Author : Olivia Black, Staff Writer

Cold. For so long it has only know the frigid expanse of deep space, numb to the wonders, and horrors, of the galaxy. In this solitary existence, time has no meaning. It knows nothing, feels nothing as it hurtles ever forward, eon upon eon. There is only the cold.

And then heat, a burning so intense that it screams into awareness it barely comprehends. Something has entered its path. No, not entered, but drawn it onto a new course, one of resistance and fire. The thick cocoon of ice that has ever sheltered and protected it begins to melt away. The superheated vapour sizzles and snaps as the pressure shifts. Without the frozen shell, there is only the pitted core, forged at the centre of the universe. It becomes aware of a new sensation as the whistling air screams and pops on contact, roaring impossibly loudly as it careens downward in an uncontrollable descent.

The fall is interminable. Rock splits and peels away, disintegrating into dust and flaming away as gravity digs her greedy fingers ever deeper into the core. The centre cannot hold. It does not want this existence, struggling as painful fissures form that threaten to rend it into many pieces. Not even that will stop it from crashing into the immovable green orb. It longs to feel the cold again, and the silence.

Impact. Sudden, screeching halt. The ground quakes and quivers, as a tidal wave of dirt and rock rises up in every direction, moved by the sheer force of its collision with the surface. And then the upheaval stops. For the first time in its long existence, it is not in motion. There is quiet again. Not the silence of the dead void of space, but merely of the absence of life. The air sizzles around it as what remains of its core begins to cool. The fissures deepen and spread over its surface, creating a rich topography. Though it is greatly diminished from what it once was, this new existence is tolerable. The green orb is neither cold nor hot.

As equilibrium is achieved, there is a shift. The fissures widen and crack, expanding from the centre. The pitted metal falls away in chunks. It wants to wail, but has no voice. It wants to hide, but finds no shelter. The light from the orbiting star filters through the atmosphere, blinding it. It has never known anything other than darkness. There is no return to what was.

Now, it feels the weight of time passing as it adjusts. Four spindly legs emerge from the centre, finding purchase on the scorched ground with pad and claw. Spurs and spines adorn the joints of each leg as it tests the strength of these appendages. They appear adequate. It raises its body up out of the shell of the meteor, blinking its two sets of eyes. The air tastes… sweet, unspoiled. Its oily black carapace glints in the sunlight. The climb out of the crater will be a long one, but the wonders of the green orb away it. At last, it is alive.