They noticed Kiph stiffen, then everything began to shake, a deep bass resonating through concrete and flesh alike. A dusty cloud of mortar fell from the ceiling, dusting Riv and Brevil in layer of white. Cold, white light shone through the doorway, as if from a massive source of light outside. Then came a piercing sound, like the wailing of a whale, so cold and haunting. Speech was impossible, a throbbing pain in their skulls, and then more mortar fell, dousing the flames.
A second piercing cry came, as if in response to the first one, and as it abated other sounds; huge engines, myriad thrusters, the whine of machinery. Then a blinding light in the windows facing Bleak Wood. Looking out they saw a spacer vessel bathed in white light. It was starting to take off, but the pilot erred, scraping the stern against the wreckage of a larger vessel, the one they had seen plummet down on Bleak Wood a month earlier. Then it rocketed skywards, and something else came into view.
Airborne, coming from above the radio outpost, was a huge space craft, dwarfing the fleeing vessel, making it look like a bullet beside a rifle. The wailing scream sounded once again, clearly from the huge craft, and Ceres' crew had to hold their ears, lest they lose their hearing.
Falling down on his knees, his hands clutching his ears, Kiph screamed while looking skywards. His words drowned in a cacophony of sound.
Fifteen minutes later
The small craft had escaped and the huge vessel had soared into the sky shortly thereafter. The sky above Bleak Wood was empty now, as if nothing had ever happened. But looking down on their shaking hands, the mortar and bricks everywhere, and noticing the cracks in the concrete, they knew it had not been a dream. They were covered in white powder, someone had even cried, but finally things calmed down. They struggled to make sense of it all, but this turn of events defied all reason.