Sun Runner fast-orbited over the doomed planet. Her inertial systems needed tuning, but she held course and altitude each pass.
‘Morgor A 3’, Harlan supposed it would be called. The shining white planet deserved a better name.
‘Harlanville’ … no.
‘Harlantopia’ … no.
It didn’t really matter. He was stalling anyway, trying to postpone the sin of firing on a terraforming Pylon – a relic of the lost Republics. Sun Runner’s neutron projector swung silently though its locked arc, the triple triangular barrels compensating for the orbital movement of weapon over target. The end of the Pylon and its green oasis of life awaited only the pull of a trigger.
There wasn’t really a way around it. The Pylon maintaining the dent in the clouds had to go.
He waited for another orbit to finish. Sun Runner’s vector brought her back on target in only a few minutes. Targeting information in the holographic Tactical display held a tight lock, with very little variance. Harlan’s strong hand couldn’t quite pull the trigger, yet.
Was there any way, he wondered, that somebody might find this place? Might recover it? The Pylons of the Confederation kept living worlds living.
‘Dentworld’ …. no.
‘The Hole’ … He’d heard worse, but no.
Another orbit swung by. Tragan’s voice was on the comms, insisting on a status. Harlan brushed it off, mumbling about a check of the gunnery subsystems.
Had one of the Saints visited this place, long ago, before history destroyed itself? It was unlikely, but not impossible. Miraculous footsteps might have graced the paths of the tiny spot of green.
‘New Cloneberg’ … was fun to say, but no.
Harlan took a breath and rolled his shoulders. Tasks must be done, even if they are abhorrent.
“A 3” Harlan sighed.
“What was that? Repeat, Harlan.” Tragan sounded annoyed. Harlan had left the comms open.
Harlan didn’t reply. Sun Runner’s orbit reached perfect aphelion, and he finally pulled the trigger.