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The Dead Star
by Jesus Puppy
8/21/2007 / Short Stories
Bypass1 drifted in the depth of space, its globe like body tapered to a thin stream of a tear shaped form as it moved across the star studded void. Sensors reaching out to the far distance, searching for the slightest anomalies. From the constantly shifting quasars to the stray comets shooting across time and space. Ticking off information regarding meteor clouds, some rocks as large as planets themselves, slowly drifting through distant solar systems. Recording any movement and storing the information in its main computer files to be viewed meticulously at a later date.
The sole operator and designer of Bypass1 sat staring through a view port into the darkness, reaching out occasionally to tap a console key mounted upon the desk before him, counting and calculating each fragment of space he came across. From the dissipation of spacial dust clouds millions of miles across, to the slow rotation of planetary systems, numbering and categorizing each system. Then on through space to the next solar system, the next galaxy, in search of any and all forms of change in living matter.
It was a long process, but D14 had no other task but his self-appointed study of the universe. Searching the vastness of space for even the slightest scrap of information that would lead him to greater knowledge of Man was his only purpose, when that task was done, there was nothing more.
* * *
From the time he was made, he was set the task to seek this information, and with little results. He had found all the available data on Man, from their unique creation even to their self extinction, and from fear of spreading the mutation that caused Man to have such a destructive nature, D14 had sought to remove the information, hiding all evidence of its existence. Now, after a several hundred years, he felt a sense of accomplishment in the fact that he had given his report, and helped in the end to stop the spread of such a mutation, a mutation called "Sin."
Many years he had searched the universe, seeking farther information as to where Man had gone. Had he remained on his home world of Earth, or reached out to the stars? Had the sin mutation remained localized, or had it begun to spread outward across space. In his later search, D14 had found Man's home world, and even found that he had in fact moved out to space. Several colonies had sprung up through their own solar system, and one as far as Alpha-Centauri. But what had become of Man.
The histories D14 had found told of a remnant that would be given Eternal life, those few that sought to repair the flaws that sin had made. What of that remnant, did any survive the destruction of their race, and if so, where had they gone?
His only real bits of information was from a History call "The Holy Bible." A book of great importance to D14, as he found many of the wars Man fought were because of laws marked down in the old History. Laws and beliefs that brought on a difference in man as more learned of the thing called Sin. Some sought to repair the damage, others sought only to stop them, so that they could remain in the state they found themselves. Some even tried to remove the knowledge of the extreme being called God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.
These small bits of information he found drifting in space on old radio-waves, centuries after Man's destruction. After he made his final report, his task complete, D14 was at a loss as to what would become of him. His only reason for being made was to seek out information on Man, to find any more he would need go to man's home world.
He set in order the design for a craft, and having obtained work orders from Galactic Operations on the design he wanted, D14 set to work to build the ship, Bypass1. The ship's main-frame computer would be a direct link to the Operation Director, in constant communication at all times. Any and all files and information to be shared directly with the D1 master computer, only his personal computations would remain separate.
In this D14's unique design program remained, the ability to reason within himself, without the distraction of the over-view of existence. With only the one task, and that, to seek out information. All this was set in the design of the Starship, Bypass1, to be as unique in its design as D14 himself. With the ship, he had found the home world of Man's origin, had walked on the surface of a burned out world, stripped of minerals and very little plant life. A wasted hulk of rock drifting slowly through space.
He found the last colonies of extinct Man, nothing more than old ruins and crumbled remains of Biosphere Domes. Most of which had been blown apart in explosions, burning what life may have been within, or killing them in the total vacuum of airless worlds. Wars or exploitation, no one would know now, as no records showed their true end, and only the ruins remained. Everywhere D14 looked the story was the same, Man was no more.
For many years after that he simply drifted through space with no true course in mind, traveling at nominal speed, merely drifting on the solar winds that shot through the void. With no task at hand, he felt no drive to get anywhere. As an android, D14 did not feel the emptiness of neglect on his part, he had finished his programmed task, and filed the final report on the outcome of Man. The only thing his unique program left him with now was a sense of loss.
He posed a question to D1, but received no reply; his question.. "What is left for me?"
All that had went into form his special program, the time and material to build him, all that he had sought to do, seeking out the answer to his assigned task.. Was it for nothing then? Man was no more, there was no need to seek out any more information on them; he had found all there was.
For a hundred years he sat in the control chair of Bypass1, staring at the main view screen as the ship slowly drifted through space. All his sensors linked to the master computer, waiting for a new task to be ordered, yet nothing came. Systems linked to long range scan, still searching lost forms of radio-waves in hopes of finding one last kilobyte of information, but nothing was found. Time no longer seemed to pass for D14, as he sat viewing the universe through relay sensors. And then something changed.
At first he was at a loss as to what was different, seeking once more over all the passed data, checking and rechecking in milliseconds as to what variance through the vastness of space had fluctuated even in the slightest. Then he had it; three giant-class stars had died at once, burning themselves out in a moment, imploding to form vast black-holes in space.
With no orders from D1, he was free to investigate, and as the death of the star seemed close to the death of Man in the scope of his special programming, he quickly set his course. The nearest of the stars was merely a trillion miles from his location, a matter of a few weeks at five times light-speed. He set the calculations for his destination, then turned on the star-drives of his ship and initiated the jump to light speed. He had a task before him once more.
* * *
The gravitational force of even a small black hole would be major, the Hole D14 came upon was that of rather large Giant-class star. At the hundred-million mile mark the pull would have been too much for a major vessel, but Bypass1 was not a normal ship. Part of its design was to compensate for gravitational pulls of planets and suns, the ship's computer continuously re-calibrated for the pull, and made it to where Bypass1 could come within a thousand miles of a major sun and still not be pulled in by its gravity. A black hole, though stronger, was no less of a problem.
