Prologue

(Excerpt from The Dooma: Solitarius book 1.)


A loud noise shot through the control room and a rain of sparks exploded from the wall as the lights suddenly went out. Barney found himself on the floor, thrown backwards by the chock. His hands had been on the controls and they hurt and felt numb. All the screens were black.
”What the hell?!” A voice yelled out from the adjacent room. ”Jesus, Barney! What’s going on?!”
“Beats me.” Barney stood up and reached for his notepad. The room was shimmering spookily from the fluorescent emergency lights. He picked up the pad and touched it. Nothing happened. He tried it again. Still nothing. He felt a knot forming in his stomach as he tried it a third time with no result.
The voice came through again through the metal wall.
“Barney? Everything’s dead!”
Barney tried the reboot keys on the console at the wall beside the main screen. All stayed black and there was no haptic feedback. Nada.
“Barney?” said the other voice again, slower and a bit more worried than angry now. “It seems Chuck’s pad is out too…?”
Barney’s mind was churning. “Try contacting the others,” he said.
“How? Nothing comes on.”
“Okay, so use your feet. Run downstairs and talk to them.”
The man in the other room swore, but Barney heard him pulling at the door and opening it.
“Damn, even the door’s kaput! Had to pull the lever!”
Barney heard the sound of metal against metal followed by hurried steps against the stairs down into the ship’s lower decks.
Barney sank down slowly into the command chair, his mind a blank. But deep down his brain was systematically going though different theories. Don’t jump to conclusions, he thought. A moment passed.
“Barney?” the other man was back, standing in the doorway. “It’s the same everywhere. Fuckin’ ridiculous. Everybody’s shouting and swearing. All devices are dead. I mean, ALL of them at the same time. How’s that possible?”
“Anyone hurt?”
“A few burns and bruises, but nothing serious. That I could see.”
Barney considered this. All the devices fried? Really? He stared at the dead console. A suspicion started to form, although he tried to push it away. But if that had happened, they were screwed. The whole colony on this planet doomed. Almost 300 people.
“No electronics, hah?”
“Nope. All gone.” The other man shrugged. “What could do that?”
“There’s one thing that could do it.” Barney paused. “Could it be a Carrington, Fred?”
“A bloody what-now?”, Fred started, but stopped himself. “Wow, that isn’t…” His voice trailed off.
“Yeah. Solar flare hitting the planet, straight on. That would fry all circuits. Just a once in million chance, but not impossible. This is exactly what it would look like.”
“Wh…? All of it? Computers? Pads? Everything?”
“Not just that. Engines, replicators, the works. If that’s what happened, it probably knocked out all the spares too. All of it is toast. We’re damn lucky we had landed. In orbit we’d be totally fucked.” He stared quietly into the empty screen in front of him. Then he turned around and looked the other man in the eyes.
“We’re stranded here, Fred. No way to take off. No power, no nothing.” He shook his head in disbelief. “Bloody well hope this is an okay planet to live on. From here on, this is home.”