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Heart of the Black Sun

By mattt8 All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Scifi

Prologue

Prologue

::Milky Way Galaxy, Outer-Medial 'Western' Spiral::

::Unoccupied Urcanna Space, Asteroid Gannae2367::

::Interior; STATION DESIGNATION MCID-7::

::Security Level; Blackout::

::Threat Level; 10{Maximum}::

"It's working!  You son of a bitch, it's working!"

The other man smiled at him, eyes glinting.

It was cramped inside, in the hollow of the asteroid, no one but the two of them and the shining blue-black egg shaped cylinder that thrummed with vigor.  Outside the barren asteroid, a telemetry satellite kept them company as it rotated slowly around them, intermittently beaming its data back twenty light years to the nearest planet.

They were in the darkest, loneliest part of space.

A hell of a place, Aran Daniels mused, to manipulate the power source that began the universe.

"If Leon Ott said it would work," Aran said, "it will.  It's just taken us time, and a little E-matter."

Hale Cooley clapped him on the back, "I don't care who thought it up!  You made the SOB work!"

Aran smiled at his rambunctious partner, one tooth nibbling at the inside of his lip as he studied the fluctuations on the screens.  His palms were sweating as he watched the unbelievable power surging against its repellent-force chains.  Drying his hands on his white lab coat, his eyes nervously scanned the banks of monitors and indicators, wary for any anomaly.

In the rough hewn rock walled chamber fifty feet from the two men, a blue-black shimmering chrome egg, six feet by four feet, was elevated on a table.  Three wardrobe sized generators stood together against the ragged back wall with the blue-chrome cylinder in front of them in the center of the room.  Multi-colored ribbon wires were attached to metal pads on the outer surfaces of the cylinder, but none went inside.

Nothing broke the surface of the perfect, supra-dense alloy.  No holes, no openings, yet inside the egg-shaped cylinder the incredible was happening.

Hale, the more vocal and excitable of the two men, ran his fingers delicately over the keypad.  "I can't believe it's holding.  It's like repulsion and attraction have formed a union ... the event horizon is stable!"  He shook his head at Aran, awe in his voice.  He looked a bit puzzled though.  "This is totally amazing..."  His voice trailed off.  Uncertainty crept into his face as he said "But I still don't really get what this does to help us get into the Heart?  I mean, this thing," he lowered his voice, as if there was anyone else around to hear, "is a bomb."

Aran's brow furrowed and he shook his head as if scolding a child.  "Come on now, Hale.  We can't possibly figure out how to get inside The Heart until we figure out how it works, yes?  This is showing us how it works.  Military funding is almost always needed to make these kinds of scientific advancements."

Hale shrugged noncommittally.  "If you say so.  The real thing though, The Black Sun, is ten times larger than any populated planet.  This thing", he gestured at the egg, "is shorter than I am!"

Aran laughed out loud.  "I doubt the Ancients built it like that on their first try.  They had to start somewhere too."  Hale looked a bit sheepish, still focused on the egg-shape in the chamber across from them.  With a facade of calm, Aran said  "Look, if Leon Ott could have gotten a hold of some E-matter before he died, he'd have started this experiment a long time ago.  We will find the way to build a bridge inside to the Heart of it.  Right now ... this is what we have, and it is a good start.  It's too bad Ott couldn't live to see this day."

Hale nodded his head a moment in sorrow for a lost scientific hero whom he'd never known.  With head tilted, his eyes caught a strange motion on the grav-monitor.

"Aran," Hale said, "what do you make of that fluctuation in the northern hemisphere?"

Aran looked up briefly, then pulled himself back in his chair to take a long, studious look.

"Possible sensor failure.  That G-reading is pulsing like we're getting interference.  Run a trace on that line."

Hale shrugged, set the comp-trace in motion with a few key punches.  One thousand line checks in two seconds, and he had an answer.

Shaking his head, Hale responded, "Negative.  Line traces clean."

