The wall is burning. Tall columns of flame engulf entire sections of the tall wooden structure and thick black clouds of smoke slither into the sky like enormous mutated snakes that twist and undulate in rapturous excitement as they devour the protective barrier around the settlement.


Dex jumps from the platform and onto the ground in a single, athletic motion. “Stay Here.” He calls over his shoulder, shouting in my direction. He dashes after Snow’s small platoon before I can say a word, charging into the deepening gloom of the forest beyond the wall as fast as his thick legs will carry him.


I tell them about the Jupiter Fleet – missing and presumed lost. I tell them about the fall of the Shatter Line - the swarm of tiny spy satellites (the most recent boasting full AI autonomy) buzzing between the millions of frozen rocks in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

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