5700 Years Later
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19

The Hateful Star had lost track of when they'd stopped observing it. Frankly, it didn't really care. Let them try to ignore it. Keep it 'contained' in a web of silence. It wouldn't help them when the end came. And come it did. As the Star lazily and messily tore Pluto apart, it noticed to its consternation that the Earth was no longer inhabited. It hadn't bothered checking until now, but there it was. Enthusiasm considerably dampened, the Star hove sunwards, briskly dispatching planets as it went. It came to a halt quite close to the Earth, reaching out with lines of force to keep the little world from being torn apart by its gravity well. It was a moment's effort to snuff out the Sun.

Satisfied that it would not be disturbed, the Star began to examine the little ball of dirt. It gave the stellar equivalent of a disappointed sigh. The shithole wasn't doing too well. It wasn't just the broken, drifting orbital gantries that surrounded the place like a messy halo. They'd drained the oceans, too. And the cities were radioactive craters, some of them still smouldering with the energies of sundered atoms.

"What the hell d'you do, Mankind? It's like your entire fucking species shit the bed or something. Disgusting." it pulsed to itself, looking a little closer. Ah. Now that was odd. The Authority had really let themselves go. Wandering the ruins of the world were the dregs and cosmic rejects they'd called "anomalies."

A blot of Nothing hissed and retreated into the space beyond reality as the Star's mind washed over it, annihilating its containment site and the maddened scribblings within its archives with more-than-solar heat. Beneath Mongolia, an ancient and simple creature sizzled as the Star cooked it to death. In the central United States, a flickering shadow of a woman stood before an observation window and sighed, finally relaxing, as a wave of furious radiation swept over her. The ghosts of Rhodesia watched in horror as their land sublimated into its component atoms, the spectre of a twisted, broken helicopter briefly visible before it was consumed. Beneath a long-dead supervolcano, the Star tore apart a race of particularly stupid mole men, chuckling as they cried to their deity.

"Bet that cocksucker Snodgrass is too busy giving Comrade Lenin a rimjob in Hell to save you now!"

The Star paused briefly over China, taking in the great black monoliths protruding from the dry, withered swamp that had once been the most populous nation on earth. There was a single word scrawled across each ancient structure's face.

"'Nihil'? You edgy little fucks."

China vanished in an eruption of energy, and the Star moved on. It paused one final time over the once-Pacific Ocean, seeing something unusual in the burnt seabed. A stone tablet, easily a kilometer square, with writing carved into its surface in a dozen languages. The Star read for a moment, pondering, then moved away from the Earth, exasperatedly throwing its mind into the void.

"The fuck is that supposed to mean?"

And then it found them. The faintest wash of energy emissions, redshifted so far they were practically invisible. A vast fleet of equally vast ships, moving away at speeds that defied understanding. And at their center-

"No fucking way. NO!"

The Star was old. Older than the universe. Even it wasn't sure just when it had begun. But it recognized that chorus of energies- the electromagnetic voices of a thousand civilizations- and it howled its impotent rage aloud.

"SOLIDARITY, YOU BIIIIIIIITCH!"

An end.

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