Terrapin Station

It’s turtles all the way down.

Build Spaceships
Oct 19, 2019 · 3 min read
Image for post
Image for post

Seven thousand years after discovering the secret of teleportation, Melock the Wise, the greatest conjuror in the universe, passed through the glass doors of the station that connected every cosmos with every other sphere of activity in all of reality. The barefoot old man in simple ascetic robes looped his long white hair up in a messy top knot, wiggled his toes on the cold diamond floor, and ran a hand down the length of his spindly Fu-Manchu mustache.

The ancient theory of the world floating on the back of an elephant that stood upon a turtle was assumed to be a myth. The question of what the turtle stood on was answered: another turtle. And what’s under that? It’s turtles all the way down.

Melock’s extensive research on the subject suggested it wasn’t the world that sat on the back of an elephant but the universe. After consuming the scientific history of eleven galaxies he concluded that only the elephant was a myth. Hidden within his amassed knowledge floated an impression, a puzzle, a treasure hunt of an infinite magnitude.

The idea that every universe had a point that touched every other universe became an obsession. His powers of teleportation could take him to any known place, anywhere he’d been before, or any reasonable coordinates.

The clones of #71EEB8 space with their quantum computers and immortality couldn’t make heads or tails of Melock’s process. They wanted to understand his power source and his matter transformation technique. He graced their academy of science with a demonstration and the packed stadium of identical silver-skinned bald men in matching seafoam green flight suits stared on in astonishment. They assumed he used some kind of undetectable microtechnology.

The witches of the western woods, old hags though they were, knew it was magic.

Melock hopped worlds and commandeered ships for so long he wasn’t sure where he was from, only that he was of this nameless universe and for the first time ever would travel to another. Every universe has but one station at its center and all connected to each other. It’s rumored they float in empty space like train stations to nowhere, though theoretically they could be located just about anywhere.

The clear doors of the tiny one-room portal closed with a whisper as a pangalactic deep space cruiser pulled away and resumed its course among the stars. Melock took a deep breath of the stale atmosphere and stepped up to the glossy redwood paneled elevator. Its digital display showed a stack of pale blue pixelated turtles, some with names and some without, each representing a different universe to travel to. Few had any recognizable letter patterns.

Melock slid his hand over the controls rolling the stack of turtles in one direction and then another; an infinite list that wasn’t repeating. He stopped the dial and selected a terrapin with no name. The elevator doors opened with white light and the wizard stepped inside.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium