FICTION

Giant

by A.T. Sayre

There wasn't even a moment of light-headedness coming out of the jump. That in itself was something to get used to. Twenty-nine years of space travel made me instinctively anticipate those first few seconds after the return to normal space, when your vision blurs and the nausea rolls over you like a pulse. You learn to close your eyes and hold your breath because that helps.

 

But on the Chapman there's nothing. These new drives glide so smoothly from hyperspace back into the universe that they leave old hands like me gritting my teeth like a fool before I remember. All I can do till I break the habit is quietly let out the breath and open my eyes. And hope none of these kids on my crew noticed.

 

We came into the Mendri system more precisely than threading a needle. Re-entering normal space within the gravitational influence of the red dwarf forty-five million kilometers away, three million kilometers above the orbital plane. Mendri Prime, the planetoid that was our ultimate destination, was almost directly below us at -.03 on the y-axis. I couldn’t help but smile. A sixteen parsec jump and we dropped back into normal space exactly where I ordered. All we needed to do now was push against the gravity of the star a little and let the system overtake us. In three days we would drift gently down into a stable orbit around the planetoid.

 

It felt like overkill to send us on this mission. That little world down there had been raising eyebrows at Astro for years. But they should have sent a science vessel to investigate it, not us. Yet here we were, given this detour on our way out to Obsidian sector patrol. Things had been calm there recently so command didn't think we'd be missed for a week or two. I was hoping this side trip wouldn’t even take that long.

 

After an hour I decided to go for a walk and left the descent into orbit to my XO. She was an impressive officer, like all of the four thousand some-odd kids under my command. Full of energy, quick to duty, there was not so much as a hair out of place on a single one of them. Each member of my executive staff was capable enough to have their own ships if they wanted. Hell, you couldn't even get on my galley crew unless you were in the top percentile at the academy. And all under the command of someone who enlisted as a lowly recruit long before any of them were born.

 

I had no particular destination in mind. Up one level, along officers' row, down two more through weapon battery Gamma six, then into one of the starboard infirmaries. The beds were all empty except for a young engineer who was having a burn treated on his forearm by the doctor on call. He had brushed against a vent pipe while finishing some maintenance work on the engine exhaust in the port thruster array. As he told me about it he almost sounded embarrassed at not being perfect. I smiled at him understandingly, hoping it would put his mind at ease and left.

 

The SS Chapman is the top of the line, the newest and most powerful vessel in the galaxy. Nothing anywhere could match it. Five kilometers from bow to stern and twenty levels tall, it was a sleek, imposing figure in the black. Only a couple years out of dock and it was revered, maybe even feared, by every sentient being. It alone was the equal to the entire Pelox Armada. The Aurvos had nothing close to it either. Not even the Greys had anything as advanced as this vessel under my command, the great, gleaming flagship of the Human Empire.

 

After a few hours of aimless wandering I took a tube back to my quarters and opened up the report on the Mendri system. Red dwarf star, spectral type M. It had one tiny orbiting planetoid, but beyond that there wasn’t so much as a minor asteroid belt. The universe was full of systems like this one, insignificant stars drifting through the void alone or with only minor company.

 

Mendri Prime was just a little over nine hundred kilometers in diameter. Barely even a planetoid at that size. It had first been discovered ages ago, before the Ganymede Wars or the conquest of the Nirimbis, even before all the first contacts when we were still alone. Before jump drives and colonial expansion—even before the first Mars colony. Back when all of those great moments of Human history were just a dream, one of those ancient orbital telescopes had recorded this star's wobble among the first ten thousand we had found.

 

With all the rest it was measured, cataloged, and promptly forgotten. The orbital plane didn't line up with Earth's vantage, so they couldn't use the transit method to learn anything else. All they could tell was that the star had one orbiting body, and calculated from its radial velocity it was likely a gas giant with a close orbit. A 'hot Jupiter' as they used to call them. Not the usual system configuration, a gas giant being in that close, but not particularly rare either.

