It wasn’t my first time planet-hopping, but it was my first time in a world engulfed completely in water. A friend of mine had teleported to it a few months back and never told anyone about it. Not even the government knew of its existence. He said it was the most fun he had ever had… I believed him. So we went back.
It was an overwhelming experience, since our arrival all we could see was open water. Open water in every direction, calm, still… but it’s different from Earth. On Earth you know that somewhere out there beyond the place where the sun rises and sets, there is land waiting for you, the familiar smell of dirt. But there, in that forsaken world, land was an inexistant commodity.
“I love you.”
Andie looked away through the observatory window in the ship. Out there the stars shined bright, they shined despite his impending doom. How could they? He looked at the star they were approaching, a blue supergiant. He didn’t know how much the ship would last absorbing the radiation, before it melted or exploded, before his body and Katri’s became dust, but it wasn’t long. They were prisioners to its gravity now, falling inevitably to its core, destined to become one with it, destined to die.
Andie looked back to Katri. Her hands clutched his as they both waited for the end. It felt strange to him, the notion of death, the knowledge that they would soon cease to exist, that they would be devoured by a star… in silence. Nothing made noise out there, not the ship, not their speed, not the burning star nor their hearts. They sat in silence together, waiting.
“So, what’s it gonna be?”
Eric’s mind raced with the possibilities he had contemplated, if he was sent back to study the past he would most likely die of disease, or he’d die of a horrible infection when he stubbed his toe on a huge wooden table. He wouldn’t be able to trust anyone, he’d have to work manual labor, he’d have to get used to rarely taking showers and picking dirt layers from his skin.
“Send me to the future.”
“Alright, he’s made up his mind. You’ll be sent back here within a months time, we expect a detailed report.”
On the other side of the room a synthetic voice began to count down from 10. His heart began to beat faster as the excitement and fear escalated in his mind. Flying cars? A colonized moon? Cyborg-like implants? There was no telling what the future held in store and he was eager to find out.
“Just go already!”, he yelled in a moment of anxiousness. If he played his cards right he might end up escaping the present and finding a way to never get back, a way to live in the future and not worry about sickness or maybe even aging ever again. He’d live forever with the rest of humankind and together they would populate the stars.
Tim sat in his living room in silence, listening to phone ring in his hand. Why did people feel compelled to stop him? Was the decision not his? Had he no right to want something that much? Did he somehow break a moral rule he was unaware of?
The phone stopped ringing.
It was his last day in his house. He would be leaving soon for orbit, for good, until the end. Oh, how he desired to see the white shining city again. He had seen it once before, in a dream. Thirty years and still his mind could not make it fit, it could not understand it, the beauty of it.
He remembered what he saw clearly. He was being lifted into the sky by an unknown force at unimaginable speeds. He saw myriad stars and nebulas fly past him, he saw galaxies as one would see vehicles in the road as he passed them. He felt time stretch itself and he saw space bend around him, and beyond him a white light glowed intensely. It was something he had never experienced, brighter than diving into the sun itself and yet not hurting his eyes. He could see buildings rise from within it. Huge buildings. Buildings the size of planets and roads the size of asteroid belts. The city itself seemed larger than the milky way. Unfathomable, a cool breeze wrapped around him and he felt what he had rarely felt in his life… peace. It was not like sleeping, it was not like getting a massage, it was not like sitting outside his farm during the late hours of the day listening to the mild sounds of the night and watching the dim light of the stars illuminate the sleeping animals. No, it was a peace that made all his problems fade away into darkness, it was happiness. He knew where it was and he had to reach it again. He had to… through time, through space, through the lives of all living things in the universe. To the end of times.
“Do you hear that?”
“Listen. Close your eyes and listen, pay attention to the silence… Do you hear it?”
Fara closed her eyes as instructed and took a deep breath. She listened to the silence of the night, and she realized the silence was not absolute, it contained sounds. First she heard the most obvious ones, a person walking outside her home, the fluttering of a bird’s wings sitting outside on the tree beside her window, the faint chirping of small insects on her yard. But there was something else within the silence, something close to silence, but no quite complete. The sound of something like a violin too far away to be recorded, the sound of a soft melody that resembled the passage of wind through the cracks in her home.
Jacob watched the news half-asleep on his anti-gravity couch with a beer between his legs. His mind raced with the thoughts of his unfinished report at his job, of his wife’s trip to New Angeles, of his dog’s recent demise and every other unimportant event in his life. His preferred method of falling asleep was to watch the news until he was forcibly bored into sleep. His eyelids began to come down over his blodshot eyes…
“…standing here in what used to be a playground between Whitmore and Gallway on the urban neighborhood of ‘Three Rivers’. The property was recently acquired by ‘Glenn & Manny’, a real estate company that planned to build an attractive apartment complex in this area…”
Jacob’s mind came back from unconsciousness as he heard the woman talking about his childhood neighborhood.