07 November 2010


"Captain" the First Lieutenant said, "We are on station".  His voice rang out in the hushed confines of the bridge.  The Captain gave no sign he had heard beyond a languid wave of the fingertips from his left hand, which propped up his chin.  The ship, small as it was like all of the Fleet's Special Ops research vessels, depended surprisingly little on electronic communications.

And with a crew of four, rare was the need for an intercom, mused the Captain.  Four? he thought.  Check that, make it three.  He was reasonably certain that no longer being alive was a disqualification from being a crew member.  The Commander's body currently lay in the cargo hold, quietly and without protest relieved of command.

The Captain rubbed his temples with his right hand, leaning forward to stare at the anomaly on the bulkhead-cum-monitor that loomed over the command space.  A star field, diamonds on black velvet scintillating through the visible spectrum, marred by a smudge of nothingness at the center.

Nothingness, he noted, not unlike my heart.  He coughed and spoke.

"Lieutenant, secure the orbit.  Prepare the Commander for terminal descent, on my mark."

"Aye, aye, sir" replied the Lieutenant, bending over his command station.  He leaned to his right to confer with the Flight Engineer, a pale thin man who seldom spoke, but knew when to make it count.  Their hushed murmurings barely registered on the Captain's ears, as he stood and stared at the thing on the screen.

A black hole, he thought, a supermassive black hole. Jesus, those things scare me.  Light, gravity, nothing would escape this monster...yet it quite possibly was the only hope for the Commander.  The Captain had seen many a strange and terrible thing in his years of travel, but black holes had always held a special fascination, and terror, for him.

And today the Captain was going to ask a black hole for a favor: either take the Commander forever and erase his memory or give him life.  I must be nuts, muttered the Captain. The Psych boys back in Command Central would probably be all over him when they returned.  If they returned.  The Captain wasn't so sure he wanted to go back.  Not after all this.  He sighed and shook his head. There was no avoiding it now, they had come so far, and the black hole was right there.  He forced himself to focus.

"Lieutenant, set course as we discussed. Prepare the Commander for ejection, set on my mark."

"Aye, sir."  The Lieutenant and the Engineer exchanged furtive, knowing glances, then shrugged.  A low thrum sounded through the ship as the engines fired.  The black nothing on the screen expanded slightly, slowly as the ship accelerated.  The Captain sat down heavily in his chair, face in hands.  He said nothing for a long time.  A chime sounded at their approach to the critical point where they would have to jettison their cargo, and use the gravity well to hopefully slingshot them back out into open space.  The Commander's body, secured in an escape module, would continue on, into the heart of the black hole, drawn in by the insatiable pull of gravity.

"On my mark," said the Captain in a voice roughened by a sudden tightness in the throat that the other crew members pretended not to hear, "...3...2...1...Mark!"  The Lieutenant hit the manual eject button.  Dull clanks sounded from below, then the ship jerked a little as the module broke free.  The three crewmen sat silently, eyes on the screen to watch the module heading for its target.  They grunted softly as the artificial gravity cycled to keep them stable as the ship changed course.  The external cameras flicked from front to bottom view, tracking the Commander on his last flight.  It was a faint blur against a color darker than black, winking out in a final burst of visual light as it crossed the event horizon.  The Captain closed his eyes.

Goodbye, brother...may you be reborn somewhere in this universe, son of the white hole on the other side of time. Goodbye.

The Lieutenant waited as long as he could, not wanting to disturb the Captain in his meditations.  Finally, he said "Captain?  Set course for home?". 

At first, the Captain said nothing.  He was silent so long the Lieutenant thought he might be sleeping.  Just as the Lieutenant was about to ask again, the Captain abruptly opened his eyes, looked up at the now blank screen, and said "Yes, for home...wherever that may be."

Happy Birthday, Big Bro, wherever on the Universe ocean you may be.  Your crewmates miss you.


  1. wow.

    and so we wave, into the universe, in the hopes that those we love can feel our hearts traveling to theirs.

  2. Your capacity for divergence amazes me. I second Vodka--wow.

  3. all I can say is that was amazing. After reading it I just sat here for a little bit and thought "wow"

    you are so talented.

  4. I believe that he is out there as a form of eternal energy. The dead are merely transformed but not gone.

  5. God, Kevin...at home on the other side of time.
    we'll all get there...someday
    just not yet :)


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...