Small Filters
Published in

Small Filters

Living Memory

The first 3 cars had already passed through the event horizon. She had been watching the reflection against the outer shielding as it raced ever closer.

A fractional change in thrust. Enough. The gravity braces engaged. At most only a mild strain. Like every muscle in the body tensing for an instant. A nuisance. But so much better than the alternative.

The planet below had a remarkably high G for something of its size. Only half earth standard, but still far exceeding initial expectations.

And like that it was gone. Green. Green and white everywhere. It blurred past but looked distinctly like snow covered hillsides. Several vanished suddenly — sinking beneath the surface. Not hillsides.

The two boys barely noticed anything outside. They had been wrestling on the opposing sofa through the last 3 gates and were now strung out watching cartoons on their lenses.

The next gate would be the second to last before they finally arrived on Gilese. Now 4th largest center in the community. With, she seemed to remember, something in the order of half a billion new migrants every year. The 4th industrial revolution was humming along. Moving out here had been an idea at one point. But not with kids. Visiting was hard enough.

It emerged from the haze up ahead like a halo. Last intermediary was Praxis. One of the reasons a lot of people took this route. The world was supposed to be one of the most beautiful and terrifying sights ever discovered by the ETA Exploratory Commission. A surface covered in single celled mega fauna. Interlaced with enormous chiasma discharging a kind of organic holography. A living memory of itself. They said that if you passed close enough you would become part of the planets memory forever. Of course the ETA would build a route through here. Though they dared not stop. Instead, the LEV sped through at mach 5, threading a needle between one gate and the next. Spread just far enough to avoid interference.

The first car entered. Eyes cast out the window again. Always beautiful. These kids. She smiled. Luckier than they knew. Their mum and dad would be happy to see them. Only 1 more.

A snap. The light went red. The sofa inflated. The gravity brace engaged. Searing pain. Another snap.

Eyes open. The LEV had come to a complete stop. She knew this because the event horizon now rippled like nighttime on the ocean roughly 2 feet from her face. 10 seconds. Emergency disengage takes 10 seconds before the wormhole risked destabilizing and the whole thing would be seared in two. 10 seconds might as well have been 10 days. The pain was everything. Shattered. Paralyzed. Choking on her own half-consciousness. Desperation took 3 seconds. Panic lasted for 7. An image of falling. Faces a mix of anguish and surprise. It would be years before a pathway could be re-established.

Night turned into day.
The air turned into poison.
The ground turned into sky.
The children were gone.
But not forgotten.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
The Belligerent Optimist

The Belligerent Optimist

Sociologist, Social Entrepreneur, Sci-Fi nerd.