6 Billion A.D.
Synopsis: Rigel, by chance immortal, witnesses the collapse of the universe over 10,000 years.
Call to Action: Besides the basic plot above anything is fair game. We have 10,000 years to cover so there is much freedom to explore subplots. Feel free to edit, change, improve, delete, add to the story. Even a sentence or two would be helpful. If a large enough number of people contributed in this way; producing material daily, weekly, monthly, this could be a great project. Jump on board and help create an open-source novel.
Chapter 1: (...)
Tentative Synopsis: Rigel, a botanist, embarks as a passenger on a ship headed to a galactic conference only to find out that he has an incurable disease, and six months left to live.
"Rigel!" The woman's resonant voice boomed down the narrow corridor leading to the botanist's bunk on the passenger ship, and he paused midstride. The voice wasn't familiar. He winced, then turned to face her. High spots of purple, orange and neon green tinged her cheeks, and she regarded him with eyes that were disturbingly compassionate. "Are you Dr. Veteris?"
Trepidatiously, Rigel nodded, "Yes.Th- That's me. And who, exactly, are you?"
Calmly but self-assured, she responded, "Dr. Veritis, Rigel. I'm sorry, you don't know me. My name is Carmen. Dr. Carmen Whilom. I was dispatched to inform you that the test results from your physical came back." Carmen's breathy voice came as a slight shock to Rigel, whose eyes swept over her lanky body. Beads of sweat glistened on her brow. For she had sprinted to intercept him before he had entered the dormant stage in his bunk. "But why?" thought Rigel, as he inched his way two small steps closer to the hovering doctor.
"I've already got my results." Rigel shook his head. "I was cleared for this project weeks ago. You're mistaken." Rigel turned to walk away until...
I whipped it out. Boom. My tentacle. And just as suddenly, Dr. Carmen gave me the full san diego treatment, if you carmen-san-diego know what I mean. The great Dr. Carmen then squeezed her hair with both hands, which was gellin hard now, making a sound I can only describe as hair-gel-squirting, the fluid fell out of her hair and rushed onto the floor before me in a big splat, and, as the fluid hit the floor, we both looked up at each other and said, "Is this really happening again" at the same time. We both nodded our heads in unison. Then, in the wink of an eye, at the same time, we blinked back into reality, and the doctor continued, at the same time.
"No, Rigel. I'm sorry. There is no mistake." Dr. Carmen cleared her throat, and Rigel caught her subtle glance at his face. She was struggling to maintain eye contact with him. "We actually did think there was a mistake, at first. Of course we did. I mean, you're immortal, yes?" Rigel nodded. "We thought, perhaps, we had mixed up your test results with somebody else's. But we didn't, unfortunately. Mr. Veretis, there's no way to sugarcoat this. You've tested positive for the Blue."
"The Blue?" The words hit his ears and echoed tortorously in his head. The pandemic that had been sweeping his home planet somehow found its way into his centuries-old, immortal body. But how? This was the exact reason he was boarding this craft. To escape whatever attrocities this illness could inflict on an immortal like him. His mission was to find a cure. 'Bluronius virulens.' He had worked alongside sufferers tirelessly since the disease had broken out. He had only been chosen for the project because of his genetic immunity. And now this mortal doctor, this sweaty and confused woman, was telling him he had it? "That's not possible. I'm immune." He let out a small giggle. "Trust me. I'm immune." Again, he turned to walk away.
"No, Dr. Veretis. You're not. No one is. Not even immortals, though it will affect you differently, which is why I've come to see you in person. You only had one haplotype. You had a fifty-fifty chance of getting it. And I'm so sorry, but I can't let you continue. I can't let you stay aboard this ship and infect the colonists."
"But we're so close to the cure." Rigel shook his head again, as though he could dislodge her confused words from his head. "I had the extract from the cacti plant refined and ready."
Carmen coughed. Her eyes met his, and he saw the flat expression in them. "Dr. Veretis, as you already know, there's no cure for the Blue. But, I have an alternative solution that I may be able to offer you."
Rigel's eyes widened. Surely she couldn't mean...? Immortality was expressly forbidden for a man of his stature. It wasn't just highly illegal. [Confusion!! How could being immortal be illegal? You either are or not, right?] It was also dirty, shameful. It was a coward's solution to the disease.
"If you don't mind, Dr. Veretis. But may I have you lead me to your bunk? I'd like to discuss your options with you." Carmen held up a small leather briefcase. He barely glanced down at it. He already knew it contained the vials, the ones that contained the serum that could transform him into an immortal. A benign smile worked its way across Carmen's face. "Of course, the choice is yours."
