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A Starlit Journey For Two

by EJ Baumgardner 2 months ago in Sci Fi
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A Space Beyond Spaces

A Starlit Journey For Two
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. Mozzy heard it from two rooms away. Technically, he and his wife weren’t in space. They were in an interdimensional pocket that was linked to the physical form of a magical suit of armor traveling through space toward the nearest star. But his wife had screamed loud enough that they might have heard it back on the surface of the planet they had left behind.

Leliana, Lele as he called her, was scouring the library for an extremely rare text she had collected at some point in her earlier life. She would find it in about thirty minutes or so when she gave up and went back to her workspace to find it there all along, but she would be in a mood until then. He shrank into his chair, doing his best to avoid catching her attention. He couldn’t see her coming through there in the immediate future, but she was spontaneous.

That was one of the nice things about her. His ability to see into the future made it easy to know what would happen next at any given moment. Lele often did things on the spur of the moment, and it kept him on his toes. He might have seconds of notice that something drastic was about to happen, as opposed to the usual half-hour he enjoyed. One time, she had stepped out of the suit of armor spacecraft and into the vacuum. She’d been tinkering in her workspace at the time, and then suddenly realized she had created a protective suit that could withstand the void and tested it out without consulting him.

Not that she needed to consult him on her projects, but he certainly did appreciate it when she let him know before she risked her life. He didn’t like using his time-manipulating powers. It tended to draw the wrong sort of attention.

Now, she was in the middle of attempting time travel. Once he had shown her his chronological control, she had been hell bent on discovering a method to do it herself. She’d never had the free time to work on it before, staying on Aerna. She had done plentiful research during the hours of darkness when most others were resting, but she hadn’t pursued it seriously until recently.

When she was done with the planet, she had decided to set out for the nearest star, asking him if he wanted to go along with her. That had caught him entirely off-guard. Sure, they had talked about going to space someday… He had figured it would have been centuries before they left. It was less than three years since she had first brought it up. They hardly gave anyone any notice they were leaving, and Lele hadn’t been the one to say goodbye. Either, it had never occurred to her to do so, or she simply did not care. Perhaps, it was a little of both.

It had been, roughly speaking, several months of accelerated travel since they had left. The other spaceships he’d been on hadn’t traveled at a constant burn, they used a form of slipspace or warp technology. Even at the incredible speed they were traveling, attempting to traverse interstellar space was an endeavor that would take decades at the least. If only there was a faster way to move a ship to a new location. He thought to himself. The problem was that no one on Aerna was even close to creating something like that. Teleportation individuals or small groups served enough purpose that no one was researching mass transportation.

It wouldn’t have been a problem for-- … Mozzy cut the thought off and shied away from it entirely. That life was behind him, forever. Good thing, too. What kind of masochist would even want to go back to a mother who had ordered her own child’s death?

No. He was better off, now. He had met the most incredible person and wouldn’t need to hide from anyone again. His wife was a genius. She had built the entire mansion herself. How and why, she had put it in a suit of armor was beyond him, as it seemed much more reasonable to have an innocuous door leading to a place like this. Or even a spacecraft. It made less sense to link it to the armor. Whatever, it wasn’t his decision.

Lele’s power armor was a spacecraft. It was being worthy of spaceflight and prepared for such an endeavor. It could be piloted from within the armor itself, with the body inside, or from the magical manor that was linked to the armor. The Manor was nice, if a little empty. He and Lele only spent time together at dinner and in bed. Then again, they had the next 100 years ahead of them in this timeless place; he’d better get used to it.

Another scream rang out from the library, and Mozzy turned his attention back to the book he had been reading. It would sort itself out, soon enough. He could just ride this one out.

By Iñaki del Olmo on Unsplash

***Lele***

Defeated, she went back to her lab. Wasting two hours searching for the book had put a serious dent in her schedule. Keeping busy helped keep her sane. Mozzy said there were still one-hundred more years to go at their current rate of acceleration, but that made no sense. She had calculated the trajectory multiple times. They should reach the nearest star system in just over twenty-years. Stars couldn’t be that far apart, could they?

Lele sighed and hung her head. She closed her eyes and cleared her mind. She needed to focus. She was on the cusp of understanding time travel.

