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3.7 Into the Storm
The violent blue glow of ion trails flared into life around him as Chal's armada set course and accelerated towards the gas giant. The captains were eager to get underway and return to the celebrations and partying that would herald their successful raid.

As his fleet slowly approached the giant, his attention was inextricable drawn towards one of the moons. It wasn't the kind you would normally find in orbit of a giant. They would usually be dead, and pitted with craters from impacts over millions of years, or else tortured and twisted from the gravitational pull. Yet this one was smooth, almost opalescent in the reflected light of the dwarf star. He thought that it might be interesting to study what could cause such a strange geology on a moon.

The ships began to feel the tug of the giants gravity as they neared it's baleful radioactive glare. One by one the ion trails flickered out as the ships began to rotate and prepare for deceleration. Chal idly played with one of the light and heat sensitive frills that constituted his many 'eyes', causing a swirl of colours to shimmer across his vision.

He was about to give the final order to decelerate when a shattering blast of sound and light echoed through his mind. His body reacted by autonomously shutting down his primary senses, leaving him almost blind to the the outside world. He could still feel vibrations in the air through his skin and he could smell a primordial panic among the other members of his crew.

He lay there stunned for a few moments as his overloaded senses gradually reopened their synaptic links. Sound and sight flooded back to him, and he was left with an afterimage of a greeting echoing across his consciousness. A wave of nausea wracked his body and the colors in his skin oscillated alarmingly. A last shudder coursed through his tortured frame before his surroundings snapped sharply back into focus.

"What the hell was that?" he screamed hoarsely at his crew mates, some of whom were still writhing on the floor. "And shut of those damned alarms, they are making my brain case hurt!"

The communications grid was suddenly overwhelmed with reports of the same thing occurring simultaneous throughout his entire flotilla. Weapons arrays automatically locked target on the small moon he had been idly contemplating earlier as flares of energy swept across it's vast surface.

"Commander, it's the moon," his second in command belated relayed. "Something there seems to have said 'hello', although I cannot be sure exactly what, and we cannot pinpoint the source either. There are no records about this system. It's possible that it could be one of the exiled clans, but I don't see how they could have come here without us knowing."

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