Flight of the Starfire
The Lon-El building, which housed the Kryptonian Aerospace Division of the Department of the Sciences, bustled with activity and excitement. It was so named for Lon-El, the Kryptonian spacewalker who first made a solo trip to both of Krypton's moons before returning safely home. That was some eight generations ago, and now his descendent Jor-El walked through the halls of the building named after one of the many prominent members in his lineage, in a last desperate search before the takeoff.
The House of El was ancient and esteemed. Their longstanding contributions to the sciences were well documented, but they had excelled in many other fields as well. Soldiers, politicians, even a famous actor, Nox-El, who was one of the most renowned entertainers in Kryptonopolis ages ago. Not to be overshadowed by his ancestors, Jor-El was the Minister of the Sciences, the youngest who had ever served in that position. It was one of the most important roles of the twelve seats of the Great Council. Each chair was filled by one member of the oldest and most respected families on the planet, an oligarchy that had ruled Krypton through several hundred suncycles of relative peace and prosperity.
His age earned him, unusually, both respect and scorn, depending with whom he was speaking and what the subject matter was. He demonstrated a powerful mind early in his twenties, revolutionizing cold fusion practices with implications so far reaching they had only begun to be realized, but more recently he'd faced scorn and mockery after a lengthy study that proved fruitless in which he tried to show that Kryptonian cells could, through genetic alteration, convert sunlight into usable energy. It seemed a preposterous theory, but Jor-El had been certain of it based on a dormant structure he had found in Kryptonian tissue that seemed to resemble one found in plant cells. Over a million kron were spent on the project and it delivered disappointing results it became the butt of everyone's joke. It came to be known as the "Jor-El Cell," and, despite his protests, the project was shut down.
That had left him ashamed and thirsty to prove himself once more, but already, he was facing scrutiny for his newest work. In the recent mooncycles he had turned to seismology, as there had been a noticeable increase in earthquakes on Krypton is the last few suncycles and Jor-El had grown curious why. It perturbed him, the sudden and dramatic spike—ten times more frequent than in the past, and more intense, at that—and he wondered what could be the underlying cause. Early tests seemed to imply to him that there was an instability at the core of Krypton itself, but the Council had already dismissed the findings as exaggerated and alarmist in nature.
But while most of his days recently had been spent focusing under the ground, today was all about the skies.
In fact, most days were all about the skies. The entire planet buzzed with excitement about the future of Krypton's space program, and had for a time now. Though they had reached both of Krypton's moons over three centuries ago, interstellar travel had stagnated until the last decade or so, when technology had made an impressive leap forward. Now, in no small part thanks to Jor-El's revolution in energy, Krypton had five vessels among the stars headed to different pockets of the universe. Their bearing: distant planets with conditions known to support Kryptonian life.
Jor-El was thrilled about the renaissance of space travel, to be sure, but stargazing had always been more his brother's specialty. It was a satellite telescope of Zor-El's design that helped locate planets that could sustain life. And today, the sixth vesselwould launch, destined for the sixth planet, headed boldly to where no Kryptonian had gone before. It would make a stop at Wegthor, Krypton's smaller, closer moon, the one on which the calendar's mooncycle is based, where it would resupply the colony there—the first and only extraterrestrial colony in Krypton's history—before making its journey into the beyond.
And today, of all days, Jax-Ur was nowhere to be found.
Jor-El did not particularly like the man, and this sudden disappearance only tried his patience. His presence not required for the launch to succeed, but it was expected. After all, he was in charge of the entire space program and would be expected to say a few words for the media teams, to give a message of inspiration and encouragement even if he was not directly involved in this particular project and even if 'inspiring' or 'encouraging' were not words Jor-El would ever use to describe Jax-Ur. He was a cold, bitter man, known to harass those that worked with him and prone to fits of unspeakable rage.
He had not always been that way. Jor-El had been told that when Jax was appointed to the position—and there was never any question, he was the most qualified for the job—he was a jovial, even funny, man. He changed when his sister died in the Kandor Uprising, some ten sunsycles ago. Jax-Ur's spirit collapsed at that point, and eventually buried himself in his work. Through his ferocity he came up with many of the insights that went into the final design of the space voyagers Krypton had been sending out. He had named the first one the K.V. Tana Nax-Ur, after his sister.