 

Which is the thing: Mendri Prime is not a gas giant. It’s a fraction of that size. And it shouldn't have that kind of gravitational force on its parent star. A gas farm syndicate in the Ovilluud system doing initial stellar surveys had noticed. Mendri's orbital plane was perfect from their vantage for transit observation, and in their survey of what the historical records told them was a gas giant, all they found was this tiny little rock, the dip in the star's light just barely recordable as it crossed. Thinking it was just an error in the database—and also not a gas giant so of no financial interest to them, they sent their findings on to Earth command and promptly moved on.

 

But it wasn't an error. The radial velocity measurements taken all those centuries ago were correct—Astro confirmed it when they checked. Yet the transit observation data from the syndicate, showing a planetoid barely big enough to be a proper moon of Jupiter, let alone have the gravitational force of it, was also correct. As were the radial velocity measurements taken from four other systems spread out over the Empire.

 

It was a mystery. Or maybe more a curiosity. A strange little system near nothing, with odd properties no one could quite understand. But it wasn't like the fate of the universe or even the Empire was at risk. Astrotechs liked to talk about it, and a paper or two was published speculating about what could be going on in the strange Mendri system. It even got a little play in the newsfeeds, where it got a nickname: Giant. But apart from cute wordplay and the occasional dinner conversation between scientists, nobody anywhere thought all that much about it.

 

Sooner or later someone was going to be sent to find answers. But it could wait till the peace was achieved, the Empire secured. There was a whole universe to exist in and deal with and important matters that affected the Empire would always come first. A tiny little rock, no matter how odd the data, would never be a priority. But even the most insignificant things get looked at eventually—when there’s time. And five years later, here we were.

 

I closed the file and slouched back in my chair, staring up at the ceiling. This mission was not the job of a warship. We’re meant to keep the peace, not dawdle with curiosities. The numerous factions in the Obsidian sector could start shooting at each other again at any moment without the Empire there to tell them to sit the hell down and play nice with each other. That’s where we were needed, not on this side trip to a pebble in the black to satisfy a bet between a couple of ranking Astrotechs.

 

But those were our orders. And you don’t shirk your duty just because you don’t think the job is worthy. I tried to think of it all as an extra week or two of rest before our real tour began. A chance to shake out the new batch of ensigns that came aboard at the last station.

 

So into the system, look around for a bit, find out the mystery was a glitch in someone’s math, and then off to the shipping lanes in the Obsidian sector and our real duty.

 

That’s all this would amount to. I was sure of it.

 

#

 

We settled down into an equatorial orbit one thousand kilometers above Giant, halfway between it and an odd little moonlet we discovered as we approached. The planetoid was out to starboard, its edge rolling lazily by. It was a dull, gray looking place, with no major geographical features or atmosphere. I stood at the screen on the bridge staring at it, looking for any break in the terrain.

 

“Captain, orbital decay increasing by .09 percent.”

 

I rubbed my eyes. “Increase velocity to compensate.”

 

Dr. Achebe stood next to me, scouring over the pad in his hands. “Even from this distance its gravity has a strong pull on us,” he said, grinning to himself. The crew had been as professional as always, but Achebe was probably the only person genuinely excited about this mission.

 

“So I take it the radial velocity measurements are confirmed.” I said to him.

 

“We confirmed that when we entered the system. It reads at 21.456 meters per second, which is just below Jupiter. Also detecting no magnetosphere. Or tectonic activity. No radiation or heat of any kind, actually. Average surface temperature is 267.49 kelvins, but that is all radiant energy coming from the star. Not so much as a fraction of a degree coming from Giant itself.” Achebe did a double take. “I mean-"

 

“It's fine. Just don't call it that in the report.”

 

He nodded curtly. “Of course, sir. But back to the point, the planetoid is completely inert.”

 

“Not what you expected?”

 

Achebe looked out at Giant, shaking his head. “I thought there would have to be geothermal activity in its core. Normally for an object this size it wouldn't be surprising for it to be inactive. But with the kind of density this planetoid has to have to generate this much gravitational pull—the pressure in its core must be incredible. Maybe more than any rocky planet in the known universe. But there's nothing. Not even a little energy generated from the tidal effect of its proximity to the star. It's as cold as an ice cube.”

 

I furrowed my brow. Didn’t have to be a science officer to know that was odd. “What can you say about the geology?”

 

“We can only penetrate a couple hundred meters. And so far we're seeing mostly carbon, iron, a few other silicates, some small pockets of condensed oxygen. That's probably little more than the space dust it's pulled in and collected over time. Past that down to the real planetoid underneath all the normal scans are repelled.”

