I’m having fun today. After a night of lunar lovemaking I get to be on an actual “starship” of sorts.
Within a generation Earthlings went from complete uncertainty that any other form of so-called “intelligent” life existed in the universe – to feeling the surrounding presence of an intelligence-teeming infinity that would never be comprehensible.
I am the continuum pilot for the exploration team. My five companions are Exobiologist Salmef, Strategist Tifria, Analyzer Irtab, Contact Specialist Xetlit and Micro-Engineer Guarhs. My biggest hurdle is relaxing enough to let myself access this doppelganger memory box for piloting savvy. Meditate…meditate…
Attempting to establish some kind of independent intelligence regarding Earth’s actual state of vulnerability, a coalition of corporations and governments decide to use the targeted expansion of space, TAREX, for transportation of humans beyond the boundaries of the Milky Way for the first time. This will theoretically enable a ship to ride at the crest of an inflated point of space that instantly grows as far as desired. Keeping in mind that only a little information had been obtainable about the present condition of galaxies, who knows what’s actually out here in “real time?” Navigation problems resolved, leaders of the Solar System are eager to take advantage of the new frontier before others.
We embark on a series of intergalactic quests. Our findings will be instantly transmitted back home using the same technology. Therefore even if, by some accident, we never return, our journey will still yield knowledge.
The ship never travels through space but rather with a bit of space that extends at inflationary rates.
The inflation drive is a part of the ship itself, capable of riding its own projection.
For less than an instant we are stretched from here to there at the same time. For a moment both at the beginning and finish of that stretch, we suddenly arrive just within the boundaries of Comet Galaxy, a spiral galaxy known to be helplessly passing through galaxy cluster Abell 2667 and being stripped of its stars and gases – leaving billions of worlds that depend on those stars in turmoil. We record the condition we find it in today.
Next we venture to Segue 2, the least massive galaxy ever detected, because it was once held together not by black holes, stars and gas, but by dark matter. This investigation reveals the nature of the unknown matter as it exists today.
Our third assignment is to WISE, in the past the most luminous galaxy known with heat radiating from it at 10,000 times the power of our own Milky Way Galaxy. But it seems that in real time everything finally cooled off… and what’s left behind is amazing.
Fourth we reach Arp’s Loop, a gaseous bridge between three galaxies where rare star clusters were forming. We discover what’s become of these star tribes outside their protective shelters, and the effects three parent galaxies have had on the blending of life.
Finally we enter the coveted target of Cosmos Redshift 7, once the brightest of distant galaxies where first generation stars then produced the chemical elements that made life possible. There are elements present today that are still unknown to us but abundant here. But no one expected to find gigantic rings of gas containing living man-sized biospheres, trillions of gestating individuals incubating in space who had all the properties of planets.
Each individual was curled into a fetal globe, had a thin atmosphere generated by volcanic zits, and registered a magnetic field. Under duress and with limited time due to relativity concerns, we snatch one of the zygote planetoids to take home for study. Until arrival in the Milky Way the strange thing is going to be isolated in an airlock. The exact conditions of its home space are being analyzed. We observe a change in metabolic activity. The internal rhythms of the space animal are synchronizing with the circadian rhythms of the humans around it.
But just before we can leave Cosmos Redshift 7 and return to the Milky Way, we’re detained for questioning by a massive unknown space carrier commanded by entities calling themselves The Intergalactic Council. They claim to be a peacekeeping coalition of myriad civilizations dedicated to monitoring intergalactic activity. As newcomers to the scene, we’re up for analysis ourselves.
Is this what the leaders back home fear? An organized alien power that far surpasses anything Earth can possibly muster?
“We can’t let ourselves be taken,” Strategist Tifria announces. He calmly pulls out a cigarette and lights up. “If these creatures become aware of Earth and our people the home world and the entire Solar System will be conquered, if not exterminated.”
“You’re kidding,” I object. “You’re going to destroy us? We’re gonna self-destruct?”
“Didn’t you figure out why they really sent us here?” asks Micro-Engineer Guarhs. “We’re bait.”
“There is no debate,” Tifria says coldly, blowing a perfect smoke ring. “The process has initiated.”
“And no doubt the explosion is designed to take out any nearby vessels as well?” Guarhs inquires before he coughs.
“We could’ve beamed back to the Moon by now!” I yell. I’ve been killed before. It’s never a good time.
“And we might’ve led them straight there,” concludes Tifria. “Everyone is dismissed for one minute of private reflection.”
This could really be it. My heart races. We’re so very far from home. I know I’ve been even farther – I mean shit, I was outside of this entire universe for a while! But I never died out there. There’s no point in believing anything I’ve been told by those mystical, multi-dimensional bullshitters. Who knows what’s going to happen when I finally come to an end?
I wanted to make it home, I really thought that I could. To my real home, where things were the same day to day, where the people I love still live, not even knowing I’m gone but thinking I’m some kind of multiple-personality freak that has to be institutionalized.
The aliens come closer not knowing what is about to happen to them.
Hi there, you poor bastards. Meet the humans…