Jor-El walked through the doorway of control room 4, the center of activity for interstellar travel. There, live holophone connections with the five ships in the sky were displayed on holoscreens on the walls of the room and the seating arrangement was set up in concentric circles around the center, like an arena, in the center of which was a holographic projection of the Launch Site. The little three dimensional projections of those Kryptonians working there hustled around the deck much like the scientist in the control room hustled from computer to computer, checking and rechecking figures, ensuring that all systems were go for take off. In the center of the room was displayed the projection of the K.V. Starfire, the giant starship, prepping for launch.
Jor-El saw Sal-Brak standing in the corner, looking at the only holophone connection with a ship that couldn't talk back. Jor-El walked up beside him.
"And how is Krypto today?"
Sal-Brak did not look away. "Vitals are normal, he's still wholly sedated."
Krypto was a white canine, a subject in an experiment for deep space travel. While the five larger shipped, manned with fifty or more Kryptonian scientists, had specific destinations set for them, Krypto was a lonely vagabond, sent further than any of the other ships by lightyears, dipping into and out of slip space at random. He was not aboard one of the five gargantuan ships, but in a much smaller vessel, designed for a single traveler put into a deep suspended animation. It was a design Jor-El and Sal-Brak had come up with a few suncycles ago, and Jor-El still had the unlaunched prototype in his home.
"Did you find him?" Sal-Brak asked.
"He's not here," Jor-El replied. "He isn't coming."
Sal-Brak shook his head, smiling in disbelief. "I suppose you'll have to make a statement, then."
"Wonderful," said Jor-El bitterly.
Sal-Brak laughed. "Oh surely you can muster something up. Just try not to mention anything about earthquakes."
"I'll manage. Taking the day off from your research, Doctor?"
"Everyone who is able to is! Fortunately we still haven't lost our bright-eyed wonder for space travel quite yet. The eyes of the planet are on us today. This is all still seen as a remarkable accomplishment."
"I'll call it an accomplishment once we've set foot on another world."
"Always the cynic," Sal-Brak said with mock admonishment.
"I prefer 'realist.'"
"Only the extremely cynical wouldn't."
"I should consider myself optimistic," Jor-El protested. "I may recognize our flaws, but I have always believed we will overcome them."
"Then, old friend," said Sal-Brak smiling, "you are a deluded cynic."
Jor-El laughed. "I cannot win with you, can I, Sal?"
"No, Jor-El, I just couldn't let that happen."
They turned their back to the canine and faced the center of the room, looking down on the Starfire. "She's a beautiful ship," Sal-Brak said, admiringly.
Jor-El nodded. "Our finest so far."
"It is an exciting time to be alive in Krypton's history. We can joke about cynics and optimists, but I have to confess, our future has never looked brighter. Did you ever think we would be alive to see us venture to other planets?"
Jor-El shook his head. "They said it was impossible. The planets too far, the energy needs too insurmountable, the universe too vast and empty."
"To progress." Sal-Brak mimicked lifting a glass in a toast. Jor-El did the same.
Looking across the room, Jor-El saw a middle-aged man pacing nervously, double and triple checking figures on each and every screen.
"Lan-Var seems pretty worked up," Sal-Brak said. Jor-El nodded. Lan-Var was put in charge of this launch, and while the task was nerve wracking enough, and the pressure could get to most anybody, Lan-Var had added stress: his son, Naylon-Var, was captain of the Starfire.
And suddenly, it was Naylon's image that appeared in the middle of the room above the projection of the launch site. He was youthful and handsome, with short blonde hair—a rarity, in Kryptonopolis—and the stunning green eyes of the northerners. Today he barely hid his excitement behind a confident half smirk.
"General," his voice boomed over the soundspeakers, "All tests have completed and we are prepared to launch." He used his father's military rank from his many years of service in the Kryptonian army anytime they worked together in a professional setting. Jor-El had protested the decision to put a father and son on the same project, for the very reasons he was seeing in Lan-Var today. Jor-El's son Kal was only an infant, but he stressed for his safety every minute of every day. It was a powerful instinct, and a clouding emotion. The council dismissed Jor-El's concerns, claiming, as they always did, that the rational mind could and would always override any emotions, and that both father and son would treat it as any other project. Jor-El agreed with them, in theory, but he knew emotions were powerful, and there was none more potent than fear.
Lan-Var looked at his son's pixilated figure and, through his worry, an unmistakable burst of pride showed on his face. "All system's go on this end," he said in a military baritone. "Good luck, son," though the 'son' sounded more like a generic address to anyone younger than an actual acknowledgment of their kinship.
