A woman travels to the top of the Universe

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Captain’s log: 12 months 486 of the Interstellar Period, Terran Common Time estimated to be 3 April, 4:22 p.m.

My try to check a binary pair of supermassive black holes theorized to type the centre of the Morellian galaxy has gone astray, with a sequence of unlikely interstellar phenomena, starting with a gravitational eddy, leading to my ship being thrown hundreds of thousands of sunshine years to what could be described solely because the Finish of the Universe — the unstable barrier between every little thing and nothing, presence and absence, life and dying. Humanity has lengthy questioned what could be out right here within the farthest reaches of area, and I’m right here to inform you: I discovered a pet.

Not a typical pet, after all, and never even a canine within the sense of Canis familiaris; fairly, a type of creature concerning the measurement of a one-year-old golden retriever with a dense, cloudlike fur that sheds throughout Cargo Bay 3. If left to its personal units, the wisps and tufts of shed fur accrete into stormy patches, like miniature stellar nurseries, and should be contained in pressure fields or tossed out of the closest airlock to stop harm to the structural integrity of the ship. I’ve discovered no proof by any means that the creature intends to hurt both me or the ship, or that it’s conscious of the hazard its shedding poses.

Since boarding the ship, it has finished nothing however toddle about, roll round and cuddle into my lap like a canine. Its legs, similar to they’re, seem unaccustomed to gravity past that discovered, say, on a comet or a big asteroid. However the limbs, being fabricated from some accretive substance in contrast to bone and tissue, have proved extremely adaptable to simulated terran gravity and ambiance, and the creature has been capable of snuffle throughout Cargo Bay 3, although not with no few lovely stumbles. Observe: I exploit the phrase ‘snuffle’ right here not as a result of I’ve confirmed the presence of an olfactory system however as a result of the sound it makes is precisely like a canine exploring its environment, sneezing at every new discovery.

Upon scouring the ship’s (admittedly restricted) database, I might discover no recognized lifeform matching the creature’s measurement and outline. Nevertheless, there was one report from a starship exploring deep within the Omega Cluster that encountered a being able to spontaneously producing proto-nebula (apparently, when startled or passing fuel), in addition to rumours of purported area eagles able to siphoning diatomic hydrogen from dense nebulas and halting the manufacturing of recent stars. In each instances, the creatures have been described as too massive and bird-like to be an excellent match. So plainly I’ve stumbled throughout the unknown.

5 April, 2:46 a.m.

After failing to manage the creature’s waking and restfulness durations for 2 consecutive days, I’ve renewed sympathy for the dad and mom of infants and younger animals. How my moms managed to delivery me, alternate feeding and altering duties, and keep their very own senses of self whereas working a restore station in orbit over Jupiter is past me. Then once more, what different choice did they’ve? If I needed to, I might merely shoo the little creature out of the airlock, and inside a minute or two its limbs would desolidify and adapt again to the void so it might go snuffle concerning the Cosmos, like earlier than our encounter; however for some purpose I can’t. Each time I let it out to do its enterprise, I inform myself I’ll go to warp and begin looking for spatial phenomena that may transport me again to the Milky Means, or at the least just a few hundred mild years nearer, however then I look into its huge shimmering eyes, that glittering mixture of guilt and mischief on its face each time it barfs up all of the uncooked supplies of a star, and I simply can’t deliver myself to go away.

11 April, 8:39 p.m.

Let it’s recognized I’ve spent all day repairing the ship after an surprising assault this morning and now I’m formally too exhausted to maneuver and am recording this log from mattress, the place the creature (which I’ve nicknamed Cumulus) is sleeping beside me. They’ve proved to be a really precious companion within the wake of the assault, which was perpetrated by a gaggle that calls itself the Guardians of the Backyard, the place ‘backyard’ is a poetic euphemism for the fertile mattress of life that’s the ever-expanding fringe of the Universe, with its freshly shaped stellar nurseries. In being right here, I had unknowingly violated the Decree of Common Safety that, regardless of its identify, is under no circumstances common, as a result of plainly solely these civilizations closest to the sting have been made conscious of it or the results of breaking it. I didn’t even have time to clarify that my presence right here was the results of an accident earlier than the Guardians fired. Once I make it to one in every of their worlds, I’ll should have a chat with them about what a mistake is and easy methods to react to 1 accordingly. Within the meantime, I’m simply glad Cumulus was right here. With out them, I don’t know that I might’ve been capable of restore the ship’s hull. Each time I wanted a brand new device, it appeared, Cumulus was proper there, barfing it up. First, a laser drill, then a bathtub of sealant, then a kilometre-long cable of plated wiring for the broken inside. What might’ve taken six weeks to copy, restore and set up took all of six hours. In mild of this, I believe it might be prudent to permit Cumulus to journey with me for so long as they care to. Who is aware of? Possibly they’ll comply with me all the best way house.

The story behind the story

Ruth Joffre reveals the inspiration behind A woman travels to the top of the Universe.

My pandemic challenge has been to lastly get into Star Trek. Three-plus years in, I’m nonetheless working by all the fabric (there are a whole lot of reveals and flicks!), however I can say that within the Star Trek vs Star Wars debate I’m now firmly workforce Star Trek. For this story, I needed to make use of the idea of the captain’s log so usually seen in Star Trek however take it out of the setting of a Starfleet ship and provides it to somebody travelling alone within the huge wilds of area, with no crew to assist her. Enter the ‘pet’. Often, there aren’t a whole lot of pets in Star Trek, so this creature was a whole lot of enjoyable to write down.

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