Where, once, she had thought that the sands of time could be navigated with some sort of craft, like a submersible vehicle in water, she now understood that the sand was falling. It was not an endless plane of shifting sand; it was an infinite amount of granular energy pouring down as though affected by a gravity well. It suggested that there was a bottom, and a top. Time had a beginning and end.

She’d just been reading a book concerning time energy. She’d been reading it the night before and couldn’t remember where she had set it down. There was a passage that hadn’t made any sense earlier, but she’d had some time to ponder on it. If only she could find it again.

This new suit she had been developing had been originally intended to protect her from the sands of time. It also served as an Extra Vehicular Activities Suit, as Mozzy had called it. Well, he’d called it an EVA suit, and needed to explain what that meant. And, as she had pointed out to him, her armor was not a vehicle. He failed to see her point.

His point, however, stood. He insisted that the name made a solid sort of sense. She hummed to herself and began to work on the helmet again.

Small tweaks and refinements. That’s what invention really came to, once the hard work of developing something was finished. It wasn’t enough to make something new, it needed to be perfected. And that wasn’t easy work. If just one thing went wrong, she could be destroyed entirely. And neither of them was interested in testing whether Mozzy could reverse a death caused by time.

She reached for a ratcheting wrench and found it missing.

“If I had a bullet for everything that I’ve ever misplaced… well, I’d need a bigger armory” she grumbled to herself, laughing softly at her own wit as she searched for the tool.

It wasn’t on the shelf underneath the worktable. It wasn’t in the drawers. It wasn’t hanging on the wall where she should have put it in the first place, either.

Her long ears pinned against her head in frustration, and she wiped her brow with a hand towel. Where could it have gone? She shrugged and turned around to poke her head out of the workspace. She saw it on the way out.

The ratchet wrench was right there, sitting atop a book that had been placed on the shelf. The book was the same one she had been reading last night. And she had set the wrench down in the same spot at some point.

She lost things so often, it was incredible she managed to invent anything.

Lele opened the book to the bookmark and played with the hanging tassel as she skimmed the page.

There it was.

Time Energy is a pure form of energy. It is a manifestation of potential energy, losing potency as each “grain” travels along its trajectory. There are many theories as to the nature of the grains of sand. Some say that each grain is a life. Others postulate that each grain is a significant moment of history. It is this humble researcher’s opinion that the grains are, simply, particles of reality that travel in a loop. As each grain comes into existence, it arrives with a dark twin that is not seen by mortal eyes. When viewed magically, this negative energy, and sometimes a neutral energy perfectly centered between positive and negative, are readily visible. It is as though they are physically linked to one another, amounting to a perfect balance that equals a zero-sum. The levels of energy are oppositional to one another at any given point in the trajectory.

These particles dissipate in energy at a steady rate. When they fade entirely, they immediately appear back at the top of their individual loop and begin falling again.

Indeed, they reappear regularly, each of them is forever bound to their exact length. If this concept could be properly pursued to its natural conclusion, then we might venture into the very depths of time itself.

That was the part she had been looking for. Mozzy had said something like that once. He could see the threads of time and pull on them; according to how he described it. But it sounded something like what the book had described…

Maybe she had only thought it sounded that way. The imagery of grains of sand falling in lines seemed more familiar than anything mentioning threads. It had made sense, in her mind.

Regardless, she had finally found the book. It had been more trouble in getting that one text than she’d had running her crew for her 50 years as captain. It was banned from Aerna. The entire world had decided the book must be destroyed. Luckily, nothing that valuable is ever destroyed.

She’d been forced to procure it from a collector of rare books, who had signed a magical contract never to read it or allow anyone to read it while it remained part of his collection. The contract mentioned nothing about it being taken by force. She had filled four of the floor-to-ceiling shelves in her library with his collection alone. A little part of her missed those days as a ruthless pirate captain. It had been a fulfilling life, full of challenges. But Mozzy didn’t appreciate the bloodlust.

She liked him enough to try to be a better person. He had some strong points about murder being bad. It wasn’t worth arguing over it, unless there were exceptional circumstances.

Something clicked in her head, and she picked up the capacitor for the energetic engine she’d been developing. She’d been going about this all wrong! She had tried to carry a neutral energy with her to travel through time, hoping she could travel without being dragged down by time. She’d succeeded only in traveling along a single plane in time, traveling neither forward nor backward.

The suit could enter the realm of time. She could open a portal to it, easily enough. But maneuvering the sands without dying was a miracle all its own. Navigating the sands was proving impossible. Unless, of course, she needed to adjust her energy profile to match that of the negative time energy that traveled upstream!