"Yes, sir." His son said, and winked. The projection dissipated as the holophone was turned off.
"All right everybody, places!" Lan-Var shouted over the crowd. "It's time for this bird to get to the skies."
Those with assignments sat down in their respected chairs in front of their respected screens and starting hammering away on the hardlight keyboards in front of them, or reading off statistics into microphones. Nearby, Jor-El saw newscaster Kylee Gar-Sen with a holocam crew, projecting the events live to projections in family's living rooms and in workplaces throughout Krypton.
"A very professional interaction between the father and son duo while the excitement here builds as we approach the final moments before the launch. We'll go to Jak-Andar at the launch site to watch that spectacle live as Starfire heads to the sky."
"Thirty seconds to launch." Lan-Var said over the loudspeakers.
The countdown started. Jor-El and Sal-Brak sat at the edge of the room, both with their arms crossed, watching intently.
"I hope this one looks a little smoother than last time," Sal-Brak murmured under his breath. The K.V. Phoenix had a rough take off. Nobody had been hurt, but the mishap had been rerun over and over again on the news and comedy shows for days. The engines on the left side of the ship had burned too hot, and its thrusters on that side almost sent the ship into a barrel roll before it had risen twenty feet from the ground. It melted two huge craters in the ground directly beneath where the thrusters had been. Had it not gotten under control, it could have been devastating. People laughed harder, it seemed, the more disastrous the alternative might have been. Jor-El mused at the thin line between tragedy and comedy.
"Thrusters activated." A technician shouted. "Everything burning fine."
The holographic ship in the center of the room started to shutter as the engines flared up and started pushing on the ground beneath them. The launch site was not far from the control center, and Jor-El could hear the fiery roar through the thick walls of the compound.
"Five seconds! Three… Two… One… Liftoff."
The great ship shuddered and then stood still, as it hovered mere inches off the ground.
"Starfire, you are air born," said Lar-Van, "take it up nice and easy."
The ship slowly rose into the air, the four legs that it had stood on revealing themselves to be the great engine thrusters of the ship. It rose smoothly into the air, at a perfectly constant pace, expertly steered at the hands of Naylon-Var.
"You are at one-hundred feet, begin realignment," said a technician.
The holocams had fixed on the ship on its ascent, and Jor El saw the front thrusters burst brighter, white heat and flames roaring out of the ends, as it pushed the nose of the great ship to the sky while its tail stayed in place. The engines then rotated around the ship, so that instead of serving as legs they now looked like wings, and they put the thrust behind the ship rather than below it.
"Blast off.," said Lar-Van. With a deafening roar, each of the four engines started spitting blue fire and plasma behind them and the ship accelerated into the sky like a missile.
It was a flawless take off. The room erupted in cheers and handshakes and back slaps. The screens which projected the captains from the five already spaceborn ships joined in the congratulations, and a blank holoscreen on the wall activated, and Naylon-Var's face appeared on it, beaming proudly.
"This the K.V. Starfire, we are online, transmitting from the outer reaches of Krypton's atmosphere."
"We hear you, Starfire, loud and clear. Set bearings to Wegthor."
"Bearings set. Estimated time to Wegthor: three hours."
Starships did not go into hyperdrive or slipspace for the relatively short distance between Krypton and its moons, Jor El knew, so it took a little more time to get there than it might otherwise take to travel that distance. Still, three hours to the moon would have seemed impossible a few short decades ago.
"Oh, I don't think I have enough patience for that," a new voice said over the loudspeaker. The faces in the room scrunched into ones of confusion, and heads started whipping around trying to identify the new speaker.
Jor-El saw it just before a technician pointed up at a new holoscreen that had activated. The hard face projected there was one Jor El had been seeking all morning. It was Jax-Ur.
"Where in Rao's name have you been, Jax, we've been looking all over for you." Said Lar-Van.
"I apologize for my absence, gentleman, but I'm certainly there in spirit."
Something about his conduct, even what seemed like a newfound giddiness, perturbed Jor-El.
"The launch was a success, I take it?" Asked Jax-Ur.
"It was absolutely perfect, smooth as a Kandorian crystal."
"I should expect so," said Jax-Ur frankly. "I was controlling it."
The room took a beat to react to this.
"I'm sorry?" Asked Lar-Van.
