-Rockaby baby on the tree top -
The Titan Star Trawler nudged closer to the bloated heliosphere, swinging the particle nets behind the ion engine driven craft.
“It appears as though there is a spike of solar activity,” the helmsman said in his semi-electronic voice. “I would recommend a course correction to account for the incoming gravity wave and the drag caused by the increased mass we are towing.”
“Stay on this course for a while longer Helmsman,” the Captain replied in his similar half organic drone. “Are we nearing the desert world?”
“Yes Captain we are following its orbit, however…” the Helmsman’s answer was interrupted by an insistent beeping of an alarm. He reached and switched it off, as his cranial feed was given data from the Star Trawler’s sensors. “We can tarry on this orbit no longer Captain, sensors indicate that the heliosphere is entering a period of expansion and will consume the desert world at any moment.”
-When the wind blows the cradle will rock-
The captain’s voice emitter made a strange eerie sound, like a grating sigh. “Very well, take us out one half AU now, but keep parallel with this orbit. We will make another orbit of the star to take advantage of the coming mass expulsion, not to mention the metals available from the destroyed planet.”
“Very well Captain,” the Helmsman replied, adjusting the course, taking the Trawler further out. The ship began to shake violently as the engines fought the gravitational effects of the bloated star on the ballooning particle nets and their increasing mass. More alarms sounded and the helmsman’s organocyborg digits moved furiously on the naviboard.
-When the bough breaks-
“Helmsman!” the Captain said in concern as more lights flashed warnings about compromises to the hull integrity.
The shaking gradually subsided as the hum of the ion engines increased and compensated for the increased drag. The Helmsman voice emitter gave a cackling rattle as he laughed; one by one the alarms began to terminate their warnings. “That was close it appears that the star is expanding as we speak. But thanks to my skill we will see Titan again… and I’ve saved our haul!”
The Captain’s voice emitter did not echo the Helmsman’s humour. “If we… you had lost our haul then you may as well exit the airlock and join the star yourself.” The Captain reconsidered his reprimand.” But well done. Yes we shall see Titan again.” His synthiorganic mind wandered then as he recalled the beauty of the reflections of the Ringed Mother in the methane polar seas of his home world and yet, his species original Eden had been…
“Are we parallel with the desert world yet Helmsman?”
“We are catching up with its trajectory, but it is about to be hit by the heliosphere and we will have to erase it from our star charts.”
-The cradle will fall-
The desert world gone? It had not always been the wasteland it now was. Legends spoke of water in abundance. “Open the blast doors, Helmsmen, Iet's see its demise.” The plastisteel doors opened turning the interior of the craft red. The red giant was now burning iron, its hydrogen fuel long since depleted; it was in the long drawn out stage of stellar senility. It dominated the view screen as its churning surface approached the tiny speck of the desert world.
-And down will come baby-
The Captain felt an immense feeling of sadness. His voice emitter croaked “I would see this with my own eyes.” He took off his facial plate. Amid the tubes and amalgam of flesh and machine his grey eyes blinked as they adjusted to the filter free vision. He felt the strange sting of tears as precious water began to issue from his eyes.
“Cradle and all.” He said solemnly as the planet was engulfed.
“Its nothing Helmsmen, just random thoughts that have been in my mind since waking from stasis.” In his dreams there was a hidden memory passed down from clone to clone in the invitro tubes; a world of green and blue where ships once plied seas of pure H2O. “Titan wasn’t always our world, you know? Once we were fully organic and came from that very place, long ago. It was once called Earth…”