"I haven' t been able to tell you anything, Rahn," Annmar said as they cleared the breakfast dishes from the kitchen table. "Security regulations have kept me from telling you and the children until nine this morning, and we have just an hour to make a choice on what we are going to do. We have to decide if they are going to die along with you and I this afternoon."
Rahn stared at her, and it took just a moment for her words to sink in. He knew his wife, and until recently, she could, and often would tease about many things. But she would never include the potential deaths of her children in any joke. That moment of realization of the implication of what she said caused his hands to shake and the mound of dishes he was carrying to fall crashing to the floor.
Their three children, excited about the unexpected gift of a day off from school were busy playing in the front room, but all came running to the kitchen when they heard the crash. "What, happened? You okay?" Their eldest asked, which was quickly followed by similar questions from the two others.
"Sit down with your father and I. I have something to tell all of you," Annmar pointed to the chairs around the table, and then said to her husband. "Leave it be, There's no reason to clean it up, and we don't have the time."
Annmar hesitated when she looked around the table. She’d never really seen that look of fear on the man she loved, but it was there now. And her children, all in their teens, knew their mother well enough that they were not going to like what she had to say.
"This afternoon, shortly after Sol Two reaches zenith, our world is going to end. Most living things on our planet will die within a few hours except some of the creatures living in the ocean depths. Sol Two is going to shed an outer layer, and when it does, life on the surface of this planet will end."
Annmar held back the flood of questions, and only answered the, "Are you sure?" one from her husband with a nod.
"We have a choice, and I've made up my mind on what I think we should do. But the three of you," she said looking at her children, "need to understand why I feel that way. And I hope you father agrees, because we have to come to a decision in the next fifteen minutes."
Four hours later, Annmar and Rahn were sitting on the swing on their front porch and looking at Sol Two high in the sky. It looked the same as it had their entire lives even though eight minutes earlier the outer layers had been blown away by an explosion that happens towards the end of life of a red-giant star. Two light-minutes away in distance and two minutes away in time was the shock wave from that explosion that would incinerate everything on the surface of their planet.
Annmar's sadness was tempered by the knowledge that her children were safe. They were among the one hundred people who were now on an interstellar spacecraft and headed toward a mostly ocean covered planet circling around a small yellow sun nearly twenty light years away.
And she managed to smile when her eyes caught the beginnings of the flash that ended her life.
(Thanks to Ann Marcaida. Her encouragement got me to pull away from working all kinds of hours on a business venture, and just enjoy writing for a few hours)