October 8th, 2006
Author : Trevor Fitch
â€œListen Captain, Iâ€™ve saved up years for this trip, and if you donâ€™t get me there on time, Iâ€™m going to have your head! The rest of the passengers and I are in complete agreement on this. We paid for a trip of a lifetime and we want our moneys worth. My lawyer and my representative of the Intergalactic Senate will be hearing from me!â€ Finishing his rant, the irate customer stormed off the bridge.
With a sigh, Captain Diggs looked out into the nothingness just ahead of the ship. There were no stars, no planets, no space dustâ€¦ just nothing.
â€œCaptain, sensors still arenâ€™t showing anything out there. Energyâ€¦ matterâ€¦ radiation sensors, all register a null reading. I had the sensors tested for errors, but everything checks out.â€
â€œETA until we drift into theâ€¦ whatever that is?â€
â€œApproximately 10 minutes sir.â€
The Captain sighed. The cruise had been a miserable one. Over 500 passengers were on board on their way to see the Rings of New Saturn. These trips were extremely popular because as the planet approached the systems sun, the ice crystals in the ring began to sparkle brightly. It was quite beautiful. This trip was to be extra special as a comet was going to impact the planet while they were there. The impact and plumes of dust would be visible from space. A once in a lifetime experience.
However things had not gone well. They had left a day late due to engine trouble, and only a few hours before they were going to approach the prime viewing spot the hasty repairs had failed. To make matters worse, this trip represented the last of Captain Diggs’ money.
He had mortgaged everything he owned to make this trip. Business had slowed as more competitors had appeared and started taking passengers to the Rings. Now that it seemed likely that he would not make it to the Rings on time, the thought of more complaining customers and their eventual request for refunds gave him a migraine. At the moment he could not think of a way to keep the ship, home for him and his crew, from being put on the auction block.
Now this. Out of nowhere, a â€œholeâ€ in space had appeared directly in front of them. Ships had been encountering these from time to time over the last few hundred years. But the â€œholesâ€ did not last long, usually a day or two at most. And they were rare, so little hard data existed about them, and no one had dared enter one.
Without engine power, the ship was drifting directly towards it.
â€œDoes the computer have any idea of what these things are?â€ The Captain asked.
â€œNothing certain. We could be looking at a parallel dimension or some sort of rip in space-time. Maybe even some sort of portal.â€
â€œWhat happens if we enter it.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know. The potential outcomes range from ceasing to exist, to coming out somewhere else in the universe, to entering a parallel universe. The possibilities are endless.â€
â€œCease to exist?â€
â€œPossibleâ€¦ but unlikely. Most of the data that we have says they lead somewhere, they are just too rare and short lived to get an empirical answer.â€
â€œWhat is our engine status?â€
â€œWeâ€™re working on it. We have maybe 10% of maximum power available. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s enough to stop our drift in time.â€
The Captain paused for a moment. â€œTake us in.â€
â€œLike the man said, they paid for the trip of a lifetime, letâ€™s give them their moneys worth.â€