The night sky was lit with the splendors of a thousand suns spread far and wide as they danced across the frontier of the known universe. Brilliant. I thought sitting at my desk peering through synthetic glass tracing the circular shape of a distanced star lost in the vastness of space and the infinity of time. The solar system was no longer an interest of discovery and study in our cosmic neighbourhood, it was now mankind’s playground. Simply described by vocal planetarists as planets with valuable resources to mine and exploit. Our home was no longer one planet but 8 and a plethora of moons and a starship so large it encapsulated the sun. The starship was breath-taking. A feat of engineering, construction, and mathematics built by the dreams of visionaries. Named after an ancient Greek translation of star, Astrum was built by scientists in the year 3432 as a way to harness the full energy potential of the sun as mankind transcended its planetary shackles and chains to become a type 2 civilization. It was a Dyson Sphere that we lived on made home by the citizens of a world long forgotten. Some residents found relaxation and a tranquil state of mind in it’s great library. It was a magical place. A wonder of a new world. University professors would teach students in their spare time when they weren’t working at the university. They would teach whoever had the time to sit through a class. Teaching history, philosophy, science and the arts in beautiful lecture halls decorated with moonstones mined off Saturn’s moon Titan, and cascading anti-gravity waterfalls. Readers traveled from all over Astrum, seeking solace from voices lost to antiquity who luckily enough for the future generations put their thoughts in a book. It was a home for people seeking wisdom from the deceased and the boundless knowledge that’s been trapped within the confines of a book’s cover. This library, the only library on Astrum was it’s house of wisdom. It was it’s heart and soul.
People flew overhead whizzing past as I sat at my table sipping my coffee, contemplating which novel to read next. They flew unrestrained by the laws gravity, often soaring like superman or hovering like a wizard to seek out whichever book they wanted as it floated among millions of books, novels, novellas, encyclopedias, magazines, and comics. The great library housed every caliber of writing and genre ever made spanning the history of the written word and the epoch in which writing and history was recorded. And it all floated a thousand feet in the air in a dense cloud of immeasurable knowledge in what the librarians called the Infinity Cloud. A simple library card came with a small monthly fee to maintain the cleanliness and overall state of the library, as well as a few modifications to your energy ring. Grant access into self sense, the ring asked. I allowed the ring to access to my consciousness. Bring it on home. I thought, turning my head upwards to face the Infinity Cloud hovering a towering thousand feet in the air. A pulsating light flickered within the cloud, then floated down and through the bottom of it. And out popped my book. I flew up to meet it. I grabbed it and descended towards my desk.
This book’s old and probably not as good as the movie. I thought in my head ignorantly as I held Michael Crichton’s, Jurassic Park. Page by page, my unworthy hands flipped through the scenery of a world untouched by time. A time when scientists were just figuring out how to revive animals from extinction. Such a primitive time. I thought reminiscing. A sudden commotion escalated in the center of the library where the librarians manned their desks. “HE’S GONE MAD” A voice boomed like thunder. All the sudden the soft breathing of a man we all knew as the man who designed the Dyson Sphere forcefully entered everyone’s consciousness with aid from the Ever Ring. The library fell silent, and my heartbeat matched the rhythm of his breathing. I no longer see the light in any of this, or anything we have done. I’m surrounded by darkness. Consumed by it. The toxicity of my ignorance has finally dissipated. I’ve been….enlightened. He stopped for a moment. I can see in the darkness now. I’m cloaked by it…the eternal night shall and will envelope you… The voice whispered in everyone’s head then just as quickly as it infiltrated our consciousness, it left. Lungs no longer filled with oxygen as they were filled with pandemonium and heart-wrenching fear howled and shrieked as people lost their minds in shock of what just happened. Cups of coffee were dropped to the ground smashing on the floor as well as books and chairs were flung from fleeting hands. People were running in every direction. My energy ring pulsated a few times. The greenish hue of a deep emerald faded to a lifeless gray, then shut off. Odd. I looked up towards the Infinity Cloud, hoping my ring was the only one to shut off. Everyone’s energy ring simultaneously shut off. Hundreds of people started falling from the Infinity Cloud flailing their wingless limbs as if they would spontaneously fly. The screams grew louder as they approached the floor and the the thud of bodies struck the floor like a war drum as they decorated the library with blood and carnage.
