The Separation Of Earth And Space

150 Cluster World.jpg

We beam into the Omega Cluster and set up ship…

We arrive at the point where the Sagan 7 vanished, almost a century ago.

“Why are you willing to spend so much time, effort and wealth on this highly speculative adventure?” asks the daredevil historian interviewing me.

“If nothing else, this is only the second expedition to the Omega Cluster,” I reply. “Now we know things that the crew of the Sagan 7 didn’t before they came. We know that there is a highly energetic planet lying near the center of the cluster. It may be the oldest planet in the Milky Way.”

“But that’s not why you’re here,” she counters. “You came to find the Sagan 7. That’s the reason you gave your backers and the public. Have you decided that’s not possible?”

“Space craft detected!” shouts the monitor.

“Here it comes,” my doomsday engineer groans.

“Hold on. That’s one of ours. That’s a Jupiter Station exhaust signature!”

“I don’t understand… how another expedition from the Solar System could be here.”

“It isn’t another expedition,” my science adviser interjects. “Look very closely. Can’t you tell? That’s us.”

Us? Please explain.”

“That image is a reflection of us. The stars here are so close that gravity bends light radically. We’re in just the right position at this moment to sense that reflection. We’ll see it disappear momentarily.”

It does. But moments later anomalous readings cause me to order full stop for assessment. Are our systems malfunctioning?

“The speed of light has been reduced in this entire area of space,” the monitor reports incredulously. “In fact all electromagnetic phenomena are slowing.”

“Your mouth is ahead of your words. The speed of sound is dragging.”

“Ow! What happened? I ran into something invisible! It felt like someone’s head!”

Ahh! My head! Everyone stop moving around! Light has been slowed to the point that we aren’t seeing images of the present. We’re seeing each other several seconds in the past.”

“Ow! What happened? I ran into something invisible! It felt like someone’s head!”

Ahh! My head! Everyone stop moving around! Light has been slowed…”

“…stay in place! Hey? Okay… okay normal again? Are we back in real time perception?”

We are. And we remain so as we approach and land upon Cluster World.

The air is breathable but so dense that we can actually swim around in it. And we only need to take in about one breath per hour. We have to hold our breath sometimes if we get excited.

We have landed to find any remains of the crash of the Sagan 7 after reading Solar System alloys somewhere in this vicinity.

We swim toward the target until the air gradually seems to thin out and we can no longer strike through it. Once again on foot we set out…

“Everyone be…”

I stop speaking when a wave of destruction blasts from my mouth into the environment with the power of a tornado.

Someone steps forward. A rock crackles underfoot. The shock vibration pushes everyone off the ground and the massive roar deafens.

It’s over for a moment until we begin to hit. Each of us flops to the ground. Every landing sends another band of concussive force over the landscape.

This region amplifies all sound. We lie petrified. We look at one another knowingly. Don’t move. Don’t twitch. Because the land beneath us is cracked and opening up. A whisper could send us plunging.

“Hey, Mister…” says an idiot.

We plunge.

We awaken in an alien prison. It is completely dark. Even when our eyes adjust, there is nothing but blackness to see.

“Darkness is sacred to our people. We have no concept of what you call ‘nighttime.’'”

“Of course not,” I respond nervously, struggling to stay cool. “You have stars for moons, and you have thousands of them all the time. But… how is it that you know about nighttime at all?

No response. Don’t they want to tell us what happened to our people?

“Darkness is used in spiritual ways. Darkness can be a privileged state, afforded only by those wealthy enough to live in the elaborate, complex and vast underground villages. The darkness experienced by surface dwellers is believed to never reach true darkness, no matter how thick the walls.”

“But why would you know about nighttime? Answer the question! Do you know what happened to the first people like me who came here? What happened to them?”

“But darkness can also mean the end of all things. Alone, dwindling into nothingness…” the entity goes on, ignoring my plea. “We’ve always prepared for the coming of strangers from other space. It is our intention to keep such strangers away. You are not welcome here.”

“You don’t want to meet beings from other worlds? But why not? My people have dreamed of such contact for centuries. We longed to know that we weren’t alone.”

“Anything that is a thing is alone. We believe that space exists and expands to keep all worlds apart. We believe that nature segregates worlds on purpose. We consider ourselves guardians against interstellar contact. Every world deserves to find its natural destiny. Leave the worlds of Omega alone.”

“Just as soon as we finish talking about nighttime,” I insist.

 

 

 

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