The Goat (Part 87)

Ho hum. I’m almost finished with my stupid short story, but the further I go the more I seem to struggle. Also, I still have fluff in my eye.

I guess I’ll just post what I have, and try to get the damn thing wrapped up next week…

(Oh, and I forgot to put in a scene break last time…)

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A field of light; plumes of cloud iridescent with colour; abstract formations of orange and purple and brilliant blue, laid monumental on a boundless canvas…

I gaped at the sight of it: a living artwork that spanned the heavens; a thing of such scale, such aching beauty that it struck me almost senseless, my eyes glazing as the patterns inflated—

A brightness at the centre; space growing dense as pinprick lights resolved into objects: blazing bodies of white and blue, and titans of red…

I tried to look but it dazzled my vision: a jewelled sphere of incandescent gas crowded with the brilliance of countless beacons; a bubbling soup of turbulent fusion; millions of stars birthed and burning to rapid destruction; explosions of colour churning the cosmos… But then I was tumbling, caught in the well and plunging ever deeper—the matter hurtling past me as I fell into the core—

The mouth of the abyss: a seething vortex stripped of stars, flaming red and colossal in its power; a cyclone of superheated gas sucking inwards, drawn into the void—

I could see it but I couldn’t: the shape of its distortion; the light bulging as it lensed around the blackness; the jets of plasma venting out of nothing—a hole in space; a chasm in reality…

And as I watched, I saw a giant snared: a molecular cloud swept into the whirlpool, flayed apart by tidal shear… yet some of it surviving in eccentric orbit, the broken fragments compressing into stars—

Complex structures forming in the chaos; stars combining in runaway collision; a mass becoming critical, going supernova: its shell detonating in a blast of heavy elements, the core collapsing to a point singularity… a body trapped in descent to the abyss, radiation flaring as it ripped through the vortex—

I saw the impact: a trifling object, tens of solar masses, a mote in the eye of the beast that consumed it—yet both with their own unstoppable attraction, the force of gravity tearing at creation—

A joining, a crossing of event horizons; matter deforming, crushing together at relativistic speed; a galaxy lit by the strength of its violence—

I felt the upheaval pounding through my body: ripples in the tortured fabric of space-time; reality stretching between the singularities—

Time freezing as the universe snapped: a rift in the vacuum, tiny and unstable, starting to decay even as it opened… Yet just for an instant standing as a gateway: a conduit to another place, another kind of space; a channel spewing energies unknown in this dimension…

And in that moment, that chance arrangement of exotic matter seized in a crucible of fundamental forces, flooded with strange and unnatural power—

A spark of life.

A shining nexus of self-organising matter, transmuting at random from energy to mass… then blowing apart in sudden fractal explosion: its seeds scattered in the vacuum field, their forms condensing like crystals in the plasma…

I watched them grow: storm clouds of energy splitting from the tempest, sweeping wide orbits as each took fuel enough to birth a sun. I watched them blaze with the brightness of quasars as they spiced magnetic fields into the central singularity, tapping its measureless rotational power to drive a metamorphosis beyond imagination…

And then it was done. The cocoons of dust fell away, and I saw them.

Their beauty broke my heart.

Blinded by their radiance I tried in vain to follow as they leaped amid the vortex: these flawless beings, the essence of creation… barely sentient yet pulsing with life, their minds knowing nothing but the joy of existence.

Like dolphins playing they sped in exploration—keeping to their home, the place that spawned them, but circling out into the fledgeling cosmos: warming themselves in coronal fire, chasing each other in coltish elation as they rode the wave-fronts of exploding stars…

I saw the passing of a billion years: the creatures ageless, yet maturing in spirit, growing mellow as they found life’s comfort… the pleasure of sleeping in the heart of a star, absorbing the luscious heat of its power… the intimate sharing of each other’s minds as they melded the incorporeal regions of their bodies… the wonder of gathering to view the singularity, to look into the void and ask:

WHAT PLACE IS THIS?

WHAT ARE WE?

…but needing no answers; delighting in the mystery.

Time itself grew old and still the creatures endured: different stars, changing patterns in the sky, but their lives eternal… uninterrupted for ten billion years…

And then I saw it: a light in the distance; a group of lights; the creatures stirring, sensing the presence of something new—an energy almost like their own inner spark; a fluctuation in the quantum field…

Other minds.

Another kind of life…

A fleet of worlds on its final journey, entering a harsh and uninhabitable space…

A type III civilisation disillusioned with power, cursed by the only known threat to its existence: a crisis of conscience; its enlightened population, so bored, so unchallenged, turning inside itself and choking with remorse—tormented by the species, the planets and systems it had ravaged on the path to immortality. A people grown obsessed with the grace of creation, the sanctity of nature, deciding at length that they had done enough damage and should seek containment: a place of isolation; a hermitage far beyond the reach of reality…

I saw them in formation approaching through the stars, rushing headlong towards galactic centre: twelve perfect orbs; entire planets enclosed in strange metal, black yet gleaming with veins of fire—

Worlds travelling at half the speed of light, slowing as they closed upon the core accretion disk: their engines projecting buffers of neutronium to counteract with gravity the crushing deceleration. A hush descending as six hundred billion eyes stared out of viewports at the devastating spectacle: the supermassive black hole into which they planned to fall, to pass through the horizon—escaping the universe to live in seclusion in an orbit of the third kind around the singularity—

And as they paused at the edge of the vortex, I felt the gentle excitement around me: creatures emerging from a thousand stars, trying to identify this new thing in their home… touching the spheres with electrostatic feelers, discerning the pulse of a different type of consciousness… and wanting to embrace it—

A sudden impact; a technician glancing from its live probe feed, staring in awe at a bank of warning lights; commanders gawking at video screens as something breached impregnable defences; a whole population shouting in confusion as their sky disappeared, the shielding above them flaking off into space; subordinates wilting at screamed accusations, and running in frenzy to gather technicians, to reactivate decommissioned war machines; a godlike race reverting to instinct as it faced the threat of danger, unknown for generations—

I saw the dreadful release of power: worlds erupting with deflection shields of plasma; arrays of beam weapons glancing off creatures, shedding the coronas of distant stars; creatures struck by teraton warheads, the antimatter blasts fading everything to white…

And I heard the cries of pleasure:

OH BROTHERS! IT IS FRIEND!

IT WANTS TO PLAY WITH US!

© 2015 - J. D. G. Leaver

To be continued…