 

“Not giving up its secrets easily, is it?”

 

“No, sir. Though we expected the scans would not work on something as dense as the data showed Giant to be. That's why we sent the dish out.” Achebe turned to the Navigator, Simmons. “What is the ETA on that?”

 

Simmons looked up from his console. “Dish approaching diametric orbit of the planetoid in four minutes.”

 

Achebe nodded and turned back to me. “I'm heading down to the lab to see the results as soon as they start coming in. Captain?”

 

“All right. Wuornos, you have the bridge,” I said as I followed Achebe out.

 

It's a neat little trick using the dish. First time I've ever had a chance to try it. Shortly after we reached equatorial orbit, we dropped our five-hundred-meter-wide independent sensor dish out behind us to drift in a stationary orbit as we continued on ahead. Once it reached diametric opposition to our own orbit around Giant, it accelerated to match our speed and angle and maintain a relative position on the exact opposite side of the planetoid from the ship.

 

At that point we start sending a concentrated beam of specialized neutrinos at the dish through the planetoid, and it records their passing and relays the data back to us. We can then take that data and compare it to the state of the particles when they left the ship to calculate the nature of all the matter the beam passed through between us and the dish. After one full orbit we move northwards and the dish south, and repeat the process until the entire volume is covered. In a little over two days we’d have a complete geological map of the planetoid. It used to take months, if not years.

 

By the time we arrived at the lab the dish was already sending back information. Achebe quickly walked over to the computer bank and buried himself in the raw data. In the center of the room was a holographic projection of the planetoid. It rotated slowly and was mostly transparent, barely more than a ghost, except for the bright transection that grew slowly along the equator like a bow tie, as the data coming from the dish was fed into the model. I took a step closer and studied the scanned area. The thin surface of dust, the few hundred meters that we already knew about, was little more than a thin gray border. Inside of that was all white. The real planet underneath.

 

The detail on the hologram was impressive; it was easy to see the planetoid was not perfectly solid. Dense, bulbous masses were apparent, bent, broken, and compacted together against each other. There looked to be far more of these shapes closer to the edge, but they were present all the way to the center. There were also a curious number of sharp angles and straight lines in all that jumble of material.

 

Achebe was talking to one of the techs quietly. I couldn't make out what he was saying, but the tone of his voice was tense. “What is it?” I asked him.

 

He straightened. “It's nothing, sir. We're just double checking the calibration on the dish and the beam.”

 

“Is something wrong with the data?”

 

“We're not sure yet. It's somewhat confusing.” He crossed the room to stand next to me. “Do you notice anything odd about the map, captain?”

 

I frowned. “No, but I wouldn't know what to look for.”

 

“The survey is showing no active core or thermal activity. Completely inert, as we anticipated. All well and good. But it's also showing no variance in the makeup of the planetoid whatsoever.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I mean that there are no trace elements, except on the surface area.” He waved his hand over the transection in the hologram. “Inside here, there should be a random mix of elements—iron, nickel, magnesium, oxygen, some of the rarer elements like gold or plutonium. Every planet has at least some quantity of each, as whatever leftover material from its star's creation coalesced to make them. But so far, Giant has less than a tenth of a percent of all of them combined. It's almost completely uniform in its makeup. Which shouldn't be possible.”

 

“And what is the makeup?”

 

“We're not sure yet.”

 

I blinked hard. “Not sure?”

 

“It's something we haven't ever seen before. Some kind of complex metal. And we're having a hard time determining which elements it's comprised of. That's why I'm having the calibration checked. These readings are hard to fathom.”

 

The hologram had grown noticeably since I first looked at it, having completed maybe an eighth of the circumference now. “Could it be that we just so happened to start scanning on an anomalous part of the planet? Maybe the rest of the makeup will be more normal.”

 

Achebe scratched the back of his neck. “A near pure vein of metal that covers the entire diameter of the planetoid? I can't think of how that could occur in planetary formation. Something out of phase in our equipment is more likely.”

 

“Well check everything and report the findings. I'm heading back to the bridge.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

I was so distracted in the transport thinking about what Achebe had just told me I passed right by my stop. I had to switch tubes at the next station and double back. Not only had we not found the quick and easy answers that I had expected, we had added more questions to the puzzle.

