Eden

By James Daniel Gilfillan All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Adventure

Prologue

The tear was discovered by humans on the 25th of March, 2025, at precisely 18:06 hours. It had occurred instantaneously, so far as the greatest minds could determine; suddenly flashing into being 400 million miles away. Jupiter was the planet currently closest in alignment with its position. No-one knew how it had happened. There were no theories in the next half hour. How could there be? Nothing like this had ever been seen before by a living soul.

NASA prided themselves on making the discovery, when two of their operatives manipulating the Hubble II telescope orbiting the moon reacted quickest to a glaring anomaly on their astral charts. Older, cooler heads were drafted in to study the patterns, while the two young operatives, 22 and 25, were set up for life. By March 27th, the world’s greatest minds; in Russia, Japan, the USA and Europe, were all obsessing, all looking to stretch their fame just that little bit more by uncovering something new about this astronomical phenomenon. The world had entered an age of capitalist self-importance. This meant that no one individual actually cared what the anomalies were, and what consequences they might have for humankind. It was all about being the most observant, the most cunning, and to outwit the next scientist before he outwitted you. That was when the theories began to mount up; so many empty cigarette cartons, each with the promise of an overlooked stick hidden beneath the foil inlay.

One by one, the Russians and the Americans were able to cross ideas off of the vast lists of plausible theories compiled by the world’s greatest space organisations. The body was not a distant star; it was not 3-dimensional, and it did not appear to have any orbit. It was not a collapsed star either, as there was no sign of a pulsar or any remnants of a collapsed core, not to mention other fragments from the asteroid belt. High-tech American and British probes had, by 2026, indicated that the body had no output in terms of temperature, air resistance and, most shockingly of all, gravity. And yet, the body was immobile. This puzzled the great minds, what with the gravitational pull of Jupiter being so potent a force, such that nothing could withstand it.

Theories became diluted, twisted and, eventually, improbable. Many scientists were starting to think up reasoning for alien intervention, despite the complete absence of heat, movement or organic life. After information was finally released to the press about the body, the US government’s worst fears were recognised, as religious sects were formulated around the body. Many believed it to be the Star of David. Many believed it was the star followed by the wise men; the sign from God sent to hail the coming of Christ. His second coming.

It took until 2027 for the sects to be verbally discredited by authority figures. Scientists had given up on the rash, unsubstantiated theories of the previous year, and had started to base their studies on a single hypothesis; the only one to have survived through the criticism, denunciations and press punditry of its rivals. Many were now convinced, although never could be certain, that the body, identified by British probes to be a one-dimensional, narrow shape giving off a piercing white glow, was a rip or tear in the fabric of the solar system; an area where, for reasons beyond the understanding of even the most worthy men in the US and Russia, the reality of ‘the final frontier’ was distorted. Some called it a time-hole. Some devised explanations, complicated to the extremes, that accounted for the fact that it had, seemingly, appeared out of nowhere, stating in their winding conclusions that it had, for all intents and purposes, always been there. Space was a big place, after all.

Old studies, ledgers and notes; anything related in the smallest way to the space-time continuum was studied furiously, until nearly everyone on the planet had some understanding of it. Satellite pictures posted on YouTube and other sites scored tens of millions of hits in minutes. Cosmologists began to hint in online interviews and forums that the tear could be evidence of an anomaly in the continuum which, for arguments sake, could open up some form of gateway into a different place and time. Such theories had previously been suggested, even before this discovery, and these gained extra weight from the momentum of this craze, though there was still very little in the way of conclusive proof.

Mechanised experiments were carried out as Earth approached the end of 2028, as groups of probes were sent to release organic, single-celled organisms into the void of the tear, by propulsion. The trajectories were accurate to the very millimetre, and the bacilli cells chosen for this most important of sacrifices vanished in the light. An angled camera revealed through its relayed images that the cells in their dissolvable container had not simply passed through and floated off towards Jupiter. Subsequent scans on the body revealed a number of startling changes. The tiniest heat signature, relative to that of the cells, was recorded, and the smallest organic matter detected. They were there. The cells had survived the transition through the time-hole.

That was when the readings had changed. Dials spun aimlessly on the consoles at NASA’s Space Control Centre, as the heat, gravity and light readings from the probes increased. Two of the probes had vanished; presumably they had been dragged into the tear by some irresistible pull, but technicians managed to manually save the remaining machines. They would return to Earth, for testing. But it was done. The body was indeed, to the best of mankind’s knowledge, a time-hole, through which matter could travel, survive and, in the opinion of NASA’s best minds, flourish. This was their explanation for the sudden increase in activity; the expanding and evolution of the bacilli cells that had passed through.

And so it was that, by the end of 2029, the universe’s most impatient race was preparing its first manned mission past Mars, to a spot approximately 400 million miles away, Jupiter, to investigate a phenomenon to this day unidentified in any other location by humankind.

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