There! That should do it.

She set her hands on her hips and admired her work. She enjoyed having those small breakthroughs. They built up when you weren’t looking, and you’d change the world before you knew it.

Leliana climbed into the timesuit and activated the power source. It thrummed and hummed, tingling her skin. She reached for the dial on her wrist and set it to open the portal.

The portal opened before her, a negative imprint of what she had expected to see. It seemed to be working perfectly. A flash of light appeared as she entered the portal, and she thought she saw someone coming through it. It was too late to stop now and go back, however.

Her stride carried her through the portal, entering a black and blue world filled with grains falling into the sky. The flow pulled and pushed at her, and she struggled to get out of it. Seconds in, and she was already higher up than where she had come in from. She wanted to leave before she went too far. She opened the portal again and slipped through it.

She found herself standing in the garage. This was where she stored her prototypes. What was she doing down here? It had been weeks, or whatever passed for them out here, since she’d come down to the garage. Whatever. Lele made her way back to the workshop.

She stepped on something small, hard, long, and round. She lifted her foot and found the ratchet wrench she had been looking for earlier. What was it doing out here in the garage? It didn’t matter. She picked it up and took it with her back toward the workspace.

Around the corner, she saw a book sitting on a chair in the hallway. Was she that forgetful? Why did Mozzy even put up with her?

She reached into the workshop and set the items down on the shelf just inside. She’d find them later.

Well, this had been a productive test run. She’d need to experiment further, but it seemed to be an unqualified success. It was time to go back.

She switched the energy profile to a positive flow and opened the portal again.

That was more like it. The normal golden glow of sand falling against an endless white background. The sands of time were flowing down, as they should. She let it carry her back down to as close as she could get to point when she had left and opened the portal again.

She entered the workspace at nearly the same location as where she’d left from and caught a glimpse of herself setting off through the time portal. That was convenient timing. Maybe Mozzy hadn’t even noticed. She liked surprising him, on the rare occasion she could.

She climbed out of the suit and hung it up back on the rack. Ugh, she stank. The suit was so skintight, and an unbreathing material, she had been sweltering inside it. Lele made her way to the spa and took a luxurious shower. She had earned this.

When she left, she wandered the house to find her husband. She wanted to share the good news with him. She found him. She did not, however, find him alone.

There appeared to be a small child, hovering in the air, who was talking with Mozzy. He looked perplexed, and a little worried. That was the way he looked whenever she asked to borrow and study a piece of the technology he had brought from another dimension. He was judging a possible threat.

“Hello! I’ve been waiting to meet you” the being said with a wave to her.

“Who are you?” Lele asked, wishing she had her wand. The floating child giggled.

“I am Hyperdimensionality. The god of space travel. I have been alone for so long. It’s good to have company again” the child replied cryptically. That didn’t make much sense… what was going on?

“Again? Have other people found you before?” she asked. The god dismissed the question.

“What’s important that I’ve found you, now. And I can get you to where we are going” they offered with a wink. Lele felt her gut tighten. This being could not be trusted.

“What’s the catch?” she asked warily. The child giggled at her.

“I want you to design engines capable of traveling hyperspace and share those designs with the galaxy”

***

By Egor on Unsplash

Lele’s spaceship suit of armor touched down lightly on the grass in the courtyard of the University of Darrendor. Lele and Mozzy appeared from nowhere, her pulling him along by the hand. She had something important to share with everyone. The armor followed behind them like a loyal bodyguard.

No one expected it when she burst through the doors. They were scheduled to be gone for several hundred years. It had only been five years since they had left. Familiar faces turned eagerly toward them.

“Who wants to see something from another planet?” Lele asked, raising the eyebrows of everyone in earshot. She had their attention now. They weren’t ready for this. She pulled out her handheld device, and keyed in a command.

Sci Fi

About the author

EJ Baumgardner

A writer through and through, I just want to perfect my craft and build a community. This place would not exist without both, you and me.

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Comments (3)

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  • Robin Milakineabout a month ago

    What a great imagination! Loves Lele and Mozzi

  • Tonietta graves about a month ago

    Very fun read! Original idea

  • Jori T. Sheppardabout a month ago

    Fantastic idea. Great premise. Very creative and enjoyable. Keep up the good work

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