“Of the six suns, only Beta is left in the sky. Do you see it?”
The question was rather unnecessary. Beta was almost at zenith, its
ruddy light flooding the landscape to an unusual orange as the brilliant
rays of setting Gamma died. Beta was at aphelion. It was small; smaller than
Theremon had ever seen it before, and for the moment it was undisputed ruler
of Lagash’s sky.
Lagash’s own sun, Alpha, the one about which it revolved, was at the
antipodes, as were the two distant companion pairs. The red dwarf Beta — Alpha’s immediate companion — was alone, grimly alone.
Aton’s upturned face flushed redly in the sunlight. “In just under four
hours,” he said, “civilization, as we know it, comes to an end. It will do
so because, as you see, Beta is the only sun in the sky.” He smiled grimly.
“Print that! There’ll be no one to read it.”
Rated G. Contains some violence and apocalyptic themes.