"Please, Lar-Van, do you really think your inept son could pilot a ship that size so steadily?"
Jor-El eyed the screen showing Naylon's face, whose clench jaw revealed his anger and wide eyes his surprise. Suddenly, he started looking down to where Jor-El knew would be, though the holocam didn't capture it on screen, the captain's control panel. Naylon started frantically working at it, determined. Nearby, the Kylee Gar-Sen and her news crew had started rolling the holocams once more.
"Uh, Control, we have a problem," Naylon said. Jax-Ur smiled.
"Relax, Naylon, it's just a little acceleration."
"Jax-Ur, what the hell are you doing?" Lar-Van asked.
Jor-El said to Sal-Brak without taking his eyes off Jax-Ur, "Get in contact with General Zod. Tell him to get here, now." Sal-Brak nodded silently and hurried out of the room through the nearest exit.
"I told you I couldn't wait three hours to get to the moon. I'm just giving us a little boost."
"You've taken control of the ship!" Said Naylon, angry and horrified.
"Perceptive lad, isn't he? You must be so proud, Lar."
Lar-Van ignored the snub and turned to a group of technicians and ordered them to regain control of the vessel. It was an unnecessary command; they were already furiously pounding their control pads.
Jor-El stepped from his place in the extremities to a more central location in the room, saying loudly, "Jax-Ur what is the meaning of this?"
Jax-Ur's face registered his pleasant surprise. "Wonderful," he said, "I was hoping someone from the Council would be here, and of course, it would be you Jor-El."
"I am the Minster of the Sciences, it is expected I should be here. As head of the Department of Aerospace, it is expected you should be here as well."
"Yes I know this," Jax-Ur replied, somewhat sadly. "And yet, I've had such a morality crises recently, Jor-El, perhaps you can help me through this, as both a scientist and a member of the Council. Why is it we should start travelling to other worlds, why should we disperse and spread to new civilizations, when we can't even rightly govern our own?"
Jor-El clenched his teeth together. This had taken an unpleasant turn.
"Any issues you have can be taken up with the Council, you don't need to bring everybody else into it."
"Ah yes, the Council. Krypton's oldest and greatest families, all settled nicely in one little impenetrable governing body."
"We're speeding up… 200,000 kilometer's per hour…" Naylon's nervous voice announced.
"If you would like to discuss politics, Jax, I suggest you let the Starfire go and come talk rationally." Jor-El said.
"Rationally! The old Council credo, it never tires! Reason, Logic! When will the council understand there's more to life than that."
"Damn you, Jax let him go!" Lar-Van shouted angrily. Jor-El rose a hand to quiet him without breaking eyes with Jax-Ur.
"We do not deny there is, Jax-Ur, but in the ways of government it is the most proper method! Release your hold of the ship, and come air your grievances with us."
"You will not listen. You will ignore me, like you ignored her, like you ignore us all."
Sal-Brak rushed back into the room. Jor-El caught his eye, Sal gave him a quick nod.
"And now we have grown arrogant enough to think we are prepared to explore the Universe. We will only be a scourge to it. Captain Dor-Pan?"
One of the Captains of the five flying starships, the Traveller, who had been rapt in the conversation jolted at being spoken to directly.
"You are headed to New Genesis, correct?"
"That is correct, Director." He habitually addressed Jax-Ur by his title.
"It seems to be a lovely planet. Much like Krypton in topography, orbiting a yellow sun, governed by a wise ruler called the High Father. Some of the beings there look remarkably like Kryptonians, it is said to be a lovely place." He paused for a moment. "It is too bad you'll never see it."
Before Dor-Pan could register what had been said, before Jor-El realized what was happening, there was a loud noise that distorted in the speakers. The holocam that was broadcasting from the Traveller showed Dor-Pan scream on briefly before a flash of light blinded the lenses, and the screen faded to black.
The room stood in a dumb silence. Some jaws were dropped. Some people covered their mouths in horror.
Jor-El started breathing heavily. He clutched at his chest, where the symbol of his house was emblazoned on his official uniform. "What did you just do?" He asked, his voice shaking.
Jax-Ur brushed aside the question. "Six ships. Some of Krypton's best and brightest aboard them, save myself and, unfortunately, you, Jor-El."
The captain of the Argo sprung to action first, knowing ahead of the rest what was coming. She starting barking orders to the unseen crewmembers around her, telling them to start sweeping the ship. It was too big, Jor-El knew, and too late.
