Klaxons blared on the bridge of the Blue Horizon, and Dorian Walker tapped the ship's life-support display. Not good. As he'd been in kind of a hurry when stealing the ship, there hadn't exactly been time to kick the tires.
Like he'd always said, a stupid plan could only go two ways: bad and worse. Now he only had a few minutes of air left and no idea where he was going.
Still, it wasn't like he'd had much of a choice. The Exile Fleet was in a bad spot heavily damaged after they'd rescued the Aurin on Arboria. Time and resources were running out and it was only a matter of time before the Dominion caught up to them. They needed a new home, and Dorian was going to find it.
Of course, that depended on him surviving the next few minutes. He had enough air and fuel left for one more hyper jump, and then it was the end of the road.
Dorian's weathered volume of The Book of Dominus sat propped open on a nearby console. Worn, dog-eared and heavily annotated, the apocryphal book had been in his family for centuries. Like many of his ancestors, Dorian was convinced it held the secret to finding Nexus, which, of course, had led to stealing the Blue Horizon.
That questionable decision had been after he'd spoken to Klegg, a grizzled old spacer he'd met in a bar on the Gambler's Ruin. After hearing Klegg describe an oddly shaped nebula he'd seen way out beyond the Fringe, Dorian had been convinced that that it pointed the way to Nexus. And from there, things had gone downhill.
Dorian's vision began to fade, as he slumped over the navigation console. He had been searching the quadrant for weeks, hadn't eaten in days, and now his air was running out. There were still dozens of possible star systems to investigate, but he only had time to choose one.
That was when he saw her.
At first Dorian thought he was hallucinating. An ethereal girl had appeared next him on the bridge, floating above the deck, the hood of a robe obscuring her delicate features. Light from the command consoles seemed to bleed through her translucent form. Smiling enigmatically, she raised her arm to the ship's viewscreen, where Dorian saw three faint stars blinking in the black void. When he looked back, she was gone.
Struggling to breathe, Dorian mapped the coordinates and set a course. Moments later, the field of stars exploded into a brilliant burst of light followed by blackness.
When Dorian awoke, the blue-green surface of a pristine world filled the viewscreen. Chemical composition good. Atmosphere compatible. Life form readings off the charts.
Two moons. A set of rings. That weird nebula. Everything just as the Book of Dominus had described it.
A home. He had found them a new home.
Dorian set the ship's autopilot for a landing and stumbled toward the airlock. Soon, it would open, flooding the ship with fresh air. Looking back to the viewscreen on last time he finally allowed himself to speak the planet's name.