Stationary at a hundred thousand miles, D14 watched with amazement as matter was drawn into the hole in space. Meteors several miles across were drawn in like dust mites in a vacuum, and with less trouble of resistance. D14 could feel the slight vibration of the ship as it compensated for the pull of gravity, and knew it was not safe to remain so close, but the information he gathered was worth the stress. The Hole was more than just a flat hole in space, it drew matter in from all directions, a complete globe of nothingness that endlessly drew more matter in, even from millions of miles away.
In a flash of numbers, D14 calculated the amount of matter taken in, and multiplied it by three, for the other dead stars. If they were eating hungrily at matter like the one before him... He knew of the existence of the Creator, and how in the beginning He made all things, but now, as he watched the hole in space, it seemed like the reverse of that action. Drawing all things back into that single void, the darkness before creation.
Once more D14 posed a question to the main frame computer D1, a question in the existence of suns. Though believed to be infinite in size, the universe did in fact have boundaries, and its stars could be numbered, as D1 had previously done. Yet the reply came back slowly, the master computer found itself with a dilemma, the number of stars had changed, and black holes could not account for all of them. The stars were simply dying out.
Calculations were done, and it was proven to be true, though there were thousands of years yet to go. But as the stars died, so too the warmth and power those suns brought. Immediately it was ordered that a new power source was to be sought after, but all things revolved around the power of the stars. Water would freeze without the heat from a suns rays, and without the sun's solar flares there would no longer be solar winds to collect.
Without a sun's gravitational pull, planets would slowly stop; those that were not drawn in by the void of black-holes left by imploding suns, or by chance were not engulfed in the explosion of a supernova, would stand motionless in the void of space. With no force to push against, the electro-magnetic pulse of a planets core would be useless, and what power could be gained there would end as well. The end of time now had a date looming in the foreseeable future, all would come to an end in a few thousand years.
* * *
New plans were looked into, every design gone over in an attempt to save existence. D14 struggled with ideas seeking to hold off the inevitable. He sought the length and width of the universe in hopes of finding that solution, each time he found himself drawn back to the old Man history, the Holy Bible. It was not from fear of death, as an android he was not truly alive. For him, it was merely an end to existence itself, an end to the vastness of all stored knowledge.
Yet even in the old history it was revealed that the old would pass away, and even so, there would be a new thing come in its place, but what form would that be, and where would it come from? Refuges were sought after in which to store the vast knowledge of the universe, but where would such be safe.
D14 scanned once more the full data reports showing up on the monitor before him, as well as the interior design systems of his own unique programs. It had been eons ago that the Operations Director, D1, had personally designed and built his one of a kind program, a system for searching out information, and now D14 took those programs to the limits of his reasoning.
Millennia had passed since D14 had discovered the final end of man, brought about by the mutations in their odd form of existence, the mutation called Sin. One that caused Man to turn from understanding truth or even seeking to repair the flaws in themselves, but to continue in their own self-willed destruction. He had given his report then, the only work-order he was ever given, in hopes to prevent the spread of this mutation to the rest of the universe. In that, he had succeeded, but now a newer problem had risen, a greater challenge.
As D14 was designed to think for himself, to view all possible angles of a given problem, not given farther orders, he began to observe the Universe in-depth. As the years passed into centuries, D14 continued to watch, noticing each change in the number of suns throughout the universe. From trillions down to millions, as even more began to burn out across the universe.
Searching for more information on the occurrence of the Black-holes, D14 took Bypass1 to the very edge of the largest known Hole, and from there he sent out a long-range sensor-probe into the black-hole itself. The reading came back to him, but slowly, as though the probe had slowed to a point that time had stopped. He made his report of the findings, and the theory of its conclusion.
A new ship was to be made, to build it would take nearly a century to completion, a design like that of the Starship Bypass1 but on a larger scale. Large enough to house all of Galactic Operations Directive, the vastness of all knowledge would be stored there and kept safe. The Arkan1's final destination, the timeless void beyond the largest Black-hole, at the very center of the universe. A place where Galactic Operations would pass without notice; watching, waiting, searching for an answer.
As the suns slowly died out one by one, existence winding to the inevitable end of all things, D14 still refused to give up. He went over each scrap of available data, searching and researching all knowledge of the make up of existence. Then, finally, he knew what could be done.
Through the remaining centuries he worked endlessly over the chemical analysis of a star, the energy patterns had to be precise, with no room for error, no room for doubt. He made his report to the Operations Director, and was given the order to proceed, even as the last of all the stars winked out of existence.
The final steps were made, as personal designs and programs were given from the Galactic Operations Director, and then came the order to test the final run of the program. Everything was ready, all parts of the program were in place as D14 hesitated over the system control button. He had personally typed in the last four words of the program, and knew it was good. The moment of doubt had past, and with finality D14 pressed the Enter button.
Those final words flashed across the darkened void of space, exploding outward from the depth of the void. Waves of light expanding to the far reaches of existence. New suns burned brightly once more in the heavens, Quasars igniting in a constant flow of energy, producing even more. New constellations formed over the blackness of time and space. The very dust came together once more, revealed in the light as new worlds taking shape in the formless void.
Those final four words in the program, the oldest words every spoken, heard by D14 long ago in his search for knowledge, were once more the first words spoken into the darkened void of the Universe... "Let there be light."
And it was so.
Edward Pennewell took on the name JesusPuppy while in the mission fields, and carries the name as a writer in showing the Lord's glory in all he writes. He now lives on the northwest coast of the United States of America.
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