Return to the Black Hole
Captain Silver decided after the shakeup that the ship had been given to pull into the nearest shielded resting point which would hide their emissions. Henry had found them a newly formed black hole with lots of shielding emissions and it was only after they were in orbit around it that Silver realized it was a very familiar black hole. And why shouldn’t it be as they were following the old course to Treasure Planet. Sighing he called Mister Arrow to the bridge to apologize for bringing him back here where his brother had died.
Mister Arrow waved off his apologies. “Billy knew what he was getting into and we all know there is a final voyage, Captain. Don’t worry about it. But if you don’t mind I’ll just stand here awhile before I get back to my duties.” He put his hands behind his back and stared off at the flickering black hole.
Silver used his telescopic vision to observe the swirling black hole in front of them. Even if the supernova that had formed it was long gone, the space surrounding its greedy offspring was still filled with radiation blasted from the newly formed hole. The spinning hole flashed repeatedly as it sent out Hawking radiation bursts. Johnny Arrow stood beside him with a pair of binoculars to his eyes and watched as swirling streamers of gas were swallowed by the black hole.
“I thought ye’d like to see this in private, Mister Arrow.” Silver said. “But if a man has to have a tombstone, then I can think of none finer for your brother.”
“Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. But Billy is not gone.” Mister Arrow replied. At Silver’s raised eyebrow he continued. “Space and time get very strange around a black hole, sir, and them that approach its event horizon get frozen in their fall so that they never seem to reach it. Of course, sir, to us on the outside they are instantly destroyed, but to them that’s falling in it takes eternity.” He wiped his eye. “So if it’s all the same to you, sir, I’d prefer to think of my brother Billy as still amongst the living.”
Silver nodded. He’d heard stranger in all his years. He called up to the helmsman. “All departments have reported in. Have ye got our proper bearings, Mister Orfeo? I’ve no desire to tarry here.” As if in answer the black hole flashed twice.
“Course confirmed and laid in, Captain.” Orfeo replied as he finished punching the buttons. “Ready on your command.” At Silver’s nod he depressed the throttle.
A moment later the launch tubes fired and the ship sped away from the black hole. A little further on and coruscating waves of light surrounded it as it dove into warp space. The warp BOOM shook the surface of the black hole which itself was warping space and the Hawking radiation flared even brighter.
Deep inside the black hole a thought escaped since it had neither mass nor space. “Johnny?”
Then all was as it had been and the black hole rolled on swallowing matter and bending reality into its maw.