she watched the baleful light on the horizon, the occasional flurry of dust could not prevent her from holding her gaze towards the inferno. She gave me a faint smile, but I could see there was sorrow there too. Alisandra had to be dead.

'A captured singularity, one of the Creators most powerful weapons.' She clenched her fist and shouted in her strange language towards the unfolding detonation. I could guess it was an insult or two towards the controlling force the Lazloi called the Great Enemy, the things of nightmares I'd seen all those years ago at the starport.

I had dreams about the festering pools and nameless shadows I saw there, troubles that had threatened my sanity. Now, I could see those fears boiling away in a vortex of total annihilation, an explosion that had not finished, and which continued to shake the planet to its core. Now I could understand Zenya's exultant cry.

After what seemed like many minutes, the glow diminished to reveal a dark wound in the side of the planet. Not content to merely destroy the strange aliens hiding in the mountains, the Lazloi had opened a gaping hole in the crust that appeared many miles across. We all stared at it in awe.

In those long seconds, the wind that had been throwing heat and dust in our faces finally dropped to a stony silence, a strange calm that fell across the land. All the birds and animals, even the insects, had stopped their calls.

Zenya broke the silence with a single warning cry, and we threw ourselves back to the ground. A second sound rocked the ground, even larger than the first, accompanied by a screaming vortex of air. This time the wind was in the opposite direction, rushing towards the burning pit with such force that some of us were picked off the ground and carried many metres. Dust and sand clogged our throats as the gale tore across the ground, carrying our frightened shrieks and shouts towards the abyss. I shut my eyes and screamed.

When it was over, the landscape was utterly changed. A haze of dust and steam was rising into the sky, hiding the giant hole blasted out of the ground. Already, the thick blanket mingling with the clouds had diminished the warmth of Illaria's star, and a choking grey dust was falling like snow all around us.

Illaria would never be the same again.

-- Ara Mercator
-- Recon Team Alpha, near Calton's Bluff.


An original model created in Hexagon and Cinema 4D.

Scene assembly and final rendering in Cinema 4D R14 Visualise. Post processed in Photoshop CS2

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Updated: 10 February 2013

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