Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer

I have been obsessed with The Cord all my life.

A full century before my birth, scientists detected the tip of the strange tendril undulating and probing at the outer edge of our oort cloud. As far as anyone knew it was without end, as we tracked its incredible length with our best telescopes, lighting it with lasers along the way. It ran for light-years through our galaxy; a continuous silvery strand, only some fifteen meters in diameter, made from unknown material, seemingly reaching out to us. Why here? Where might it lead us? Who presented this strange specimen? Could this possibly be some key to the unaccounted for mass of our universe?

The biggest discovery thus far has come from the famed Warden’s Ring. Named after an early explorer who fashioned a small ring-shaped machine around the circumference of The Cord in order to measure its uniformity of girth over a substantial distance. But then as the device was activated, something incredible and inexplicable happened. Instead of trundling forward at its preprogrammed crawl of less than twenty thousand kilometers per hour, the ring suddenly accelerated along The Cord with incredible force, and disappeared from all sensors in a matter of seconds. At last transmission Warden’s Ring had been approaching .09 of light speed and was still accelerating exponentially.

Like all of the other exploratory ring machines sent since, it has never come back.

Over a thousand tests have taken place now. Many living samples including lichens, plants, fungi and animals, have been sent off on their one-way journeys aboard bigger and better ring-shaped vessels, wrapped around their mysterious rail, pushing off into oblivion.

Advances in tracking these test machines and retrieving data from onboard cameras before they completely accelerate beyond our perception have enabled us to ascertain that, for as far as we know, every single living thing thus far studied, survives unscathed. The Cord acts not only as an accelerator, but also seems to eradicate the effects of inertia on its passengers. In my humble opinion, it is a purposely-designed transporter specifically built for interstellar travel.

But I will find out soon enough. My companions and I have supplies and life-support enough for a decade. After that, who knows? Will The Cord somehow keep us alive? No one can say for certain, but for right now I feel safe.

The engines of our vessel begin to hum as their charge builds up. What will we find? I have asked this question ten thousand times in my head. The people of Earth postulate many things. Mainly I don’t listen. I am certain with all my heart that The Cord is not the end of some cosmic fishing line, as some have hypothesized, waiting to reel us in for dinner. Ridiculous!

I instead dwell on the positive, declaring officially that 186,000 miles per second is not the universal speed limit… only the posted one. And I know deep down in my soul that something wonderful is about to happen. Although we have ten years worth of supplies, I somehow doubt we will need to rely on these stores for even a single day. I truly believe that some far-off intelligence has sent us an invitation, like an open welcoming hand, and all we have to do is take hold, so they can draw us toward their wonderful corner of the galaxy and introduce us to the secrets of the universe.

The engines push us forward and as the stars suddenly stretch out into thin laser-beam lines, I continue to daydream with a big grin on my face.


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