"Planet Tharris. A remote, desolate world, completely hidden by asteroids and nebulae. Strangely, this planet teems with life. For three thousand years, two different races lived in peace and unity on this world. However, the peace was broken by a mysterious virus. Its origin is unknown. The virus affected one of the races on planet Tharris: the Na'ario. The disease caused aggression. The Remenon, another race on planet Tharris, was invulnerable to the virus.
"The Na'ario were a race of parasitic creatures. Their former hosts were plants. However, the aggression caused the once-peaceful creatures to infest the Remenon. Now, the virus has affected yet another alien race: the Amaronians. We might be next if we aren't careful."
"Hmm, very interesting, would you say?" said a U. N. S. officer.
Commander Zoran murmured, "Fetch the research crew! We have a crisis on our hands. It would be simply too horrible to see our people fight each other. They will gradually die out, become extinct, like the humpback whales and the dinosaurs."
Approaching footsteps told the commander that the research crew had arrived. The door slid open with a whirring sound. "Greetings, Commander. What is it that you want?" one of them asked.
"Gagnon, your task is to research more about this virus." The commander held up a picture of a small, round organism, with jagged spikes protruding from its head. "This is a magnified picture of the virus. Now, let's get to work."
Soon, the whole crew was at the computer terminals, tapping busily at their keyboards.
A few hours later, Gagnon ran up to the commander. His face looked eager. "Commander, I want you to come and see what we have just researched. I'm sure it will be beneficial." The computer screen was showing the organism.
Zoran looked at the screen. Then at the research. He seemed impressed.
"The Veusse-Tristar virus is a microorganism that causes aggression. Possible symptoms are mania, violence, moodiness, and other emotional changes. The symptoms often lead to sudden death. These symptoms cannot be cured." The last few sentences made the commander stop dead. His face paled, but he kept reading. "This virus only affects certain types of creatures. It needs a certain type of mineral to survive. According to the computer, Remenon lack this type of mineral, which is why they were not affected. Its origin is still yet to be discovered."
Commander Zoran's expression was grim. "'Where there's smoke, there's fire.' We must get to the source of trouble." He turned to his crew. "Report to the briefing room pronto!"
At the briefing room, Zoran gathered his crew. "Now, your mission is to find the origin of this virus. According to Gagnon's calculations, it is around what we call 'Sector A-278.' This mission is of great importance. I'll allow you to use my flagship. Keep your eyes open for any trouble. I'm sure you will succeed." He gulped, almost uncertain that the crew would accomplish this mission.
The flagship, U. N. S. Black Inferno , was a heavy destroyer. The tense crew stepped into the ship. It was not an ordinary heavy destroyer. It had been through many intense battles, many successes, many failures, and many upgrades. It had enhanced thrusting and hyper-drive engines. Its weaponry have also been upgraded. Proton Pulse Guns replaced the familiar Photoreactor Pulse Guns. Its laser turret now has enhanced auto-targeting systems.
The astonished crew stared around the inside of the flagship. This was their first time here.
The commander checked the rest of his fleet. The fleet consisted of the Black Inferno , three carriers, five gunships, and fifteen cruisers. "Prepare for liftoff!" Zoran's face was tight with a frown. He looked worried. If the crew failed... Well, he'd rather not think about that.
"Ten...Nine...Eight...Seven...Six...Five...Four...Three...Two..." a mechanical voice blared.
The crew gulped.
There was a loud rumble. The engines came to life, thrusting the ships through the launching bay. The fleet streaked across the space, leaving an afterimage as they travelled at faster-than-light speed.
Inside the flagship, the Black Inferno , Commander Zoran guided his ship to a certain point in space. "Here it is. Activate the jumpgate!" he commanded through the speaker.
"Roger!" There was a whirring sound. A great, blue-green spiral appeared before their eyes. The fleet slid through the vortex, as though it was nothing. Then, it shrank back into the space.
"We have arrived at Sector A-278." said Zoran.
The place they arrived in was surrounded by bright, greenish nebulae. As asteroids and comets drifted by, the crew gazed around this new setting. The commander took a glance at his radar. Nothing whatsoever. Nothing, except the asteroids, wandering around, minding their own business. Suddenly, Gagnon noticed something odd.
"Has it occurred to anyone, that these asteroids here are all drifting toward that direction?"
"Yes, it is odd," The crew murmured.
"I say we go and take a look," said Commander Zoran. "It might be some kind of planet. According to Gagnon's research, the origin of the Veusse-Tristar virus originated from that direction."
"No! No! That is a misconception! That 'planet' might actually be a...a..." Gagnon's voice faltered. " A black hole."
With these words, the ship started to drift toward the black hole. Asteroids drifted along, drifting by aimlessly. The ship sped up. The crew was helpless.
"Do something! Engage hyper-drive immediately!" the commander shouted. A rather large asteroid made a large dent in the Black Inferno's hull. The rest of the fleet had already sped away. "Half-wits," said Zoran angrily under his breath.
The ship drifted ever closer to the great hole of gravity. Out of desperation, an officer banged his fist on one of the controls. "Activating jump gate," said a monotonous, mechanical voice.
Once again, the great blue-green vortex appeared.
"Activate the hyper-drive! Now!"
"No, we won't make it!"
"The controls are jammed!"
An engineer worked busily with the hyper-drive control. "It's hopeless now..."
The black hole sucked ever harder, as the crew became ever frantic. The commander just stared, as the jumpgate opened slowly. The flagship was being eaten up by the merciless, relentless, well of gravity. "It is just impossible! Asinine! After all this, we get sucked into a black hole, possibly transporting us into another dimension!" shouted Gagnon frantically.
Suddenly, the engineer cried out, "Finally, this gizmo worked!" The commander cranked up the hyper-drive to full power, and the ship started to rumble. It was resisting the titanic pull of gravity! Slowly, slowly, the Black Inferno slid back through the jump gate.
"Miscalculation, Gagnon. I'm quite disappointed in you." said the commander gravely.
"I'm sorry, my friend. Please forgive me."
Back at the U. N. S. base, the research team went back to work on the computer terminals, harder than ever. Their eyes were focused on the screen, their hands typing rapidly.
There was a whooshing noise, as the rest of the fleet rushed back to the base. The crews were out of breath. "Oh my goodness gracious! That was an experience I will never forget. Seeing a black hole, and living up to tell the tale!"
An hour later, the research team handed their research to Commander Zoran. He pored over them. "Hmm, very interesting..."
"Sector A-278 demonstrates an astronomical phenomenon: That black hole was not sucking everything into itself. Some asteroids were 'hanging' in mid-space, as though deciding where to go next. The only explanation to this mystery is that there are two black holes in the area. The gravitational pull is so powerful, that it is capable of pulling asteroids apart.
"This is the origin of the virus. Asteroids in that area were formed by fragments of rock. Sometimes, organisms end up in the asteroids. When the asteroids were pulled apart, the viruses escaped. Either one of the black holes sucked the organisms in, and spread them all over the galaxy at random." Gagnon told the commander.
"But what puzzles me the most," he said, "is that this virus is not um... 'natural'. It was, in reality, created by someone. It is a mechanical virus." He turned to his computer screen. It was currently displaying a magnified version of the Veusse-Tristar virus. "See here," he pointed to the virus. "It has a minuscule electrode planted in here, in one of its 'quills.' It is obviously man-made. But who would do such a horrible deed?"
"Hmm," the commander said. "Apparently, we have a mystery on our hands."
(I was just bored. I'm submitting for absolutely no reason...)
(This message has been edited by Laguna (edited 06-02-2002).)