The landscape glowed beneath the evening sky. Seven suns burned through the solid mauve canopy above their walk. They approached the cave's ominous mouth as if on eggshells, not the egg shells of an ostrich or one of the insectoid shells of the K'oooo'lath but much like the delicate egg shells that one would conceive of in a metaphorical sense. The two marveled at the life form: “Once in a hundred years!”
You say that every time. Those fauna are everywhere. Still interesting, marvelous, spectacular, stupendous; am I using enough adjectives. Sure, If you say so uncle. How many of these (expeditions) have we gone on? I think you’ll do anything to get out of teaching. I enjoy the break, the peaceful contemplation I find out here.
Why do I come on these (expeditions) with you anyway? Because you have nothing better to do before university. Botany is so antiquated. I want to study something exciting. “Well botany is my calling,” I couldn’t keep a straight face as I said it. If they ever give me a permanent position. I don’t ever think that is ever going to happen. You’re not very good at your job. Maybe I just have a bad assistant.
“You ready to extract Rigel?” Gine asked. “Yes carefully, lets not ruin this batch like last time. You see the pattern here, extremely rare. I looked closely at the folds, actually we’re not going to extract, just observe.”
“For how long?” Gine asked. “I honestly don’t know. However long it blooms like this. A botanist must be patient.” “If you say so. What a way to spend your birthday.” Gine grinned. It is very peaceful out here though, maybe that’s why I come do this (drudgery) with you. You’re right it is drudgery.
After a few hours of notes and minor tests, I blurted out, “Let’s extract now.” I thought you wanted to observe Rigel. No I changed my mind. I’m tired. No, I’m sick of this drudgery.
This was the beginning, before things slowed down. I was a young 64 then. I'm surprised I remember. After all, it was 10,000 years ago. The average lifespan was only 340 solar standard years. To have surpassed it would have had inconceivable reasoning for the existence of mortal life.
I arrived home later that night, there was a milky grey sky that changed into black ebony tones as the seven suns danced away and around the planetary body like seven dancers. (describe trek through countryside?). My loft was empty, uninspiring, spartan. I liked it that way. The screen to the far side of the space blinked, announcing a new message. From my father. How long had it been? Years since I last talked to him? I decided to wait until the next day to listen to his message. I just wanted to lay in bed and enjoy the silence; alone.
The galaxy was in crisis. A conference was called concerning all 1000 members of the League. The top minds of the quadrant were to convene on the planet (...).
This, more than anything, was the impetus of my tale, because if not for a chance transmission from my father I would have been left out...
I received a transmission from my father. He was a stern man who never minced words. (better description). He held the rank of general in the League. At that time the League was new and they needed someone like him. The demands of the League were incessant, urgent, and my father saw them as a challenge.
I hadn't seen him in years. “Happy birthday, son. “ his long, stalky face looked stilted. I could tell he was worried. But he nevertheless tried to show joy.
“I will be passing through your sector, and was hoping I could (scoop) you up, so that we might spend some time together.”
What...brings you through the (backwater)?” I asked.
“A matter of importance. It is also urgent. But I would also like to see my son. It’s been too long.”
My father hadn't always been so intentional about spending time with "his son". Not that I felt ignored as a child. Actually, perhaps that would have felt a bit like a break. No. My father ran me hard. It put a wedge between us for some time. But something changed in him. Something had softened his sharp edges, and I didn't know what it was.
The cruiser Maxilon was passing through the Crab Nebula on its way to the conference to which my father had been summoned. It was being held at a secret location, on one of the fringe worlds of the League.
I arrived at the lift. The ship was massive, one of the Leviathan-class interstellar cruisers. Its black perma-steel hull sparkled, bright and dark, translucent and opaque, sinister and beautiful.
[suggest changing Crab Nebula as a location - it will not exist in the far future. However, 6B years from now, there will be many other supernova remnant nebulae, so could just make up a name]
The scientists were perplexed. "How did we not see this?" Tular Renn, a brilliant astrophysicist fresh from Orion Prime Institute of Technology cried out, his eyes scanning the holographically projected image in front of him.
"We should have known about this decades ago," interjected an older female scientist.
A man at the end of the table stood up. "It seems impossible, and yet the data is quite clear! The speed of light has slowed down. This could have well started thousands of years ago!"
"That's preposterous! The speed of light is a constant." came another voice in the conference room deep within the Department of Sciences, a department of the League.
