P’lar readied himself for another battle.

He didn’t know how long it had been since he had arrived out here. He didn’t remember sleeping, so it could have been only hours. But on the other hand, he couldn’t remember doing anything but this, fighting the Void out here in the middle of whitespace. So for all he knew, it could have been months. Or even years.

His original mission, he remembered, was to explore the very reaches of the universe, to follow the stars as far as they could go. And they took him out here, into this realm of infinite whiteness, in the middle of nothing, an emptiness that felt calm, peaceful, serene.

But it had only lasted so long. At first, he’d just seen one blob out there, one vortex, or field or whatever it was. Purely black, spotlighted against the bright white field around him, and moving, back and forth, towards him slowly. The sensors gave no usable readings when he tried to scan it, but there was no time anyway. He could tell just from looking at it through the viewport: It was evil.

There was no way the attack could ever reach back through the galaxies, back across the stars, to P’lar’s home planet. He had to stop it, in whatever way he could. The exploration ship he piloted didn’t have anything in the way of weapons, and P’lar doubted that the small arms on board would do anything to repel the oncoming vortex.

So he made a decision, calmly and quickly. And piloted his ship right into the path of the blob itself. He made it with a few seconds to spare, and momentarily considered recording a message, writing something, trying to save something that might one day make it back to his home planet, might one day let his people know what he had done for them. But there wasn’t time. He merely steadied himself, held the ship in place, braced for the oncoming impact.

It arrived, and the ship shook. And held.

The blob attacked, smashed into the ship’s front … and bounced off. It spun back the way it had come, back away from P’lar’s universe, back away from the ship, in the direction it had come. P’lar breathed a sigh of relief, ran a diagnostic on the ship’s systems, and glanced back through the viewport.

What he saw shook him to the core. The vortex was back. And it had a twin, bouncing with it in the opposite direction.

Behind it, a huge field of the same black energy pushed on, creeping towards his ship slowly, onward and threatening.

P’lar had gritted his teeth, that first time, and had defended as best he could, placing his ship in the path of blob after blob, bouncing them off and away as quickly as possible. The field itself swirled and threatened ever closer, and P’lar beat back void after void, each one hammering into his ship and bouncing off.

For minutes, or maybe hours, he did this, smashing each bit of evil energy back and away from his home far behind him. And after what had seemed too long, after the huge swirling field had come almost too close, it began to recede. He had to check his sensors to be sure, to confirm his ship wasn’t itself moving backwards, pushed back by the force there. But no — the field that spread in front of him was falling back.

Even that victory was only temporary — a base roar spread out across the volume in front of him, something not felt through sound or air (certainly, all of this took place in an empty vacuum), but through P’lar’s own mind. It rattled in his brain, shook his spine, made his very core tremor. And when it was over, the viewport showed the field marching back towards him, this time coming faster, even as various black voids bounced in their own careful speed in his direction.

This time, however, something was different. There, on the far side of the field, there was a flash of white, then two or three. And there, in the middle … The void swirled out of the way to reveal … a full block of white. P’lar gaped — it was a ship. Just like his — the same dimensions, the same volumes, same shape and size. It was a ship just like his own exploratory vessel.

But it was pure white, standing out from the oncoming energy. And just as the roar had transmitted itself through some medium far outside any science or physical phenomena, so too did the white ship in front of P’lar speak. It spoke, directly to him, in a voice calm and alien.

HELLO, P’LAR, it said. WE MEET AGAIN.

(to be continued)



Posted on Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 at 4:18 am. Filed under general.
You are reading mikeschramm.com, a collection of work by Mike Schramm.

This post appears in the category. To see more posts like this one, you can browse the category archives, or browse the full archives.