Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer
“Well let’s see now Mr. Williams, you have your battery charged for over 100,000 hours of usage, plus the suit’s solar absorbers are in good order. Your spots will provide ample light should you land somewhere where it’s night. Of course on your right forearm is your matter analysis spectrometer so you can tell what things will be poisonous or edible. Your medi-pack is fully stocked and of course functional.”
“And my suicide pill?”
The little man in the white lab suit patted the prisoner’s breast pocket. “Don’t you worry young man, we wouldn’t let you go without that. Just because you’re a mass murderer, we’re not inhumane!”
“I told you I’m innocent.”
“Sure Mr. Williams, of course you are.” With a nod toward the two huge guards the test subject was escorted toward and then shoved roughly into the chamber. There was a hiss of steam as the heavy door bolts slid into place.
Suddenly Williams was terrified. “Wait, don’t do it yet… I’ve changed my mind!”
The little man laughed, as did the giant guards. “Changed your mind? You want lethal injection instead of becoming a hero to your race? Please Mr. Williams. The contract is signed, so it doesn’t matter anyway.”
Williams’s shoulders slumped in resignation. “So, how long will I be able to talk to you?”
“After you land the wormhole starts to close almost immediately. We probably have less than a minute, so I need you to describe everything to me as quickly as possible.”
“Then that’ll be it? I’m on my own after that?”
“Yes Mr. Williams. You’ll be free to live your life however you must, wherever in the universe you are.”
Inside the chamber the prisoner was breathing hard and sweating bullets.
The little man typed in a command at his console and there was a hum as the fractal probe began to pick through the trillions of miniscule holes in the froth of the space-time continuum. The program was quick, finding hundreds of distant planets every second, casting aside rejected discoveries as it went.
Too hot, too cold, too much gravity, no magnetic field, inadequate atmosphere, and on it went. Suddenly there was a soft chime. The analysis came up on the display. “Ah it looks like we have our winner; quite nice indeed. Goodbye and good luck Mr. Williams.” He typed in the launch code.
Williams realized that his eyes had been closed. Suddenly he felt a cool breeze on his face and so he hazarded a small glance. In a second his eyes were wide open and his mouth was hanging agape.
“Mr. Williams!” The voice was crackling in his earpiece. “What do you see?”
He answered dreamily. “Tell me again why you can’t find this place a second time?”
“We don’t have time for that. Please, tell me what you see!”
“Not until you tell me why no one else will ever come here.”
“Oh for god sake… because wormholes are countless and always on the move. Trying to find you after this would be like trying to find a microscopic needle in a cosmic haystack. Now tell me what you see!”
Again he answered dreamily. “I’m glad nobody else will ever come here… we’d just ruin this place.”
“Mr. Williams… we’re almost out of time!”
“Wrong. I’ve got all the time in this world.”
He tore out the earpiece and began to walk toward the greenest mountains he’d ever seen. He wanted to drink from the azure pools beneath those mile high waterfalls. Above him a pink and red ringed planet hung between two warm yellow suns.
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