Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2264440
The wormhole offers an escape for the church from the rise of the AntiChrist
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As Dr. Rosenheim watched, the Prophet looked up into the black starry sky and proclaimed,
"Behold He opens a doorway in the sky through which His church may pass to safety."
Dr. Rosenheim noticed that the Prophet's face was lined with age and concern, his hands calloused and scarred. His black hair was greying around the temples. There was nothing in his appearance to suggest the greatness of his ministry and the insight with which he was endowed. Yet, as he looked around he also saw that every person there hung on this man's every word. The Prophet took his leather-bound Bible from its position on a mossy rock next to him and he read from a bookmarked passage in Revelation:
The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
The gathered congregation stared up into the heavens and saw a swirling vortex of blue light surrounding a black hole appear in the sky. It cast a strange glow across the jagged edges of the Rocky Mountains and the forest glade in which the church had assembled.
Dr. Rosenheim was a tall, medium build, dark-haired, Jewish man, of about fifty years of age, in a suit. He stared up at the sky fascinated but also repelled by the words he had just heard. As he looked up at the wormhole, realizing that it was not just a theoretical construct anymore, he could not keep silent,
"Are you mad? The gravitational forces inside an Einstein - Rosen Bridge would destroy anything that enters it. You would need a stabilizing field, to counter the sheer effects, and to hold people's bodies, and indeed the ships they fly in, together. Otherwise, they will quite simply be ripped apart. You send the church through that hole in the sky and everyone will die."
There were murmurs of worry and uncertainty among the congregation and many looked over at Dr. Rosenheim with some concern.
But the Prophet himself looked unfazed by the comment and in a low voice that everyone could hear despite the lack of decibels he replied,
"Then you have a year to design and build such a stabilizing field, Dr. Rosenheim."
Dr. Rosenheim was about to retort with some anger that it could not be done. But before he could do so images flashed into his mind and he was instead silent for a good two minutes while he contemplated these. He saw an energy collector that used the wormholes' own rotation to generate a stabilizing field around an object passing through it, equations and specifications appeared in his mind as if by magic and as he pondered these he realized that it might actually be possible. Finally emerging back from his mental retreat he noticed everyone staring at him awaiting his response. In a weak and humbled voice, he finally spoke,
"It might be possible, but we will need to put an engine onto one of the big habitats in Jupiter orbit to make that happen and utilize the fusion reactors that power it also."
"We will need all five of the old Imperial Jupiter habitats and three from Saturn orbit also," replied the Prophet as if anticipating Dr. Rosenheim's response.
Two men stepped forward and Dr. Rosenheim recognized one as the billionaire owner of one of the largest companies in the space industry, Space Corp. He was tall, impressive, an ex-American football star, with deep blue eyes and blonde hair. He had the kind of presence that could dominate a football field or a board room. But there was something strange about John Sargent today, he also looked humbled, as if by an encounter with power well above his pay grade. He spoke,
"When God led me here I did not know how I could be of any assistance to the church and I thought this meeting might be a waste of my time, to be honest. But now, with the miraculous emergence of this wormhole, Dr. Rosenheims' declaration, and the words of the Prophet, all things are made clear. This morning I purchased all the habitats we need at a much-reduced rate. All were pretty much vacated shortly after the Empire fell and its citizens returned to earth. The Earth Republic organized a garage sale and my board of directors and I figured we could use them to grow food and manufacture fuel for the space miners we have out in the asteroid belt. I guess God has different plans for them though. This man here, Jim Scofield, is my chief engineer, we discussed plans to fit old Star Cruiser engines from the Imperial fleet onto the habitats just two hours ago. If Dr. Rosenheim has a way to counter the wormhole's sheer effects on people and vegetation inside a spinning habitat then I can provide the transport through the wormhole."
The congregation collectively gasped awed at how God had brought all the pieces together. The Prophet bowed his head as if to give a prayer of thanks,
"Then the plan for the Exodus Arks is conceived and our work of preparation can begin."
As the leader of the opposition, in the Senate of the Earth Republic, Claude Julianus knew that his time was approaching fast. He checked himself out in the mirror making sure not a hair was out of place before he went into the auditorium to make his speech. He smiled with self-satisfaction. Everything about his appearance was sculpted to perfection. Tall, strong, masculine with rich dark hair, tailored Saville Row suit, and a deep bass voice. He was the kind of man that was born to lead, with a charisma that compelled attention, and a presence that was impossible to ignore.
The Earth Republic had seen better days. Its victory over the Empire of the Outer Solar System had been followed by a deep recession and major cutbacks in expenditure. As he rose to address the Senate there was an audible hush. He paused a moment, drinking in the expectation in the air. They were waiting for him and he knew they would hang on to his every word as would the people this was being streamed to.
"Distinguished members of the senate, citizens of the Earth Republic. It is an extraordinary thing for me to stand before you today despite the best efforts of this government to besmirch my name. Looking around I see some of the generals who won our battles for us in the war against the Empire just ten years ago now. I see how disappointed they are in the ways this government has sabotaged their hard-won victories, how it has squandered the peace dividend. How many of our glorious soldiers are now unemployed or underemployed as a direct result of the policies of this Christian-Democratic coalition? How many people are crying out for change?
We are all looking for changes. Because we now know the real enemy of the people is not a fallen Empire and its long-dead Emperor. No, rather it is this corrupt, incompetent, and worthless government. Scandal after scandal has exposed the rotten heart of these so-called religiously motivated people, these hypocrites who hoard wealth for themselves and their cronies while children starve and the sick die in poorly run and underfunded hospitals. They build space yachts while our roads are full of potholes. They suck the people dry so that they might live in comfort.
This world we built, this world we fought for must now be saved, and who else can do this except we the people. We the people must now take back control of our planet, remove this parasitic government and dismantle its network of shame and corruption forever.
I hear the Christians are running away, now that those who cover up for them are losing power. The rats are deserting their sinking ship. These cockroaches are filling up the empty habitats in the outer worlds ready to enter the wormhole and leave us all behind.
This is probably a stupid thing to do as we all know that the forces in the worm tunnel will rip apart any ship that attempts that passage. Nonetheless, we should let the fools go. They voted for this incompetent government last time and their departure well nigh guarantees our victory in just six months' time. We must do everything we can to make sure these thieving scum do not strip this planet clean of his valuables before they leave though. These bloodsuckers should leave us now, with only the shirts on their backs and good riddance from a planet fed up with their false promises, their delusions, and their mental health issues.
In fact, what better way to get rid of these madmen than to throw them into that wormhole as we would so much rubbish into a monstrous great garbage disposal unit in the sky. A way to rid ourselves of them forever, sent to us by the secret powers that animate the cosmos. It is time to clean house!
There is little doubt among serious scientists that the habitats they plan to journey in, through the wormhole, will be ripped apart by the gravitational sheer of the forces there. Because I am a human being, because all humans share in the rich heritage of our species, I warned them that they were being foolish. But they do not listen and because they do not listen, to me, they are little better than lemmings throwing themselves off a cliff. They will probably all die an agonizing death in that wormhole moments after they enter. Well, we will not miss them.
I stand before you now, just another ex-soldier, just another worker, yet also a man who has fought consistently against the evil of this government since peace was declared ten years ago. Whether you are a refugee from the outer systems or were born here on the planet, I want you to share in my faith, the faith that has been spreading across our solar system, a new hope for our future. If I, one man, can begin such a crusade for truth and justice then you, the people, can finish it by electing me to office. Let my victory be your victory as we take back our world and move towards a new and better golden age of peace and prosperity. Let us build a better world together."
He sat down to rapturous applause from the house while the government senators looked on gloomily lacking even the heart to boo him.
John Sargent, with Space Corp behind him and now head of project Exodus Arks, was a busy man. Organizing the departure of more than a billion people in habitats designed to support only a third of that number was only one of the challenges he faced right now. He was in the viewing lounge of one of the Jupiter habitats looking out of a large glass window and down the long rotating tube with its rich farmland, forests, and cities planted on its cylindrical surface. It still seemed strange to look up and see cities or lakes in the sky. But such was the experience of being in one of these giant habitats.
He had risked everything for the current project and had had to fire most of his Board of Directors to get them to sign off on plundering the assets of this Space Corporation to fund it. The company itself was now doomed by the costs incurred, but what did that matter beyond the event horizon of the wormhole?
I am either the biggest fool or biggest hero of all time, he thought to himself.
Jack Scofield, Dr. Rosenheim, and the Prophet were also with him. John Sargent turned back to the conference room and sat down at the head of the table with the other attendees and he began the meeting.
"Dr. Rosenheim, how is the stabilizing field progressing?" asked John Sargent.
"We built the prototype, as we discussed last week. We sent it into the wormhole and watched it on camera. It performed as expected and the craft did not break up before it disappeared beyond the event horizon. We also received telemetry until it disappeared which seemed fine. Our field is not going to be a stabilizing field really so much as a dampening field. We will pilot the habitats to the entrance of the wormhole. Then, when the gravitational sheer gets too extreme, we will activate the field. It will effectively retard the movement of everybody for as long as we travel through the wormhole. We will drift from one end of the vortex to the other," replied Dr. Rosenheim.
"Well, how are people going to breathe, eat or indeed go to the toilet if they cannot move? We have no idea how long we will be in that wormhole. It could be seconds or it could be days. Everything is a mystery beyond that event horizon," said John Sargent.
"Yes, it will not be an absolute freeze for that reason. It will be more like living in slow motion. This will counteract the gravitational sheer on the ship and our insides. So you will be able to do the things you mentioned but at a far slower pace than normal. In this way, we will also retain some control over the piloting of the habitats," answered the engineer Jim Scofield. He had helped Dr. Rosenheim with the construction process.
The Prophet nodded and then asked, "And how long before each of the habitats can be outfitted with these devices?"