Run, run, run, don’t look back. I reminded myself as I ran for the entrance between the Roman columns and archway. Before I knew it I was sprinting like an animal in the wild, leaping over the victims of a thousand foot fall. Another body hit the floor behind me and i turned my head distracted in horror as I found myself looking at a newly made graveyard. Just keep going. I told myself as I was in full stride, turning my attention back to the archways I collided with someone else who wasn’t paying attention. We both stood up. I could see the death and despair that resided painfully in her electric blue eyes.
“My sister….my sister…” She shrieked, crying hysterically.
“Where is your sister, is she alright?” I asked.
She turned to me with a heavy head without saying a word as her eyes spoke for her speaking the language of anguish.
“He…he…locked the doors to the zero-gravity pool, I watched the live feed from the library computers as the water coalesced into a sphere and expanded…she drowned alone and scared. I watched as the pressure crushed her body into nothingness…I couldn’t have even done anything to save her.” She turned to me and a river of tears flowed down her cheeks and onto the floor.
All the sudden his voice entered our minds again.
You seek a new horizon now. A horizon where nothing can escape nor simply be. One without the beauty of a rising sun, where a better day never lies. What you seek is forever, and forever you shall have.
The words sunk into my brain and I waited for his riddle to finish. Waiting patiently until his voice and presence left my mind before thinking. He’s talking about a black hole. I figured, piecing together the puzzlers puzzle.
“He’s talking about a black hole.” I explained to her. “If he accelerates the energy produced by the star and because our star is considered a large star it will eventually start to shrink and create a force of gravity so strong that it’ll collapse in on itself and suck everything around it into its inescapable void. Nothing can escape it. Not us, our histories, our friends, memories, money, nothing. Not even light can escape it. He’s draining our energy rings to accelerate the power of the Dyson Sphere.”
“But we can slow it down and stop it, if we could just get his ring…” She interjected, wiping away the river of tears.
“I mean yeah….but the two of us aren’t enough to stop him. How would we jump-start a dying star?” I said, attempting to dissuade her from her delusions.
“He has the Ever Ring you idiot, anything is possible. It’s this or nothing. ” She instilled tying her hair back into a ponytail.
“Shit. Well alright then let’s go.” I said, rolling up my sleeves and reminded myself I was a panzy. And started down the hallway.
The halls of Astrum were quiet except for a few Artificial Intelligence personnel malfunctioning wandering aimlessly down the halls of the starship, conjuring soft spoken dialect of a language unknown to this dimension. The ship showed no sign of human life or activity, no bravery nor courage. Hiding pathetically in their suites while we sacrifice it all. For what? A bunch of cowards who wouldn’t dare save themselves? The bitterness lingered in my thoughts awhile then vanished when I looked at her. Her with her hair tied up in a messy pony tail willing to sacrifice everything, ready to risk it all. She had lightning in her eyes and wind under her feet and suddenly I found my courage. We walked on and down the halls of Astrum with little to no conversation, until a green glow shone faintly from around the corner.
“Eerie.” She said, rounding the corner without any sign of slowing down.
The green aura was seeping out beneath the door. The door slid open as we approached it and the green light shone brighter than a thousand suns. Her hand found mine and we walked forward through the door.
“Can you see anything?” She asked me, gripping my hand tighter as we walked blindly through the room.
“Literally nothing. The light’s so bright. But I do feel something hairy, almost human like.” I mentioned as I caressed the familiar unknown. The soft hairs eventually disappeared as my hand felt the transition from an arm into a wrist, and I screamed pulling my hand away from the body and towards my face to cover my eyes from the light. One hand in hers, and one hand shielding my eyes I looked up at the body. It was suspended from the ceiling, hanging right in front of us. Motionless. A greenish glow, the colour of life, was being siphoned out of the body and up through the wires that was suspending it.
