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FROM THE TALES OF MOON MOUNTAIN • SOLAR FLARE

The dancers in Sun Valley’s fourth centennial celebration had captivated the entire crowd in the settlement’s main promenade. The flourish of their dresses as they twirled were reminiscent of the ancient Flamenco dresses back in the homeworld country of Spain, at least according to the intranet. The Traveler stared at the dancers as he nervously tapped his foot. Patience was never his strong suit, but the meeting was too important.

The Traveler looked around the gilded room he was sitting in. The giant glass window overlooking the promenade allowed a beautiful golden light from the system’s Red Giant to fill the room, making the gilded crown molding’s gold and platinum flakes shimmer. The Traveler couldn’t even being to imagine the amount of work it took to turn this near-dead satellite… or the power.

A young woman emerged from behind two massive doors, emblazoned with the same ostentatious decadence of the room around it. She spoke in a sharp tone, “The Governor apologizes for the wait, he’s ready to see you now.” She led the Traveler to a smaller office, understated compared to the rest of the opulent manor. Sitting in a large leather seat, buried beneath paperwork and a glorious mustache, sat The Governor.

The Governor stiffened himself with a deep breath, “So, you’re the uh… whatchamacall it?” The Traveler approached The Governor’s desk, “Traveler sir, I won’t take up much of your time, I’m here about Solar Flare.” The Governor looked up from his papers, sitting back in his chair, “Are you now?” The Governor reached into his desk. The Traveler never breaks eye contact with the Governor. Silence fills the room.

The Governor slams a bottle onto his desk. It’s the Solar Flare. “Well damnit boy, why didn’t you just say so? You Federation types are always so damn cagey that I thought you were here to give me a summons.” Out came two devices, The Governor began filling them with the liquid from the Solar Flare bottle. He extended it out to The Traveler, “You ever try it?” The Traveler took the device and began dragging on it. The flavor of pomegranate and lemonade filled the senses of The Traveler on his exhale and inhale. “It’s a fine taste, but…” the Traveler lingered as he put the device back on the desk, “I’m not here on official business.” The Traveler takes the edge of nearby seat and leans into the Governor, “Sir, I’m here because of how you’re making the Solar Flare.

The Governor leaned back, a look of confusion washing over his face, “It’s the same way we make everything else.” The Traveler leaned back as well, “I’m aware, but synthesis inside a Red Giant-your settlement is unique in this regard. These types of stars, they’re too powerful-too unstable and if you’re synthesizing a liquid like this… something that requires this kind of power is pushing that star to its limit.

The Governor begins to laugh, “Listen, Mr. uh… Traveler, we duly appreciate your concern, but if the star collapses, we’ll have plenty of time to move our facilities and settlements to safety, it’s not something I’m worried about, it’s not something our science commission is worried about and it obviously isn’t something that the Federation is worried about.” The Traveler grits his teeth, placing his hand on The Governor’s desk, “Sir, I can appreciate your position, but I’ve seen things your world and the Federation have not. You are sitting on a powder keg, a star that has already collapsed on its interior. If you continue to synthesize on the exterior, you are going to be annihilated by a force you’ll never see coming. It will look like a solar flare, but it will be a supernova unlike anything this galaxy has ever seen. You are NOT the first civilization to try and use a Red Giant.

The Governor stands up, “I think that’s enough Mr. Traveler. Give my regards to the Federation and don’t worry, I won’t tell them about you using your official credentials to get in here to see me under false pretenses.” He throws the bottle of Solar Flare to the Traveler, “Now get the hell out of my office.” The Traveler hung his head low as he stood up to leave, “You’re making a terrible mistake.” The Governor tapped the screen next to his desk, “Ms. Miron, please have security escort the gentleman from The Federation off the settlement.”

The Traveler had always had within himself a sense of grim curiosity. He stared out into the blackness of space through the viewport of his ship, a model centuries old at this point, held together with a patchwork of unavoidable modernity. He had been praying for months that he was wrong, that the telltale signs he had seen in Andromeda were a coincidence. The Milky Way was just as violent a celestial landscape as any other spiral galaxy, but this was different. This was avoidable. IF he was right.

The Traveler was rocked out of his contemplation as a bright light consumed the viewport. In the direction of Sun Valley came the wave of radio bursts. The Traveler’s ship rang out in alarms as he grappled with his seat, desperate to remain oriented. The ship rattled and debris began to float up and scatter as the artificial gravity generator gave out. The blinding, shaking nightmare lasted for nearly 15 minutes before the shaking subsided, the light dimmed and the Traveler was able to get the gravity systems back online.

The Traveler knew what had happened, but he scanned the region anyway. Sun Valley had been wiped from existence. A hypernova had erupted from the Red Giant, taking out the surrounding planets, satellites and settlements. The Traveler could only sigh. He pulled out the bottle of Solar Flare and dripped it into the computer on his ship as it started synthesizing it. If he couldn’t save the civilization of Sun Valley, he could at least preserve their legacy. He knew just the place that would be interested in preserving that Legacy… the old rival of Sun Valley during the galactic colonization races: Moon Mountain.

Taste the Legacy of Sun Valley, our oldest rivals, with Solar Flare:

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