 

I started to get a sneaking suspicion we were going to be here longer than a week or two.

 

#

 

Over the next couple of days Achebe had every relay in the scanners and the dish checked several times as the survey continued. At his request I even sent a shuttle with a tech crew out to the dish to check it directly. They found nothing wrong. Yet the strange results kept coming in. Giant was exactly what the initial findings pointed to—a giant sphere of metal, almost completely uniform. Underneath the surface layer of dust, the completed holographic map in the science lab was a near perfect ball of white.

 

Achebe manipulated the hologram as he talked, showing slices of the diameter or specific areas deep inside the planetoid.

 

“There are small veins of various base elements inside Giant here and there. But none of them are larger than fifteen cubic meters and most are less than half that.” Achebe zoomed in on a small black dot about two kilometers down in the northern hemisphere. “Here is the largest one. Mostly lead with a few traces of titanium.”

 

“Heavy elements.”

 

“There are noble gas pockets as well throughout the interior of Giant, but they are minuscule. Some are barely perceptible to the scan. And there might be countless more that we can't detect that are a few cubic millimeters or less.” He zoomed back out to the full view of Giant. “But apart from that, Giant's composition is completely uniform.”

 

“Have you been able to find out anything more about that composition?”

 

Achebe shook his head. “It still confounds us. It's the cause of the gravitational pull, no question. The metal’s density is off the charts. But there is no heat generated from all that pressure, even down at the very center. And it does not appear it was ever molten. Look, see all the inner structures inside, the sharp edges, the lines, the folds of metal? Normally when a planet comes together the original pieces melt, or get crushed, and blend together under the pressure of the increasing gravity as the body becomes larger. They fuse together with other rocks and minerals and lose their individual semblance. That hasn't happened here. All the matter that was pulled together to form this planetoid—it bent, broke, or warped into each other, filled in all the gaps, but they never truly fused together.”

 

“How was this planetoid created then?”

 

“The same way all celestial objects are: accretion of smaller objects into a larger object, held together by their increasing gravity. That's about the only thing about Giant that I can explain. What I can't explain is where this metal came from.”

 

“It didn't come from the star's solar nebula?”

 

“I highly doubt it. The spectral analysis of Mendri shows it likely had little leftover material after it formed to create anything, which is why the system is devoid of any other celestial objects. Giant probably formed elsewhere and was captured by the star's gravity.”

 

“And where is that elsewhere?” I asked.

 

Achebe tapped his chin with his fingers. “That is a good question. But I have no answer. As far as I know there is not a process found in nature that can create material with these properties.”

 

I looked at the hologram closely. The opacity was set at one quarter and you could see the details and patterns of the interior all the way through as if it was made of glass. I followed a long snakelike trail of metal with my eyes as it curved around a semi-flattened cube deep below the southern pole.

 

“What about the moonlet?” I asked.

 

Achebe swiped away the Giant hologram and brought up the only other object in the Mendri system. “We did some very basic scans of it. This is just the surface view. It's an irregular shape, not fitting well into any particular category. It measures 9.31 kilometers from pole to pole, with a rough circumference of four kilometers, and orbits at a distance of 2,391 kilometers from Giant.”

 

The moonlet was very long, but narrow around its center. Almost prism-like. It was dull, gray, flat and featureless, just as Giant was. All except for one area, where at the curve from one side to the other a large bulbous formation went from the top to the bottom. There was something there, in that formation, but I wasn’t quite sure what. The sensation of recognition itched in the back of my head just out of reach.

 

I leaned in closer. An elliptical plateau, rounding up from the surface and ending in a small peak about centered. Two other oval hills near the top, symmetrical with each other and roughly the same size. A small circular valley near the bottom...

 

I looked up at Achebe the other side of the hologram. “You said you scanned it?”

 

“Only the basic scans. We only were able to penetrate a few hundred meters, same as Giant. It's probably made of the same matter.”

 

“I'm sure it is. Strip away the surface.”

 

Achebe looked at me curiously. “Captain?”

 

I pointed at the moonlet. “This image. If you did a scan you have enough data to show the contours of the moonlet underneath the space dust. Let's see that.”