"Each ship has a little extra cargo I put on board before launch. A little gift from the Director of Aerospacial Sciences. It wasn't hard to get them in place, thanks to my… illustrious rank in this so called government."
By now the other captains had ordered their ships searched. The technicians in the control room were working furiously to regain control of the Starfire.
"I see the military has been contacted," Jax-Ur said, eyes down, studying something off-screen, probably a touch screen control panel. Jor-El could see his arms working. "Trying get my location? Sorry. Feeble attempts to sever my connection to the spaceships? Won't work." He looked back into the holocam. "That was entertaining, thank Zod for me when he gets there."
Naylon, who had left presumably to search his ship with the rest of the crew, returned to his captain's chair and checked his panel. "We are approaching 400,000 kilometers per hours."
Jor-El could see the room devolving into chaos. Across the room, the tall, authoritative figure of General Dru-Zod strode into the bunker. His black jet-black hair was slicked back, and his fierce goatee was as impeccably shaved as ever.
"Jax-Ur," he said in his booming voice, "What the devil are you doing?"
"Good afternoon, General, it's good to see you."
"What happened to the feed to the Traveller?" He asked, mainly to Jor-El, looking to the blank holoscreen.
Jor-El shook his head. "He has bombs on every ship."
Zod's eyes flared, and turned to Jax. "What the hell do you expect to gain from this loss of life?"
"I'm protecting other civilizations from the poison of our own, and forcing us to examine it." Jax-Ur replied simply. "I am spreading the teaching of The Cleric."
If the situation could have gotten any worse, Jor-El thought, it just did. It was just revealed to every Kryptonian that a high-ranking official in their government was a servant to the most violent terrorist organization on the planet. Black Zero, a society millennia old, which had gone through several deaths and rebirths and reiterations, had spiked in activity in the last decade or so. They called their leader "The Cleric" in honor of what the first leader of the group called himself. Very few identities of "The Cleric" were ever realized. They were religious zealots, and were as violent as they were virulent.
Zod was irate. "Could you explain to me how in Rao's name you could possibly work for the organization that caused the death of your sister?" It was Black Zero that incited the Kandor Rebellion.
"She was abandoned, undersupplied, and left for dead by the Kryptonian government. It was a Black Zero medic who was found trying to heal her. But he was killed before he could finish by a soldier who could nothing for her but watch her die."
"She was a soldier of Krypton! They were hoping to pry her for information, or to wipe her mind and reinstate her in the army as a spy. You have deluded yourself to the true enemy!" Zod was near screaming.
Jax-Ur's eyes fixed and seemed to deaden. In the slightest of motions, he moved his arm. Another horrible explosion sounded over the speaker, and the screen to the Argo burst with light and flames and went to black. People were now at their control panels, working furiously but helplessly to fix the problem. Some of them were crying, tears pouring down their determined faces. Jor-El knew the planet wept with them.
"We will find you, Jax-Ur. You will pay for these crimes, tenfold." Zod said furiously.
"I think not. You'd have to find me, first." Jax replied. Two quick movements, and the room erupted in the awful noise of two starships getting blown into oblivion.
"You are last." He was addressing the captain of the K.V. Tana Nax-Ur. "You're ship is named for her. This is her vengeance." He pushed something on his panel, and the room held its breath waiting for an explosion, as did the captain. But none came. The captain's face, locked in one of dread, relaxed. But as quickly as came the look of relief came one of pain. He grunted and retched violently. He started having trouble breathing, and then his eyes widened in the most intense fear and pain Jor-El had ever seen in a living being. And then there was screaming, not only the captain's, but the echoes of everybody else's on board.
"Oh," said a desperate, soft female voice near Jor-El.
"He's poisoning them." Zod murmured, disgusted and angry.
The screams roared through the speakers in the control room, an agonizing cacophony of people suffering through what must be the most intense torture imaginable. Then, mercifully, there was an explosion and a flash of light on the holoscreen, but it was not white like the others. It was green.
The only starship left in the Kryptonian fleet was the one that had just left its atmosphere, the Starfire.
"Get on with it," Naylon-Var snarled over the holophone. His father let out a painful, barely audible, whimper.
"Oh, no, you've got a special mission. How fast are you going now, Captain?"
Naylon looked down and back up. "800,000 kilometers an hour."
