Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer


They called it a slingshot planet. It had what was known as a linear pendulum orbit.

So far it was the only one on record. It was caught in a gravity well between four stars of different colours. It was a planetoid that tried to thread the needle and failed every two months, nearly escaping before being pulled back through. Like a giant playing catch with itself.

Uniquely stable as far as the scientists could tell, it had been going up and down (or back and forth depending on how you looked at it) for nearly half a billion years.

The four suns were a white dwarf, a blue dwarf, a red giant, and a yellow sun like Earth’s.

The ‘orbit’ took two months. Standing on the Luminaris, a person would see the four stars huddled on the horizon to the east while at its furthest point, a bright quartet of glittering color nearly lost in the endless field of billions of quiet points of light. Then the ‘left’ orbit started and the planet sped backwards, the four zenith stars growing larger and brighter as they got closer to Luminaris. Those four stars spread farther apart, obliterating the sky with light as the planet passed through the eye of the needle and experienced a four way ‘sunfall’ from each compass point. It sweltered in the kiln of the four eyes of a cruel god as the suns washed it in radiation and then spat it out again. Then the suns dwindled to the west and the sky got dark until they huddled on the opposite horizon, waiting to grow and return to the east during the ‘right’ orbit.

For one month in between the suns, it was a permanent sunset of plaid in the sky. Sunrays shone from four different directions in four different colours, making the clouds into a circus-clown cotton-candy rainbow gallery of stripes and swirls.

The most brilliant aurora borealis of any recorded planet rippled through the clouds to add to the fun, riddling the magnetosphere with greens, yellows, purples and reds so bright that they were clear during the daylight. Shades of every colour bloomed and washed through the sky. Even new colours were invented here.

Artists wept. Writers tried in vain to capture the hues. Some people went mad from looking at it.

To go there was very expensive. People could be heard saying for the rest of their lives, with as much condescension as possible, “Oh that’s a nice green but it’s not a Lumigreen. You know what I mean? Of course you don’t. It’s like, well, it’s hard to say. You just had to be there.”

I’ve been here for eighteen years now. I was the mankind’s first trillionaire after finding a way to mine the asteroid belts. I tired of the pressures of big business and allowed a few squabbling mining corporations to buy me out. I can afford to live the rest of the days here on Luminaris and I plan to do just that.

I’m a nomad by choice here, walking from resort town to resort town across the desert of Luminaris while the storm of colour comes and goes above me. I’m mistaken for a vagabond for the most part and I don’t mind.

The sky talks to me. The colours riot. People have told me I’m delusional but the sky tells me the truth. The colours have told me how to live a life of complete peace. Buddhism seems belligerent in comparison.

The colours wash my smiling face as I walk under a kaleidoscope rainbow firestorm of epiphany.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows

%d bloggers like this: