We met late in the month not too far from Terabeak Lake, the air held an intense sulfur stench that lingered endlessly. There was no escaping the rotten egg aroma, no matter where you went on this god-forsaken moon. The sky, if you could call it that, was its usual lavender hue. During the moon’s 5 month light cycle, it’s orbit around the gas planet Pearsnap reflects it’s argon atmosphere to most of the visible light seen on this old rock. Of course, when Asterra abandoned this star system it didn’t bother to finish the terraforming here or even give this old sulfur ball a name besides its mundane designation of Pearsnap 7. Asterra isn’t the most creative bunch out here, Earth really is the epicenter of imagination for this little federation we’re a part of now and that’s saying a lot.
I’m fairly sure the Mars ShipsCourt wouldn’t approve of my little endeavor, but success would mean cementing my place in the echelons of the cosmos. Isn’t that what we all want anyways? Some sort of legacy to leave behind, or at least a large ship for all my troubles? This wasn’t my idea to begin with really. Imagine my intrigue with I received a communique from some chap named Xv Sarium, he acquired detailed plans for Asterra’s attempt to create an einstein-rosen bridge using the geothermal energy from Pearsnap 7 and the unusually strong magnetic radius of this system’s star. I believe Xv Sarium called it a ‘dimension suckle’, whatever its called, wormholes are fairly universal. Creating one that has any meaningful stability or use is infinitely more difficult than theorizing their plausibility.
A loud whistle began to sound in the thin atmosphere above. The whistling grew louder and far above Terabeak’s oozing fog clouds came a large ship. Xv Sarium knows flare, he’s an expert at it, he always chooses the newest tech and things that shine. He really loves shiny tech, no matter how evolved we think we are, there is always just one new shiny throttle assembly or chrome plated power converter to make us lose our collective shit over.
A long slender beast hovered gently over the Lake, its landing struts were black silicate bearing-balls that were far more pronounced than needed. The hull seemed to absorb the light from Terabeak, only to mirror the broadness of the water beneath, it screamed in the pride of being the only stable water source on the terraformed moon. Two large rings crossed each other directly in the middle of the ship, the sleek soft colored metal of the rings still vibrated with all lights of the spectrum after calming down from its Alcubierre warp trip. Or as Asterra prefers to call it, Tachyon Hopping. Won’t even go into how much imagination that name illicit.
Xv Sarium landed his ship malevolently, meticulously, and the stair deck opened just as painstakingly. The ship was designed to impale all who viewed it’s hull with an envy that was imbued with contempt. Sarium is a tall fella, an average build, and stark black spiky hair; he always wears long dark robes with a white collared shirt that sprawled up his neck. He was alone. Just as he said he would be, so we surely have an honest fella here, but a ship that large? Is all that pomp and circumstance necessary?
“Xv Sarium, how nice to meet you in person at last!” I spoke feigning a genuine greeting. Sure, it was good to finally put this plan into action and get my well deserved payday. I just wasn’t expecting this primp and proper Asterran diplomatic envoy vessel, it’s a little unnerving.
“Salutations Captain Vautrot. I am pleased to commence experimentation on the dimension suckle generator.” He walked off the platform towards my direction. “Did you bring the inertial dampening system?”
“Yes, it’s back in the subterranean base, and call me James.” I replied, sensing the awkwardness radiating off of Xv Sarium for needing tech from Sol. Afterall, it was the whole reason Asterra abandoned the base, they couldn’t control the gravitational effects of the wormhole in real time, or so they say. Not only can the artificial intelligence-laced inertial dampener account for gravitational distortion, our tech can anticipate future fluctuations by recognizing patterns.
“So you found the underground labs?” Xv Sarium looked at me with his eyebrows arched, as if he thought it was in jest that i could find such a place. “That is fortunate, as I was unable to secure the credentials needed to gain entrance into the base. How were you able to proceed past the bulkheads?”
“It was not difficult Xv Sarium, a simple turn based algorithm easily unencrypted with an Echo-Picker.” Honestly, it’s always been a wonder how Asterra had advanced so far beyond us technologically but never created artificial intelligence. We are catching up with them quite quickly because of it, well not myself particularly. The Echo-Picker came into my possession in a less-than-admirable manner, but that’s a story for another time.
“Please, call me Sarium. Titles are so dreary to keep up with, not 6 months ago I was but a lowly Sv.” Dodging the question, Sarium paced towards my jump pod. It failed miserably in comparison to his ship.