"And speeding up, no doubt. Your first destination has not changed. You're still headed for the settlement at Wegthor. However it's now your first and last destination. You carry a bomb of unimaginable size on your ship. It will destroy Krypton's first and only extraplanetary colony."
Jor-El could not breathe. The room shuddered. Jor-El's mind raced. There were over 2,000 Kryptonians at the settlement, in the process of terraforming it so that it would sustain life without the giant Encapsulation Shield.
Zod turned to a technician, "Get me Commander Ban-De on the phone." He was the military commander in charge of security on the moon, something which, until now, nobody thought was necessary.
On screen, Naylon's eyes darted as his mind raced. "You have to shoot us down." He said. Lan-Var immediately uttered, "No." Jor-El realized, however, that the son was correct.
"Send a missile, fire it now. Blow the ship up before we get there. We can get to the escape pods. Do it, General," Naylon continued. Whether this was to his father or to General Zod was uncertain.
Jax-Ur clicked his tongue disapprovingly. "That would be a good plan, if it weren't for the fact that I disabled the escape pods on every ship as soon as the Starfire took off."
Naylon hesitated only briefly before saying. "Do it anyway. We're gone. Save the colony."
The room sat silent, for only a moment, and then Zod broke it with a forceful, "Do it."
"No!" Lan-Var screamed. "You can't!"
"It's the only way." Naylon protested. He did not look afraid.
"Find another." His father turned to Zod, desperate. "There has to be another."
"Dad…" Naylon said softly. His father looked at the ten-feet tall projection of his son, tears dripping from his eyes. "It's the only way."
"Launch the missile," Zod said, "and pull up a view of the colony."
Two of the blank holoscreens, which had showed the feeds to the now destroyed starships, reactivated. One showed the Wegthor colony from afar, a giant, protective bubble covering the buildings they had spent suncycles constructing, and a rudimentary landscape they had terraformed. The second screen showed a camera from a missiles point of view, as it soared through the skies after a target it could barely hope to reach.
Jax-Ur laughed. "The ship has exceeded a million kilometers an hour and is only increasing in velocity. You have no hope of reaching it on time. And just in case," he took a moment to work, "Let's turn on the afterburners."
Naylon's almost fell out of chair at the burst of speed.
"We have," Jax-Ur checked a timer somewhere off screen, "forty-five seconds to impact."
The room sat, tense horrified. The missile flew at speeds far exceeding the ship, but it had such a head start… Jor-El slouched his shoulders and rubbed his temple. It was hopeless.
Naylon regained his balance in his chair. "Is there anyway to self-destruct the ship?" He asked. "What can we do?" For the first time, his collected demeanor broke down.
"We pretty thoroughly design our ships to not explode, Captain," Jax-Ur mocked.
The missile screamed through space, having left the atmosphere far behind. The room sat with bated breath. Some people could not bear to watch, one was vomiting into a waste receptacle in the corner of the room.
"Fifteen seconds." Jax-Ur said.
"No!" Lan-Var had broken. He started to sob uncontrollably. "No, no, no!" Jor-El crossed the room to him and put a hand on his shoulder. His voice shook as he told the devastated man, "say good-bye to your son."
"I love you." His father managed to say. A tear rolled down his son's cheek. "I love you." He raised his right hand across his body and placed it on his left shoulder in the Kryptonian salute. His father's knees gave. Jor-El caught him and pulled him into a tight hug.
"Don't look." He said to softly into ear of the sobbing man. "Don't watch." Lan-Var buried his head into Jor-El's shoulder, while his own shook up and down as he cried.
Jor-El failed to fight back his own tears, but he could not turn away from the screen. His eyes were locked on the moon colony. The missile on the screen to the left continued flying in desperation, the moon zooming in as it approached. But there was simply no time.
It was too fast to see it happen. A flash, a blur of grey and white, seemed to slam into the face of the moon. If one had been able to see it in slow motion, within fractions of a second they would see the Starfire burst through the clear protective airlock surrounding the colony and immediately catch fire from the sudden friction with the oxygen there. But before those flames could matter, they would see the nose of the Starfire bury into a section of homesteads on the moon surface, and the metal ship folded into itself like it was paper, creaking and crunching sickeningly. Then the first explosion, which would be the ships engines, and immediately after, the detonation of a nuclear device more powerful than anything the planet had ever seen.
The holocam projecting the full view of the colony of Wegthor, one of Krypton's crowning achievement, was engulfed in the explosion, and ceased its transmission.