"Or so we thought," replied the Tular Renn.
The General stood up, "I am not after theories! What are we to do about it?"
"We're not sure, we project hundreds, perhaps thousands of galaxies have already been consumed. And the effect seems to be accelerating.
I interjected, without thinking, "how long do we have?"
"And you are?" the ... scientist queried.
"That's my son," the general replied. "He's a scientist of sorts."
"But why is he here?" The general raised his voice, he's here because I want him here!, and that's that"
"If you insist," the ... scientist replied.
The meeting went on for hours. I hardly grasped any of it, but it became clear that the first effects of the (rift) would be here in decades, if not years. A hundred, a thousand years? before things became completely inhospitable; no one really knew. Would the universe really be destroyed? Could it be an elaborate hoax? In all honesty, at the time, I didn't care much, when it really came down to it. I would be long dead before it happened.
... At the request of my father I went to get a long overdue physical exam. The room was littered with vials, jars, and ampules of all shapes and sizes. Surgical instruments crowded the narrow shelves. It resembled (...). “Pardon the mess. We are in the process of renovating this facility.” The doctor was an older man, with dark orange skin. Spots cluttered his large, round face. He was a Belerion I believe. “I am...” The doctor interrupted, “you must be Rigel. General Vango talks about you all the time. He’s informed me to give you every test there is. The doctor paused for a second. “Where are my manners, I’m Doctor Condel, or Co-del’-ondel-o’ris if you have the patience.”
It was strange to hear that my father talked about me. I always thought of myself as being a chore to him - an inconvenience that needed to be met every couple of years. But I knew he loved me, even if in his own way. And I did love him, in my own way. That is why I agreed to this ridiculous physical, to make him happy. That is why I agreed to take a ride on this ship, to leave home. “Dr. Condel, where do we begin and what did my father ever mention? Were you his doctor at one point?" His orange skin shimmered into another form, another color that was truly unique in only the way that fantastical things could show our eyes.
... I had been diagnosed with a rare (genetic disease). I only had six months to live, at best... Everyone avoided me, refused to make eye contact with me. There was a stigma around my disease that hurt to hear it mentioned.
… –Chapter 2 started– ...
- –Chapter 34 started–
I remember her eyes. Burnt ochre brown like rings of autumn. Saturn, maybe. The blackness of her pupil sometimes shone forgiveness, but could fiercely dance the opposite. One look at 'em and you forgot everything. Eternal. What are you looking at. She would gently smile. Nothing. (Everything.) Sorry. I watched them fade once. Last. It was the only time I cried in front of her, the only time I caved.
She knew I was all an act, I had the feeling and I'm never wrong about her and if she was here you could ask her. Am wrong about other things. Most things. I still did it though, stayed tough on the outside. She needed the solidity.
Her eyes would frustrate me, but in this moment, here, they make a bit of sense. They help me navigate the dimension that is contradicted by what stands before me. Time. This memory. I brought it here.
I still remember her eyes. Burnt ochre brown like rings. The blackness of her pupil. Eternal. Everything.
There no space nor time nor light nor energy. Here. My thought, this thought, is the remaining dimension of all is.
Space. Its all gone. You won.
Time. If there were any remaining, it would be my own wrinkles. A countdown. A timer, coded within.
Light. A void remains. I see nothing, you've won.
All I can remember now is her eyes merged as one. They make sense now. I need not stare because I know, but I still do.
Each horse tail flare of brown light emitted outwards from the pulsatile ring of _demiurge_ shocks my entire consciousness. As if my frame of sight and windows of sensual observation, had they remained, all stop and start within 15 nanoseconds. Zap. Jolt.
The blackness of her pupil fractaled with vastness like 100 semi-transparent transparent layers of black on black plaid in an infinite mirror.
I wish I could hear my heartbeat. Not because it means life, but because - ah. Never mind. This is perfect.
Zap. Jolt. Another flare.
The ring is expanding. Not bigger nor wider, but more everything. Everywhere, now. Encapsulating.
I remember her eyes. The memory helps me navigate this vastness around me. They make sense now.
I remember her eyes. Burnt ochre brown like rings of autumn. Saturn maybe. What are you looking at?
Her eyes would frustrate me, but in this moment, here, they make sense.
Thought. The remaining dimension of all is.
I remember her eyes.
[would be a solid ending, if it can connect to the love story]
|6 Billion A.D.: Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Leaving Love | Chapter 4 | Hero of the League | The Order Attacks | The League Fights Back | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10|