Turbulence rocked the ship. A great gale of energy plowed head-on at its bow.
Not a single member of the crew could be found on the bridge. The kitchen was rattling, being pulled right from the hull with seams gaping under the pulverizing force that was hitting the shell. Not a soul could be found who'd been sneaking a late snack now cowering under the sink or lying unconscious on the floor.
Quarters were empty, belongings long since whip-lashed against stainless steel walls. In the cruiser bay all that remained of the once tightly secured shuttle craft were shards of cleanly protruding metal pointing in odd geometric configurations.
Out on the observation deck with its massive 300 by 500 foot Triolon direct see through viewing port only an insignificant tiny red light blinked on and off in rhythm. With the lighting still at full stream it would have been easy to miss this lone sentry blinking, blinking, and blinking its maddening registration of time like the tick-tock of some ever present ancient clock.
Rising as if from a long perturbed sleep the blinking red light affixed to a less than humanoid head with a ridge carved clean down the center looked left than right. Eyes encircling the clean shaven head could visualize the entire 360 degree perspective with this simple movement. No others could be found.
Left alone, without support or guidance, this servant could only guess at what had transpired. Not a living being was registering within range.
The turbulence ended, now perfect quiet flooded the great star ship. A massive craft of unparalleled elegance, beauty, and power the Parillian Cruiser had been designed for travel between galaxies. Not your typical star to star system hopper that so many races had built but an intergalactic technological marvel - once the envy of many an advance society.
But here it drifted in the deep outer black emptiness.
Only this servant being remained, a mere droid, an unaware creature that had been programmed with a primary mission - a single overarching destiny. Should the worst befall the crew, if all were lost, this messenger was to land on the third planet from the star that was now a mere 4 billion kilometers away in this solar system.
Grasping the crash bars that had protected it, the Hileos lifted its hefty frame up all the while surrounded by a glittering shield. Communicating directly with what remained of the ships computers the Hileos shut down the shield. Now fully comprehending the situation it set a course for the third world with reserve power at full.
When the Hileos broke through the atmosphere of the gray planet it found a dying hulk aflame from horizon to horizon. Dust, carbon monoxide, a great wasteland of obliteration warped the land gliding past the underside of the cruiser. Tall jagged towers jutted out from a desert. No life forms could be found anywhere; absolute desolation - destruction beyond even this artificial mind's comprehension.
Returning home the seed of self-destruction surged to a brutal elimination. This the Hileos understood from the ship's systems. Once home it was apparent that time had succeeded in fulfilling the death wish. Unchecked greed had insured that reason would never prevail and the planet would burn beneath a toxic cloud of pollution.
No message to deliver - even the messengers who came across the galaxy to once again visit their place of origin had vanished from their world when the Hileos landed on the gray planet and shut down all systems. His last cogent thought before there was nothing - Why?