The J-Pods had enough room for about 2 people comfortably and had enough stored negative energy for about 120 lightyears travel and its sublight motors could bring the ship to about 5 AU an hour in optional conditions. She was a fast pod, but one of her Alcubierre rings had come into minor contact with an angry astroid in the Kuiper. Never let someone tell you that it’s impossible to run into an asteroid by accident, given enough inebriant in combination with trying to escape the Shipscourt, and one of those dusty old rocks is bound to make an appearance at the forward hull.
“The entrance is this way Sarium, the sooner we start then the quicker we can leave this dreadful moon.” Sarium was slightly startled as he looked away from the J-Pod, clearly wondering how we even left our home planet.
“Agreed James, today we make history.” His face twitched giving hint of an impending smile, but it never showed.
I led him through the entrance and down the ever-winding stair fleets to the base floor. I never really understood how Asterra could build the sister base in high orbit above the sun, and create this one with the exact same quantum signature. It would require a sophistication of tech far beyond anything i’ve seen from Asterra before, even the walls and floors seemed to be a form of architecture that would be insanely possible to build. Every part of the base seemed to be created from one solid piece of metal or an alloy of some sort, there were no seems or bolts anyplace. Other than the bulkhead that closed on hinges, there were no doors or sliding curtains to section off rooms to designate privacy. Ive been aboard Asterran bases and ships many times before, and none of it were made in this fashion.
“Out of curiosity Sarium, why hasn’t Asterra made any more structures like this one? This seems to be a flawless design.”
Sarium looked around at the halls on the way to the control room. “These labs were built centuries ago, we have moved to more practical solutions in engineering.”
Once in the main control room, Sarium wasted no time and began to press away on the consoles. Screens lit up and symbols and shapes of all sort sprang into view. The wall behind the consoles suddenly lit up and where once it was a rough metal alloy, it became a transparent glass that showed a room on the other side. It was a large auditorium like hall, 30 times larger than the room we were in now. In the back of the great hall there was a black square platform that appeared to be at least a 1000 square meters, and dangling about half a kilometer in the air was a broad claw-like mechanism with 3 pylons arching towards the ground below.
“Sarium, you look as if you are bewildered by what you see. Is this not part of the schematics you say that you found in your government’s archives?”
He quickly snapped out of his confusion and turned to look at me. “It’s your government too James, isn’t that what an alliance is? And of course, this is all according to plan, no worries.”
“When someone says not to worry, it’s the precise moment when there is an extreme cause to be worried. There is something you aren’t telling me?” The entire control room began to flash red lights and the all the screens that Sarium had turned on began to flash the same line of symbols.
Sarium turned to face the monitor and then he turned back to look at me, he had the most horrified look on his face. “Brace yourself James.”
The large pylons in the room on the other side of the glass began to spin, they contracted inward and outward. Like a claw closing and opening it’s hand. A loud baritone sound started, it was unbearingly loud. It was as if a thousand gears started to grind against each other with a deep ocean-like bass. It grew louder and louder and i couldn’t even hear myself think.
“Connect your inertial dampener to the large round port in the corner.” Sarium yelled as loud as he could as he pointed to the location of the computer system I needed to connect the tech.
“Understood.” I yelled back, the noise grew louder still and i doubt he heard me. The spinning of the claws spun even faster, so many rotations a second, it wasn’t possible to discern individual pylons any longer.
My body became disoriented, moving each leg towards the port became a task i had to focus on completely. It was as if as the claws spinning faster slowed my mind respectively. I became more unbalanced with every step. I fed the wiring from the device i smuggled out of the Shipscourt into the port. I was able to wrap the thin metal wiring that stuck out around one of the leads that led into the access port like wrapping conductive alloys around a coil.
Instantly the lights went back to normal yellow hue and the noise ceased. My mind began to refocus and I was able to look on the other side of the glass without a searing headache. The pylons kept spinning but they seemed to open up fully now that they were stabilized and instead of closing again there was a violet light emitting from the pylons and a thick fog like material began to fill the room.
“We did it James, the dimension suckle is forming to the sister base orbiting the sun..” Sarium now actually had a smile on his face, a broad teeth-showing grin.
“It’s a wormhole, just say wormhole.” I smiled back.
A large spinning violet light began to form in the center of the platofrm as the claws kept spinning. A loud humming noise started up again, and cracks began forming on the glass wall.
“What’s happening Sarium?”
“I don’t know. It seems that the suckle’s gravity is becoming too dense.”
“Shut it down Sarium. Now.” I ran over to the panels to help if needed.
“I don’t know how James.” He looked defeated. The glass began to chip in front of us and in the room the walls began to tear apart. Large pieces of metal, lights, and glass flew into the wormhole.
“What do you mean you don’t know how? Just look for the off button or something.”
“I can’t read these screens, i don’t know what they say. The truth is Asterra never could translate this language. This base was here long before Asterra began to explore space. We didn’t build this.”