"The design and prototypes are already complete. The Space Corp facility on Ceres has all the latest 3D printing factories and the Empire's old factories have been helpful here also. We are building nine field generators as we speak. Eight for the habitats and one spare just in case. Then they just need to be fastened onto the middle of each habitat with a metal band that extends right around the cylinder. Each generator will then generate a field that should cover the full length of the cylinder in either direction. The people should probably stand in the middle third of the cylinder during the voyage," said Dr. Rosenheim.
"Excellent," said the Prophet, "Let us pray to finish this meeting."
They bowed their heads as the Prophet led them in prayer.
The recently elected Claude Julius had wasted no time implementing his antiChristian persecution. He had managed to have the Christians on the habitat disenfranchised, just before the election, due to their being off-world and intent on leaving the solar system. As a result, he was elected by a landslide and had a mandate to be as tough as he wanted against the departing church. He had organized the police to target all active attempts at evangelism and to hunt down the Christians that had remained on Earth as a starting point. Now he turned his efforts to the habitats which contained the bulk of the Christian church.
"Can we nuke them?" Claude Julianus asked his military commander.
"They are already moving towards the wormhole and should arrive in just three days. Our fastest missiles will take three weeks to arrive there," replied the five-star general.
"What assets do we have on-site?"
"Two Star Destroyers and one Battle Cruiser are within range. It is possible they could intercept if given the order right away. But I do not know if they have the resources to destroy all eight of the habitats."
"How many could they destroy?"
"Maybe five if they targetted properly and if there is no organized resistance."
"Send them straight away and authorize them to fire when within range."
"Of course, Mr. President," the General nodded to his aide who rushed to carry out the order and send the communique to the fleet in the outer systems. He then turned back to the President a puzzled look on his face, "Mr. President can I ask why bother with the nukes? We all think the wormhole will destroy them anyway. Even if it does not, it will take them somewhere far away. A place from which, in all probability, they can never return to challenge your interests."
"We have no way of being sure of that and these pests are too much of a threat. We need to be sure."
The habitats were nearing the wormhole and preparing to enter when they saw the military ships approaching. Jim Scofield was the key engineer for the Exodus Arks project. While Dr. Rosenheim had provided the theoretical concepts for the field generators it was Jim Scofield that had built them. He was not an impressive man to look at, a little podgy, with a scruffy beard that needed a trim. He was bald on top but with wild shoulder-length hair on either side. He wore a brown jacket, a nerdy T-Shirt with a picture of the solar system on it, and jeans. But this was his moment, this was the moment he would either save the church or die trying.
As the fleet of habitats approached the wormhole there was some panic but not from Jim Scofield who had already planned a response.
On the command deck of the last habitat, he turned to John Sargent and asked,
"We have attacking ships on-screen as predicted. Can I deploy countermeasures?"
John Sargent nodded and the engineer rushed to his console.
He pressed a button and a screen of millions of tiny rocks was ejected across the path of the attacking ships preventing navigation and obscuring their field of fire. The ships on the screen slowed as they saw the rocks deployed and then came to a stop. There were cheers on the flight deck of the habitat as they did so.
In the same moment, the first habitat entered the event horizon and disappeared into the black. All communications with the ship were lost.
Jim Scofield continued to monitor the attacking ships,
"They are moving again. New tactics," he said. "They are flying, danger close, single file, with the big Battle Cruiser front, and they have pooled their forward deflectors frontwards. They are going to drill a hole through the rocks."
As they watched they noticed weapons fire as the Battle Cruiser cleared a single path through the rubble that was strewn across its path. The Star Destroyers followed in its wake.
The enemy fleet had slowed considerably however and six more habitats were through before they were free of the rubble field.
"It is just us and them," said Jim Scofield, "Permission to deploy plan B."
John Sargent nodded and the spare field generator was detached from the last habitat and flung in the direction of the attacking fleet. It had been set to broadcast outside rather than inside its band.
"Activate it now," said a nervous Jim Scofield.
The attacking fleet fired missiles which raced towards the habitat but as they entered the dampening field they slowed to a crawl. As the habitat approached the event horizon they could see the missiles on their trajectory to the wormhole slowly pushing their way through the dampening field.
What if they follow us? We have no weapons, thought Jim Scofield, though he kept the thought to himself.
The habitat disappeared into the event horizon. It was pitch black for a split second and then suddenly they were in another place surrounded by the seven other habits, a white wormhole behind them, a yellow sun before them.
"Look," said John Sargent, "the wormhole is shrinking."
They watched as it rapidly disappeared. None of the missiles that had been fired made it through before the wormhole had completely shut. Jim Scofield was amazed at the timing but then voiced his suspicions as to how they might have survived,
"The missiles were not protected against the wormhole effects. I wonder if they exploded when they passed the event horizon and thereby collapsed the wormhole."
Dr. Rosenheim laughed.
"It means we are free of the threat of them following us here."
The first habitat housed the Prophet and he came online on the radio.
"Greetings brothers and sisters, the Captain here tells me that we have found an Earth-like planet in the goldilocks zone of this star. One G gravity, breathable Oxygen-Nitrogen atmosphere, strong magnetic field, abundant water, and absolutely no life except what we now seed it with. The church is safe until Kingdom come."