 

“It won't have any data on the makeup below the surface.”

 

“We already know what that is. I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in the contours.”

 

Achebe looked at me for a moment curiously, then grabbed his pad and tapped away. In just a few moments he had stripped away the dust and matter that had collected on the moonlet over time, leaving only its bare surface beneath.

 

Achebe started to speak, but when he glanced up from his pad at the moonlet he stopped, his mouth agape. He saw it too. Of course he did. There could be no doubt about what we were looking at. The other techs working in the lab turned and stared in amazement.

 

“Get the dish ready to send out again. We need to get a full scan of the moonlet to confirm. I'll be in my quarters informing command.”

 

Achebe nodded numbly, said nothing.

 

As I stepped out into the passageway, I took one look back at the hologram of the moonlet, stripped of the dust that had covered it for countless eons, and now clearly showing a huge, humanoid face, staring outwards defiantly.

 

#

 

People have been seeing things in the pockmarked surface of Earth's moon since before the written word. A man's face, a tree, a pair of hands. I even read somewhere that one ancient culture saw a rabbit busily working a mortar and pestle. But that was all in the imagination of the viewer. Shadows and light playing on the craters and ancient lava flows on the moon's surface, used by our ancestors to craft stories to entertain each other as they passed the lonely nights around a fire. To comfort themselves with the idea of order and sense in an untamed world they barely had a grasp on.

 

But there was no illusion in Giant's moon. Its features were unmistakable, no imagination necessary. Buried under the dust was the clear and distinct features of a face.

 

It was humanoid, but not a human face, nor the face of any being I had ever seen. A set of bulging elliptical eyes on short stalks glared blankly ahead, above a smooth slope down to a pointed triangular nose in the center. And the mouth below that, almost a perfect circle, opened wide and empty.

 

The symmetry was perfect. And the detail. Across the top was a band with orderly markings from end to end—probably the brim of a helmet. The skin stretched over the skull beneath, the ridges above the eyes, around the mouth. It looked out at you quietly from underneath the dust, singing into the void of space.

 

The scan of the moonlet had confirmed what I already knew in just a few hours. Underneath the small layer of dust was that same super dense, heat resistant metal as Giant. A metal stronger than anything in the known universe. But there was the main, key difference with the moonlet. It was hollow.

 

Twenty meters beneath the surface, the inner space of the moonlet opened up into levels, neat and orderly rows of floor and ceiling at three-meter increments, thousands of levels of various rooms and passageways. Behind the face were the front decks of the massive ship that Giant had once been.

 

Take a cloud of metal fragments, circling a star. They collide and jostle with each other as they orbit. Pieces come together, attracted by their mass. Their combined gravity pulls in more, and eventually creates a sphere. Over time the ball grows larger as more pieces are pulled in. Soon the whole cloud coalesces into a planetoid. Accretion. The way all planets and moons, all celestial bodies in the universe are created.

 

But here's where the creation of Giant departs from nature. In nature, the materials of the planet liquefy under the intense heat and pressure of their own gravity, and the elements blend and fuse together, the heavier elements sinking to the center. Eventually the smaller objects cool and solidify and the larger ones stay molten at their core, like the Earth.

 

None of that happened with Giant. It probably never raised a single degree, even under the phenomenal pressure at its center. The metal bent, molded together and compacted into the tight little ball below, but it never turned molten. The moonlet was the last piece, having settled into orbit instead of being pulled in with the rest of the wreckage of the massive ship it had once been the bow of.

 

The change of orders from command was not a surprise. Giant was no longer just a puzzle; it was one of the greatest discoveries in Human history. We hadn’t just stumbled onto an ancient race of beings never before seen, which itself was remarkable, but onto the remnants of a spaceship that was a wonder of the galaxy.

 

The volume of the planetoid was in the hundreds of millions of cubic kilometers. If you could pull it apart, unbend and reassemble all the pieces back together, the ship it once was must have been thousands of kilometers long. Tens of thousands. Larger and more spacious than any planet in the Empire. And it was all once one great vessel, not a fleet or some ship graveyard from eons ago. The moonlet proved that. It alone was almost twice the length of the Chapman, and it was just the very tip of a massive ship larger than the planet our species had sprung from.