“Holy shit. He’s siphoning the life essence out of this dude.” I could see the the life leaving the strangers body as it lost it’s colour.
She gripped my hand even tighter. I turned around still holding my right hand in front of my face, fearing what I might find to be true. Eyes squinted and looking low, I saw hundreds of dangling feet. I gripped her hand even tighter.
“What is it?” She asked, unknowingly.
“There’s more than one body. We can’t save them now, they’re already gone. We have to keep going. One foot in front of the other, come on let’s keep moving. I can kind of see where we’re going. ” I responded. And we kept moving through the hanging forest of bodies. We wandered until we came upon a massive door, locked top to bottom overlapped vertically and horizontally. Gravity gum might be useful… The thought vanished as quickly as it entered. I reached into my pocket, and pulled out a miracle. But a wormhole worm would definitely kick some ass. I popped it in my mouth and chewed it for a few seconds waiting for a portal to open the dimension between dimensions that allowed this sort of travel. It appeared. A twisting mess of chaos and time, black swirls intertwined by green and white curled and tangled with each other revealing a background cluster of stars and galaxies. I looked into it with an awe-inspiring gaze and walked forward holding her hand tighter than ever. As quick as a flash of light it was over and the portal opened up on the other side of the door, and we walked through it quietly stepping ever so lightly on the floor.
“There he is…” She whispered and pointed towards him. He was facing inwards at the star he was killing, hovering in the air like a deity. Only he wasn’t glowing like a god dressed in a pristine white, he looked a God who had been exiled from heaven and banished from hell. He looked a shadow, as black as the nothingness that remained of his soul. The light rays emanating from the star were drawn towards him but they didn’t pass through him, they were engulfed by him. The only light that shed from his figure was the light of the Ever Ring.
“There it is” I said, turning towards her. She didn’t even flinch. She was fixated on the ring. Before I could stop her she dashed towards him like a gazelle, graceful in her movement. Be brave. Be brave. The thought rushed through my head as I reached into my pocket and grabbed my last wormhole worm. He was still facing the dying star and she was running right towards him. She leapt through the air trying to snatch the ring off his finger. I jumped into the wormhole. He flicked his hand at the air, and she was thrown at the wall by an wave of energy. The wormhole opened above him as he flicked his hand, pushing her aside with the Ever Ring. Falling through the air yelling “LIFE FINDS A WAY FUCKER”, inviting myself to my inevitable death I came crashing to the ground just as I grabbed the Ever Ring from his cold and black wispy finger.
He turned to me. “Clever boy.” And came at me floating like a wraith full of a burning fury.
I rolled to the side countering his charge and unleashed the full force of the Ever Ring at him. A beam of pure energy outshone the dying star and hit him dead center of his soulless heart. He absorbed the blow for a brief second then collapsed under such tremendous power and he burst into a miniature super-nova. The Ever Ring faded from an Emerald Green to a lifeless gray. Tiny little stars speckled the room and clouds of cosmic dust floated around the area in which he just exploded. I payed them no mind as I ran towards her, who was laying lifeless on the ground. Life finds a way. I reiterated to myself and pointed the Ever Ring at the little stars and sucked their light and energy into the ring and pointed it at her infusing her mind, body and soul with the stars. She erupted with life, her eyes a crackling lightning. She radiated a pure and beautiful energy glowing with the vitality of life.
“You need to re-charge the ring to stop the dying star from collapsing into a black hole. Aim the ring at the star, and fire the beam. It should revert the process.” I warned her pressing the ring to my chest.
“It’s the only way. Trust me” I said, drawing the life energy from myself as it slowly re-filled the Ever Ring. The Ever Ring grew more and more green. The greenish light flowed out of my veins and I watched it leave my body as I grew more and more tired. She held my hands with all her strength. My heavy eyes were sinking, but just before they shut I saw a tear roll off her cheek and hit the floor with a cackling spark.
Just a lil’ somethin somethin inspired by a recent book I read. The book was about our place in the stars and if we’ll ever wield technology so mind blowingly amazing that we could harness the power potential of a star. Who knows…maybe? After all our imagination is boundless and our hungry for more is in insatiable.
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