Author : Roger Dale Trexler

Bruen looked out the viewport into nothing but darkness. Utter, barren blackness.

“I don’t see anything,” he said.

Behind him, a voice said: “Watch this.”

Slowly, the lights in the room faded out. His eyes adjusted slowly to the darkness of the room and he turned once again to the blackness of the void ahead. A hand touched his shoulder, and he jumped.

“Sorry,” Amos Galton said. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“I’m not afraid,” Bruen said.

Galton chuckled. “I know,” he said. “You wouldn’t have volunteered for this mission if you were.” Bruen barely saw a hand reach out and point. “Look over there,” Galton said.

Bruen looked….and he saw. In the distance, less than the size of a credit chip, he saw light.

“That’s the Andromeda galaxy,” Galton said. “That’s where you are going.”

I know,” he replied. “Do you think we’ll make it?”

Galton nodded. “We’re humans,” he said. “We persevere. We’ll make it, all right.” He grinned. “In a hundred years or so, that is.”

Bruen looked out the portal and spied the distant, alien galaxy. The message had been received two years ago. A strange, alien transmission of intelligent origin foretelling of their sun’s imminent death. Scientists were still deciphering the message, but what they had deciphered already told them of a civilization not unlike man. It was a cry for help from a dying civilization, and Bruen’s was to be a part of the rescue team.

“We’ll be dead before we get there,” Bruen said.

“Yup,” said Ganton. “Dead and given a burial in the cold, hard void of intergalactic space. But, our ancestors will make it. They’ll make it there and they’ll help that race whose sun is going supernova. They’re damn lucky we received their message when we did, you know?’

He knew.

“Maybe someone will get to them first?”

“And maybe they won’t,” replied Ganton. “Nothing’s assured in this life, my friend….except death and the tax man.”

He smiled again.

“Won’t be a tax man where we’re going,” Bruen said.

“Nope….and that’s as good a reason to go on this adventure as any,” he said as he reached over and turned the light on again.

Bruen’s eyes adjusted to the new light. He shook his head to ward off the darkness.

Ganton let out a chuckle. He patted Bruen on the back and said: “Have another drink, but do it quickly. We leave for Andromeda in fifteen minutes.”

“Okay,” Bruen said. “Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it,” replied Ganton. “Where we’re going, a lot of things are going to change.”

He smiled again, nodded courteously, then turned and walked out of the spaceport bar.

Bruen turned back and looked at the portal. With the lights on, he could see nothing. Everyone else was already onboard ship, working like a colony of ants to make the void ship ready. His mission to navigate them across the great black void was forthcoming.

He ordered another drink.

He did not hear the hydraulic door hiss open and was startled when a familiar voice said, “you ready?”

He turned and looked into Commander Tori Ennis’s beautiful blue eyes. They are a galaxy unto themselves, he thought.

She smiled.

“Yes,” he said. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”

She let out a soft laugh and smiled wider. “Then come along, sailor,” she said. “We’ve got a galaxy to cross.”

He downed the last of his drink and, as they walked away, he hoped that Tori would be his mate for this long, lonely voyage, and that their children would complete their mission.

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