A strange galactic anomaly is investigated.
|word count: 2,521 prompt: The Discovery
In the night, the city of Ativus was filled with the electromagnetic hums of flying cars and holographic billboards advertising pharmaceutical goods, cybernetic body parts and solar collectors. All citizens in every quarter were bustling about until something magnificent occurred in the sky. An explosion of red light erupted in the heavens so bright it made it seem like day. It lasted for several seconds until it abated leaving a red spot where it had happened.
Thousands of eyes were staring up in awe.
“What was that!?” asked a man on a sidewalk as he took off his eye shades.
“I don’t know. But whatever it was, it can’t be good!” said an opened jawed woman paralyzed with fear.
“Why do you say that?” asked the man.
“It’s a prophetic sign and look; part of it still remains,” replied the woman.
The entire city was beginning to go into an uproar as they wondered what the remaining red light meant. Then a loud voice blared on multiple speakers throughout the city. “This is the Central City Command. Please remain calm. Satellites have confirmed the red after effect of the explosion is a natural occurrence and not a threat.”
At the same moment a man in a long sleeve shirt stroked his brown beard as he looked out through a window of the Ativus University.
“What kind of supernova has an afterglow? The CCC is obviously lying. Something else is going on,” said the man to himself.
Then a young adult addressed him from behind. He was in a school uniform made of a thin layer of cotton covered in silk with the university crest on his chest.
“You think they are lying to us Professor Grail?”
The professor faced him and paused before he replied.
“Unfortunately that is what I believe Tim,” said Professor Grail.
“What is that ball of light left over from the supernova then?” said Tim.
“I have a theory, but I need to study the glowing spot to ascertain it for sure,” he answered.
The professor approached a thin insulation vest off a hanger and put it on. He sighed and rubbed his eyes then ran his palm down his face. Next, he hurried past Tim.
“Where are you going professor?”
“To gather some information. You’re welcomed to come along,” the professor said.
Tim nodded and followed him to the teleport ring.
“Why do they make teleporting so expensive?” asked Tim
“It takes a lot of energy to project a teleportation portal. Besides, I think using hover cars is more stylish as they say,” answered Professor Grail.
To the left of them was a small key panel. The professor typed in Austin Observatory A wall of light resonated like a borealis within the ring.
Both stepped through and instantly they were in an immense crystal dome. Scientists walked to and fro among super computers as high as six feet tall. Likewise, monitors filled the surroundings that displayed CGI models of different spatial phenomena like stars, galaxies and nebulas.
Professor Grail saw a man in a white padded material that smiled and waved at him, several yards away. He neared the professor and extended his hand to Grail who promptly shook it.
“John! Long time no see! How is teaching at the university?”
“Very good. Don, I need a favor. You probably heard about the supernova that exploded over Ativus leaving an after effect in space.”
“The red circle? Yes, we have been studying it closely. There is nothing to worry about. We suspect it will shrink and die out.”
“Is that the truth as far as you know?”
Don’s eyes flickered and then focused on the ground.
“I’ve known you since college and I can tell when you’re lying,” Professor John Grail said again.
Dons’ eyes darted up and looked at Professor Grail squarely in the face.
“There are some things I cannot give you John,” said Don in a low tone.
“I’ve bent the rules for you Don. Do you remember the time when you were two weeks away from being an official astro operative? If it was not for that, you never would have worked on the telephasing experiments. Just give me access to the Optimus Satellite. I want to see it for myself,” Professor Grail put forth.
“Don shook his head anxiously with his eyes shut tightly. Then he slumped his shoulders in defeat.
“Okay, alright, but you must promise me something. What you discover, you must keep secret from any living soul.”
“I promise,” answered Grail.
He turned his head to Tim and spoke.
“You’ll have to stay here Tim.”
“Gotcha professor. I wish more than anything that I could go too.”
“I know,” said Grail.
Don motioned quietly for Grail to follow him. Both walked towards an open air elevator. Don pulled a key card out of a pocket and slipped it through a slit on a panel grafted to the railing surrounding them. A light electrical buzz sounded as the elevator went up.
“If I get caught, both of us will lose our jobs and I will face incarceration,” said Don.
“You don’t know how much this means to me Don.”
Soon they were a hundred feet high and at last they stepped onto a metal grated surface.
Don went to a compartment on a small metal scaffold across a small bridge and pulled out scientist’s clothes.
“Take off your vest and put this on. Wear these goggles too so your face will be hidden,” instructed Don.
“Won’t I stick out?”
“Perhaps, but I don’t think anyone will care to question you,” answered Don.
Professor Grail threw the wardrobe on and then followed Don to a large, domed computer station full of operatives. And there on the main monitor, in sync with the satellite, was the red sphere. But Professor Grail saw what he suspected all along.
“I knew it. It is no sphere or circle, it’s a vortex.”
“Shhh! Keep it down,” Don warned.
The professor’s friend whispered. “So far we have determined it to be about three light years away. It seems to be composed of some sort of chemical illumination. The mystery is that its composition is made up of an unknown element omitted on the periodic table.”
Grail whispered back.
“Any idea of what is on the other side?”
“To get that information we would need to send a probe through,” answered Don.
“But that would require ten times the thrust of a standard probe and a way to navigate it so far away is the other problem,” the professor said anxiously.
“This way,” said Don. “I have a surprise for you to see.”
Grail followed him to a screen. Don tapped a keyboard below it that brought up an image.
“I give you the Phoenix Blaze,” said Don proudly. “By integrating hover car technology with teleportation technology we can travel ten times the speed of a conventional probe.”
“But teleportation requires a receiving conduit at the point to travel to,” reasoned Grail.
“We have discovered how to project the event horizon of a normal teleportation ring in front of this craft and send out a light path to create the receiving horizon where ever we wish.”
“It looks like the old stealth bombers of the twenty-first century. When do you launch it?” asked the professor.
Professor Grail looked mischievously into Don’s eyes. It was appealing though.
“Forget it John! That is crossing the line! Besides, we’d get caught the moment we got ten feet from the ship’s hatch,” Don said.
Don’s reluctance persisted for a time but finally, he gave in. First, they had to reach the hanger which was about fifty yards away behind a large hydraulic metal door. Getting there was easy, but they had to find a way past it.
“This calls for a diversion. Here is the plan,” said Professor Grail. “The next time they open, I will see that trash bin over there under the fire sprinklers. When the alarm goes off we make our move,” he finished.
“What then?” Don asked.
“We’ll cross that bridge when when we get to it,” answered Professor Grail.
The wait was unnerving, but finally a person was nearing the door holding a key card to swipe in a sensing panel.
Grail swiftly pulled out a lighter and set the bin full of paper garbage. The door opened slowly. In two minutes a blaring alarm sounded with flashing lights blinking. As people ran to and fro, the two friends entered and found a tall computer box against the wall. They dashed behind it and ducked. In the center of the square command center, was the Phoenix Blaze. In a short time the fire was put out and the alarms went off. The door shut. Now they had to think of a way to get in once it was time for launch.
“Okay, time for the final phase. We need a method to get in the craft,” said Grail.
“I’ve got it,” said Don. “You see those plastic pipes?-they are spare oxygen suppliers. If we puncture one, it will leak a fog of pure oxygen. We have to reach it by slipping behind the computer terminals. “
They crept carefully along the back of the walls until they reached it. Then came the time of the decade; launch time! A hatch with a set of stairs lowered. Grail hid behind the computer when no one was looking and held his trusty lighter under the plastic piping. Within half a minute it burst with white fog. The two connivers ran up the stairs and immediately hid in a utility compartment that fit both of them perfectly. The piping was fixed and the countdown started as the craft was inverted so its nose was pointed up. After ten seconds, an iris door in the dome opened and they shot off into the sky. They felt no G force because of the momentum dampeners that was the same as in a hover car.
“This is Phoenix Blaze ready to commence teleportation portal process,” said the pilot.