Aran, the older of the two, the one who had sat in Leon Ott's lecture classes, locked his eyes on the G-meter while sweat formed on his upper lip.  He stood abruptly and paced back and forth in the tiny little lab.  The rock walls felt confining to him, reminding him of how isolated they were, so many light years from any help.

He stopped in his tracks, a queer look growing on his face.  "What is the Rad level in the cube room?"

Hale Cooley checked his instruments twice.  "Escalating.  Right now it's within tolerance, at just twelve units above normal, but it's climbing."

"Shit,"  Aran whispered.

Hale's face went white.  Aran never cursed.

"Check the southern hemisphere now.  What do you see?" Aran asked.

A moment of strained silence.  Then, "It's ... starting to pulse just like north."

Aran jumped back into his seat, sweat now sliding heavily down his face.  "Start shutting this bastard down!  I want the RFRs jumped to maximum, and the E-matter catalyst system closed."

In the jagged rock room, the most incredible thing began happening inside the chrome cylinder.

Something which had not happened, in theory, for a very, very long time.

As the two men were struggling at their keyboards, the top wall of the cylinder began to pull inward, clawing at the molecular fabric of the supra-dense alloy.  On the stenciled steel nameplate, the words "Matter Compression/Implosion Device-test number 7" were stretching wider as the alloy around them reached in toward the core of the egg.

The bottom of the egg-shaped alloy began to crumple inward, followed at a rapidly escalating pace by the sides.  The air crackled with ozone and the sound of metal screeching.  From the three Repellent Force Reactors stacked behind the egg cylinder, a grinding noise emanated, a thrumming roar of engines unable to keep up with their task.

The last words out of Aran Daniel's lips were "In the name of the Holy Church ... "

At first, when the seam of the cylinder split, folded in and was swallowed by the inside, the sound was deafening.  It was followed by an instantaneous and surreal silence as the very sound waves themselves were sucked into the cylinder's raging black center.

The alloy walls of it rippled like heat waves off hot gravel, then disappeared into the dark whirlpool of force inside.  The table liquefied, molten metal pouring upward into the swirling mass like an inverted water fall.  Molecules strained at their atomic bonds, ripped apart in energy flurries and were drawn into the irresistible tide that flowed into the torrential vortex where the cylinder had been.

It took but seconds.

Aran was jumping up from his chair to run for the Emergency Evac chamber.

Then his eyes flowed from his skull, bursting their viscous fluid into the air.  Every cell in his epidermis ruptured at once, his skin dripping from him like liquid wax, mixing into the frothy red mist of his now atomizing body.  The air rushed out of his lungs, collapsing them before they exploded out of his back into fragments flying toward the violent maelstrom behind him.

His arms managed to flail outward one last time before separating from his torso into the molecular whirlwind that swallowed him and everything around him in a bright but silent fury. 

The rock walls shattered, the glass melted into bubbling liquid pellets before blasting inward.  The computer console exploded backward, saturating the matter stream with radiation and electromagnetic fury.  Hale Cooley had been closer than Aran to the all-devouring cyclone of inrushing matter and his body had vaporized instantly with the console's explosion, dragging his molecules into the blast, intermixing them, casting them both combined into the silent, vicious blackness.

It had been two or three seconds of white hot fury.

Then one striking, blasting, pitch-black instant as light perished in a reverse photoflash, sucking everything into the hole.

And finally peace.

The exterior of the asteroid remained intact, sitting still in space.  In orbit around it, the telemetry satellite heard a continuous stream of pulse code interrupted by a burst of pure white noise.

Followed by nothing but silence.

Meaningless electrical crackles filled its comm-line.  { RTR? RTR? RTR? } the little satellite asked.

Ready To Receive?

There was no answer from inside the now empty core of the hollow asteroid.

Ten seconds passed.  Ten trillion unanswered queries.

Per program, the satellite began its backup broadcast beamed through a hole in space.

One hundred light years homeward.


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