“Did the message buoy get dropped?” Someone in the back of the shuttle called out.
Rylan groaned and replied, “Yes, I dropped the buoy before we lost sight of the ship. When I dropped it, I made sure we could communicate, and they instructed us to stay the course.”
“Not what I asked,” the same voice called back.
Rylan ignored the comment and returned to his scan of the planet. Laria was just as dead as the other two worlds, and that stole the resolve from most everyone in the shuttle. Looking at the displays, Rylan called out to the shuttle, “Get all geared up we’re about thirty minutes from atmo. Then someone needs to get up here to let me do the same.”
Instead of a chorus of replies, the drawn and dour team started to dawn their hazmat suits. Rylan ignored the sparse muttering echoing from behind him and began to go through scans. Whatever devastated Laria was much, much worse than any of their previous stops. The open portals must have filtered out the most destructive aspect of the radiation because aside from the lack of life, the world appeared to have been wrecked by several large bombs.
Typically he could have guided the shuttle right to Laria’s platforms, but that was before he found the detonated carcass of the planet. Rylan shook his head and tapped at the console in time with its beeping. A chirp in his ear pulled Rylan’s attention from the scanner. He tapped the headset, and the line flared as the captain spoke, “Are those scans accurate?”
“Yes,” Rylan said as he closed his eyes.
“What happened?” The captain asked with a voice that threatened to fade out.
“That’s the point of our job,” Rylan said as he straightened his shoulders. “Isn’t that right Captain?”
The captain snickered, “True, but the other worlds didn’t suffer that level of destruction.”
Rylan swallowed the small lump in his throat as he looked down at the consoles. “The only thing I can think of is that the platforms were able to shield the other planets from the most dangerous aspects of the cataclysm.”
“We haven’t seen the scans for the radiation, what do they look like?” The captain asked.
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