Oleksiy had never seen the star before tonight.
The vigilant watchman noticed the change in the stars immediately. He knew the place of each and every one of them. It wasn't because he was neglecting his duty to guard the town. There was hardly ever any trouble these days. Colony Six had grown even larger in the days of peace following Shulk's victory over the Bionis. All they had to deal with was the occasional Armu rustler or particularly organised pack of Bunnits. He could keep one eye out for them and still relax occasionally. Most nights, he had nothing to do but gaze up at the new, strange sky, one with stars, suns, planets, all sorts of strange twinkling lights that weren't rising ether pockets, or the menacing twin red lights of gigantic mechanical eyes. As with anyone learning about something completely new for the first time, he devoured any and all information about them with a ravenous hunger like a Nopon child in an unattended larder. The stars were something profoundly new, a symbol of their victory, but he was one of the very few in the Colony who thought to gaze up at them with awe and wonder, and he was the only one who had spotted that there was something wrong with them.
The new star was larger and brighter than a star should be, a giant, luminous blue orb, and it wasn't rotating slowly across the skyscape, it was moving closer to the planet for a while, too fast to be the orbit of a celestial body, then suddenly stopping dead, hanging there in the sky. Nothing natural did that.
"Maybe it's a missile," he said to Sharla.
"From who? We aren't at war with anyone any more, Oleksiy," she shook her head, the exasperation in her dark eyes apparent as her black hair fell over her face. She thought he was sleep deprived, or an idiot who believed conspiracy theories, or maybe that he was suffering from post-combat trauma. He was worried that he had overstepped his boundaries, and that she would decide he was unfit for his post, but this was too important to the survival of the Colony for him to put his own needs first.
"It might be a Mechon," he said, "There are still Mechon, I've heard, wandering out where the Fallen Arm used to be. They get rusty and their programming gets damaged. They can still fly and they've still got missiles."
"Nobody's ever proven that theory," she said, "Reyn went to have a look, idiot that he is, and he didn't see any Mechon."
"Werner went on his own last week, to see if there was anything to buy or sell. He saw Ancient Daedala. Almost frightened the life out of him."
"If he got close enough to Daedala to see her and he's still alive to report it... he didn't see Daedala," Sharla sighed, "If it's an invader or a weapon, why is it just hanging there?"
"Whatever it is, it's not a star, and we need to know what it is before it's too late," said the watchman, "The stars aren't working, Sharla. I know we haven't been a normal planet for all that long, but I assure you this doesn't happen to normal planets. If you think you can be complacent just because we saved our world once, that we can't imagine the possibility that something big will ever go wrong again..."
"I'm not being complacent, Oleksiy, I'm just too busy managing the defences of an entire Colony to investigate everything personally. I promise you I'll keep my eye out for any danger, strange light in the sky or no, just like I always do," she told him. Sharla's tired, too, he realised, and very overworked. Even with Reyn constantly by her side, with Otharon still as good as new, unlike Oleksiy, and Juju a fully grown soldier, and the whole Colony pitching in, sometimes it felt like it wasn't enough. They had a whole world to rebuild from scratch, not just a Colony, and at least they could just make the Colony look like it did before. Sharla took too much of the burden onto her own shoulders that was meant for the Bionis.
"I think Alcamoth has an observatory, by the way. The restoration work there is coming along nicely. If you think it needs scientific observation, you could see if they have their telescope back up and working."
"I will do. I just want you to keep it in mind..."
"Reyn, the door's not locked, don't break it down!" Sharla snapped as the door to Sharla's office in the Central Command Headquarters of Colony Six Defence Force was almost ripped off its hinges by the thunderous pounding. She walked up, turned the handle and pulled, at which point, a fully armoured Reyn lunged forward and fell flat on his face.
"What is it? You look like you've seen a Mechon," she said, looking pointedly over at Oleksiy, then she turned back to Reyn as he was picking himself up off the floor and frowned, "Why are you covered in pollen? Are the Nopons causing trouble again?"
"It's Riki! He told me to come to Frontier Village as quickly as possible, and..." he gasped for breath, "It's chaos there! Even more than usual, I mean! They wouldn't let me go until I promised I'd fetch everyone! They're saying the world is about to come to an end..."
"Oh, what is it this time? They're going to pester Shulk and Fiora next if I don't go and deal with it, aren't they?"
"I think so, they told me to go and fetch them as well," said Reyn, "It's that mission we did a couple of months back. The one with the Highmore Caviar. It's come back to bite us in the arse again."
"Please tell me they're not manufacturing the stuff again."
"Not exactly," said Reyn, "Although they're acting a lot more like they're on drugs than usual."
"I'll take a look," she sighed, grabbing her gun from the rack by the side of her desk. Her squad could handle most dangers that could befall the new world, but rowdy Nopon was a threat that only an elite few should ever be exposed to.