The vessel blasted through the vacuous ether as though there was a purpose to its off course shuttle of twelve passengers and one pilot, if you didn't count the life-like robot copiloting with the officer in charge making it fourteen. But even it was knocked out cold. The power of the wave had been too much for even its advanced neural electronics.
Only the speed and shape of their craft saved them all, piercing the wall of energy as quickly as it had, passing through the space storm as if the ship were a shaft piercing water, not unlike a deity-thrown javelin.
They had seen the space storm, a wave, approaching across the sky of deep space like a rough oceanic wave flowing with curling structure and power through the vast empty region beyond their jump planet, Arrona, its origin unknown, the nature of its makeup unknown, benign or dangerous, all unknown. All they did know it was coming at them hard and fast and the co pilot angled themselves directly into it at the last moment as the human's began to flutter and pass out, much like a surfer would point his board into the soup of a broken wave. They had no idea that distant world Arrona, they had just left behind, had now been turned into nebulanic dust, they having been knocked out cold by the plasmic power of the wave's electrically charged force. Even the moon's were gone, mixed together now with the rest of the hot, glowing, sporadically charged and explosive gases, and powdered remains of those distant worlds and the three orbiting satellites, nor were any of them found in solid mass anymore, if they were able open their eyes. But they didn't. They couldn't.
And space shuttered even though no one was conscious to notice. It wasn't audible, but if they had been awake, the passengers of the space craft would have felt it moving things inside their guts, trembling their ship with continuous vibrations, coring their bodily cells into something quite different on the cellular level. Even the robot was changed in several ways. It had been catastrophic, this sudden strange occurrence, and more than beyond reasoning, but those within the safety of that man made shell of titanium, copper, brass, aluminum, iron, and various ceramics would not and could not recall the death of that stricken world in the emptiness of their past flight. And though the wave had allowed them to live through its power, not without the quick and heavy effects of prolonged unconsciousness, they were not the same people and would never be again, forever.
The space craft, itself, did not escape the effects, completely, either. The further it pierced into the body of that energy wave, the less solid it became. The micro particles that made up it's atomic matter and the passengers themselves where leached away at, as if by water, and within several long draining moments, and then minutes, the ship had disappeared out of existence from any sort of universal view, in this realm, as it passed on and was reformed and refined, compiled into another dimension, into another thing, reforming with complete integrity within the bounds of a new universe with its own unique brand of physics and life conditions.
The robot was the first to awaken. She had known something major was going to occur just before the wave hit them. It was too powerful not to affect them somehow, but that they had survived at all was surprising to her. That phenomena they had passed through was simply too powerful not to have done something dramatic. But she was alright, she thought, and the ship seemed fine, too, on first investigation. Except it was flying erratically and very fast, still in acceleration mode, and Iantha quickly cut power to the engine.
She did notice her captain and the others carbon life persons had passed out and instantly checked his neck's carotid artery. It was strong and regular then quickly, she ran a ship's scan of the passengers. Everyone seemed to be in good health and one by one they all began to awaken, asking and demanding what had happened.
Through it all Iantha busied herself with an array of investigative pursuits. The wave being the chief inquiry with all available readouts being reviewed, and almost as seriously, trying to discover where the heck they were. None of the stars or their visible formations were in the computers. They were literally someplace unknown. Lost, perhaps. But there was something beyond these bits of knowledge, too...
"What is it?" asked Captain George.
"I'm not sure, sir. It just doesn't feel right? Can you sense it? The uneasiness of the space, here?"
"I'm not sure I understand what you're asking, Iantha."
"The light from the stars is, I don't know how to express it, but they're different, in some way," and as she spoke she reached across her panel of electronic controls, bringing up a chart. "You see the array of the light from those visible stars, the peaks and drops are not normal." She could see he didn't quite get the significance and overlaid a record of the last star system visuals, in scientific charting, and then he understood. None of the colors were issuing anywhere near a normal pattern, as they should be, nor were their intensities of a normal consistency or laid out the same. The entire spectrum looked like someone had dropped all the colors and put them back together all mixed up.
"What does that mean?"
"I'm not sure, sir, but if I may venture a guess, and this is merely supposition, you understand, I'm thinking we are not in our universe any longer. That wave we passed through either altered our universe, which is unlikely as it wasn't as big as the known universe, or transferred us into another one. Parallel universes have been a theory for many years but until this moment, no one has ever been able to finitely prove it. It does seem to be a reasonable supposition, though, and if the light is this different, here, the physics we know and learned of, don't apply here, necessarily, if this chart means anything."
"In what ways?"
"It's uncertain. But I think we're going to have discover things as we go along. We are going to have to proceed with extreme caution, sir. Landing might be a bit more tricky."
"Landing, huh? That's going to be different, too?"
"It could be. I don't know. In our universe, light is consistent in how it registers and is recorded, as far as our telescopes can reach. It always looks the same, scans the same, acts in the same manner. If it, as an energy, is different, I have to venture to think, a lot of other things about this space, this environment, is different, too."
"Why are you talking to her?" demanded a passenger in the near row. He was a heavy set, big mouthed man that had been a pain before leaving the space port. Wanting this, griping about that, and unable to adapt to anything different he had been used to on other transports. "She's just a robot. What the hell does she know about anything?"
"She may be the reason you're still alive so just sit tight and shut the hell up while we try to figure out what's going on around here, alright?"
"You can't talk to me like that, you little pipsqueak. I'll have your job for this infraction..." the man went on and the pilot opened the unmarked panel and hit number two button. A hypo needle penetrated the passenger's lower spine tissues, injected a harmless serum, and retracted instantly. The man fell silent almost as quickly, his head now bobbing on his chest like a balloon.
"Make a scan of the local groups, if our instruments are up to it. Find me an 'E' type planet, Iantha We'll orbit it in case we need to land. From there we can get our bearings and find out what really happened, or, set up an emergency base. We've got to have a failsafe. This ship can't stay up indefinitely."
Iantha found an 'E' planet two solar systems away and five light years from their present position. It was an unknown phenomenon since the earliest explorations that most, over seventy-three percent of the known solar system's harbored at least one earth-like planet with breathable air and life sustaining properties. Nobody understood why it was so, it just was...
"We've got plenty of fuel, so lets get our course laid in and hit it," the captain said.
Iantha was quicker than their ship based computer and had the course dialed in as the captain finished his sentence, anticipating his thoughts, and putting the fasten restraint light on.
With an all green on the restraint indicator, she began her countdown: "Ignition in four, three, two, one, and ignition," she said, aloud for the passengers sake, the automatics taking over. The ship jumped ahead, the stars leaping into new configurations as it arced into a new line of travel, with one star in particular growing larger.
"Orbiting zero, zero, one, sir, our new star-hub."
"Good job, Iantha. Now, lets try and figure out where the heck we are."
Seven sweat-filled hours passed, in orbit, without any new knowledge of their location, as compared to their old universe. They knew where they were, in this particular cluster of this unknown galaxy, but nothing, as far as their ongoing charts could discern could tell them where their old one, or its position, was. It was gone and the knowledge of how to get back to it, with it. They and the ship were lost and somewhere else. The two pilots looked at one another.
"Go ahead," Captain George said, "tell them. They have a right to know." Their conclusions were undeniable, now.
Iantha looked into the captain's eyes and knew it was the wise thing to do. The other passengers, even the loud mouth, had been quiet and patient with them since they had gotten into orbit. He, especially was well motivated to behave.
.... There is more of this story ...
Science Fiction /