Mysterious comet soars by glowing cloudlike nebula

The inexorable juggernaut called Big Bad John, looked like it was designed by extraterrestrial planning committee with different climate zones serving big helpings of mineral-rich rocky mountains, sweeping desert mesas, and vast cloud forests. Eruptions of gas acted like an omnidirectional propulsion system unpredictably changing course of the comet seemingly with a mind and will all its own. As Phillips scanned the celestial body the state-of-the-art star cruiser suddenly became drawn into an unexpected gravitational pull. The aerodynamic craft corkscrewed through streams of gas and dust striae. A solar-powered toy carousel wobbled uncontrollably on the command console as the rough-rider struggled with the control yoke. "Earning our paychecks today," he said while experiencing extreme G's.

Haviland calculated that the commander’s survival rate would increase if he ejected in the escape pod. The star sailor did not agree, but the self-aware computer did the math again and jettisoned him. Phillips’s module landed within a frozen expanse of tundra. The submarine-shaped starship grounded with a dead-stick in the desolate volcanic sierra. With that the granddaddy of all comets ever proceeded by a stellar nursery of nebular clouds embedded with gestating stars in cocoons of dust and gas into the wonders of space leaving behind an immense trailing wake resembling a shovelful of powdery dry dirt flung into the darkness of a yawning grave.

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