The craft was set in alignment with the red vortex. Then a spiraling portal appeared and the two stowaways peaked out from the compartment behind the cockpit. They entered into the projected teleportation portal and it was like traveling through a tunnel made of a red and blue streaks. In seconds they were there, floating in space before the red vortex, three light-years away from Earth. The center of the glowing red anomaly was drawing in small spheres of white light.
“Preferring to enter vortex,” the pilot said on the voice link to Earth.
With those words they accelerated into the mysterious opening.
“The momentum dampeners are not working!” he said as the ship shook and trembled.
Then after they had traveled to the other side of the vortex it was like flying through blue clouds filled with flashes of lighting. The Phoenix Blaze was headed for what looked like a giant white illumination like a white sun. As they neared it, the light seemed to be emanating from a floating continent of intensely shining buildings.
“That is the only place to land. I’m setting her down by that shining dome,” the pilot announced.
They landed next to the structure and peered out the window and saw breath taking architecture.
“I’ve made first encounter with the first alien world!” exclaimed the pilot.
Professor Grail step out of the compartment and addressed the pilot.
“My friend, I think this is more than just an alien world. I believe we’re in another dimension,” said Grail.
The pilot was startled by the intruder.
“Who are you?! How did you get in here!?Are you crazy?” said the shocked pilot.
Don stepped out behind him.
“Don? Are you with this guy? Do you know how much trouble you’re in?”
“Unimportant. There must be metaphysical beings in this place,” he said to the pilot.
“Excuse me? And who are you?” the pilot inquired.
“Professor John Grail of Ativus University,” he said.
“Well, whoever you are, you’re going to wish you had not hitchhiked on a federal piece of technology.”
Suddenly Don pointed in awe through the window at a shining winged being.
“Look!-a real alien!” Don voiced.
All three humans stared in silence until Professor Grail spoke out.
“I sense that they’re friendly. Open the hatch pilot,” said the Professor.
“My name is Captain Derek Harris. I’m in charge and I say what happens.”
“Do you intend to simply sit here?” asked the Professor.
“Well I…how can you be certain it is safe?” asked Captain Harris.
“I can see it in his eyes; a gentleness and benevolence.”
“Okay, I’ll let you out, only to see if it is truly safe.”
The ramp lowered and Grail exited and Don followed. Eventually the pilot left too. Professor Grail directly approached one of the beings.
“Greetings,” he said to the shining creature. “Please, allow your friends to come as well.”
Grail turned around and beckoned to Captain Harris and Don to meet the being as well. They looked at each other, convinced there was no danger and filled out of the ship and approached the being where Grail was.
“Hello John, Don and Derek. We have waited or you. You are in the realm of Nethal below the abode of heaven, the place of the Almighty. You three are the first of the chosen mortals to live out their days in this glorious place, “the being said to Grail. “You three were specifically chosen for your good hearts. If the portal was simply on Earth, evil could infiltrate this place,” he finished.
“What if we do not want to stay?” asked the pilot.
“Look at this paradise, would you want to leave when so many wonders await you?” said the shining being.
“I am very curios, but what about our families and friends?” said Derek.
“Most of them are good hearted as well. They will join you in time,” answered the being.
“But how will anyone get to this place? It is not like everyone has super powered ships,” said Don.
“Soon, a smaller vortex will exist on Earth that will be hidden in a remote island. The Ultimate Power will guide them there for those who are chosen,” explained the being.
“Why did you not make the vortex on Earth instead?” asked Grail.
The being answered. “The island on which the vortex will be must be pure. As of now such place does not exist. Soon though, the Most High will bring one forth.”
“When will this happen?”
“Within a hundred years,” stated the winged, shining man.
The three humans looked at each other.
“I believe I will stay myself,” Professor Grail decided.
“This is probably the most significant astronomical discovery of all. I’m staying as well,” Don spoke with a smile and glistening eyes.
The pilot was taken aback more than his two fellows. He spoke in tears. “This is my home now.”
With that, the being led them to explore the magnificent utopia. The wonders they witnessed would overwhelm them until the day of their last breath.