Summary: A response to the double-drabble-and-a-half (that's 250 words) challenge to describe Thanagar.
Ragged spikes of metal jut into the air. Elaborately carved stones lay in crumbled pieces and uneven chunks. Charred remains of a bustling city center still smolder. The latest attack was weeks ago, yet a heavy fog of ash and smoke still hangs in the air.
No city remains unscathed. Even small agricultural communities suffer the same devastation. No building over three stories tall stands anywhere on the planet.
Gordanians. They are like namcap beetles; they destroy everything in their path. Thanagarians have been the only people to successfully push them back, to delay the inevitable.
A young officer stares at the ruin, burning it into her mind. Her mission is lightyears from this place -- a distant planet called Earth. Thanagarian intelligence suggests that Earth will be one of the next places the Gordanians invade. Perhaps, with the Thanagarians' help, the small green and blue planet can survive the coming invasion and not suffer the same fate.
The winged officer wears civilian clothing. Her mask, too, isn't military issue. It was a gift received from her commander the previous night after they made love for the final time. She also wears new earrings as a sign of her intention to marry the commander when she returns.
Her green eyes remain on the horizon. "Yes, private?"
"Your transport is ready."
She nods and the private leaves her. One last time, she looks up through the smoggy air at the orange sun. She wonders if she'll ever see home again.