by James Kitson

©2011 All rights reserved.


I was sitting on the edge of the abyss, on the edge of one of the mammoth monsters that had consumed the universe. Darkness had consumed everything so long ago that I couldn’t even remember a time when the outside world was ever more than an endless black void. Even now the only light I could see was the dim controls of my ship as they guided me into place.

It was over, for the universe anyway. Life was resilient, even after the stars had gone black and planets had been destroyed life thrived, stealing power from the monsters that had consumed everything around them. Sentience did not surrender to the universe easily, but entropy could not be fought. The massive ships that rode the magnetic tides of the black holes slowly suffered the fate of all machines, over millennia of use, even the best designs and best repairs failed. More were built, but each time they would fall again, and each time fewer would be built to replace them.

I could never be certain, but I might be in the very last power ship, on its last mission. I had not seen another ship in over a year, and the last outpost I knew had recently collapsed. The universe was dying, and I slowly reached over to touch the one bright button in my cockpit. It was time to end it all.

Or begin it again. The trio of scientists that I had rescued only a week ago had been excited about it. I could not remember seeing such excitement in nearly my entire life. The bleak and dimming universe laid its claim to our minds long ago. We were all fighting inevitable. Our stubbornness was keeping us alive, and little else. Hope was almost gone. Every visit of a power ship brought news of another lost outpost or colony, dying from lack of power or system failure. Hope was a forgotten thing, something we didn’t even dare dream about.

These scientists were different. They tried to explain their theories, about the fabric of the universe and the structure of black holes, but it was too much for me. I was well educated; a necessity for a power ship driver, but the level of physics they were discussing was more than I could hope to comprehend. In the end, they resolved it to a simple point, they wanted to break down the very fabric of the universe and release all the energy stored in the black holes back into the universe. They explained that it would be much like the beginning of the universe, perhaps even a recreation.

They set about adjusting my ship to make their plans possible. I did not object. Even though their plans seemed far-fetched I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. I could survive off of the power stored in my ship and the food processors for the rest of my life, but I would be alone, or stuck with these three scientists and neither prospect seemed better than the strange idea they had planned.

Surprisingly, it did not take them long to make their adjustments. They had planned for this for a long time, with a power ship as their basis of their new device. With a full load of power and the push of a button I would certainly be ending my life, and possibly end the universe as well.

So now I sit. The ship is in place, the scientists waiting on the observation deck. No one knows exactly what will be seen when I press the button, but they are eager to see what they can in the moments before the ship is torn apart by the reaction we will begin.

It’s a strange feeling I have as I stroke the button. For my entire life there was never anything to look forward to. We were always consumed by the knowledge that soon everything would end and that nothing more would follow us except the growth of darkness as the void absorbed everything. In this moment all that was lost. With a simple push I would be ending all that I knew, but it would be a beginning of something new. An entirely new future was standing before the universe, no longer fated to be nothing more than a dark void. Future sentients might laugh and cry, hope and dream with a nearly endless future. The universe would be bright and beautiful again. Stars would shine and planets would shelter. It was hard to express the power this had over me, this first ray of hope I had felt in my entire life.

I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks as my fingers sank into the button, pressing it down. I would never know if it truly worked, but there was hope and that was all I could ever have wanted. I never imagined how much I had wanted it.

The button was pressed now, and I lifted my tear stained face to look out into the void. I saw nothing, but I waited. I could feel the ship beginning to stress from the strange events happening deep inside. It would not be long now. I could hear the groaning as the superstructure of the ship started to give way. In moments the hull would be breached, and still I looked. The lights of my controls flashed off, plunging me into darkness as I felt the crack of the hull as the ship opened to the void.

I still looked.

The air began to wisp around me.

I still looked.

I saw light.