 

The engineering, the science, the accomplishment of such a thing—I cannot wrap my head around it. The resources they would have needed. The technology involved to manufacture a ship with a metal that laughed in the face of the laws of nature. What else could they do, had they discovered, this ancient race? The secrets that may lay hidden inside Giant were beyond speculation.

 

Three science vessels were rerouted to Mendri and would be arriving in a couple of days. And a construction crew shortly after that to build a permanent satellite base. Instead of heading on to Obsidian sector patrol we were to guard the system against all alien incursion indefinitely. It was only a matter of time before news of our discovery reached every corner of the galaxy.

 

“How did you know?” Achebe asked me.

 

We were alone in the observation deck, it being the middle of the night ship time. The lights were low, and the large room was illuminated by the glow from Giant overhead.

 

Achebe had been frantically pouring over all the data for days, gleaning whatever he could from it before the literal army of scientists arrived and took it all away from him. I was certain he was going to ask for a transfer to one of their ships.

 

“I'm not sure I did,” I said to him. “Not really. I think it had been something that itched in the back of my head ever since the first scans came in, when you told me Giant's composition was uniform and how impossible that was. Like you said, the metal couldn't happen in nature, so it must have been manufactured by someone. Then looking at the hologram of the inside and all those crumpled pieces reminded me of a salvage scow I was an ensign on when I was a kid. We'd tow the decommissioned liners and old cruisers to a reclamation base, but for the smaller ones, the shuttles or personal pods, we'd compact them into cubes for transport. When I looked at Giant's insides it suddenly made me think of those. But the sheer amount of it, the size this ship must have been, I thought I was just being foolish. It just couldn't be possible. Then I saw the face in the moonlet and I knew.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“It's a figurehead.”

 

“A what?”

 

“A nautical figurehead. Seafaring vessels on Earth used to have them on the bow of their ships to ward off evil spirits. When I first looked at the moonlet I thought I was just seeing what I wanted to see there under all the dust. But it looked exactly like the bow of a ship to me, the way it curved back sharply below the face and bowed out more on the sides. And it made everything else make sense.”

 

“So it was some kind of a holdover from their own past.”

 

“Probably. Something religious. Or maybe it was how they used to intimidate each other.”

 

“Strange to think space faring beings would still be superstitious like that.”

 

I shrugged. “We do the same thing. We don't put mermaids or lions on the mastheads of our ships anymore, but we still have mastheads. And a bow, a port, a starboard, all on a ship floating in space where there is no real up or down outside of your own perspective. We could shape our ships like cubes or spheres. There's no resistance in a near void so there's no aerodynamic reason not to. It would probably be more efficient. But we don't because it wouldn't feel right. It's a kind of vanity. And it's apparently universal.”

 

We were silent a long time, both looking up at Giant. Now not so ironic a name, I thought. I tried to picture it in my head, the ship the way it had once been, floating in the space above me. It stretched out in all directions farther than my eyes could see. There was no edge, no horizon, no end to it. It was the sky itself, its pockmarked surface the whole world. I could feel its crushing mass against my chest and hear the dull moan of its engines in my ears from thousands of miles away. I was not even an ant to it, less than a speck, no concern or notice to it whatsoever. I’d fall to my hands and knees under its mass, its sheer presence, as the ground I stood on crumbled to dust.

 

I closed my eyes and shook the thoughts away till I was back safely on my own ship. This pride of the Human fleet, the biggest and strongest ship in the known universe, that was barely more than a speck of sand compared to what the ruin above us must have once been.

 

“How long do you think it took the planetoid to form from the wreckage?” I asked.

 

Achebe rubbed his chin, thinking. “It's difficult to say. The Earth coalesced into its initial sphere in fifty to a hundred million years. That seems to be the standard timeframe for planetary formation. But Giant would be vastly different. It didn't start as a protoplanetary disc of dust but as larger fragments, and its super density and gravitational effect likely accelerated accretion dramatically. It could have formed in as little as half that time.”

 

“Twenty-five million years,” I said. “And who knows how long it's been here since forming.”

 

“Safe to assume whoever made it is long since gone then.”

 

“We hope.”

 

“Yes,” Achebe said, laughing lightly. Then he grew quiet, looked up at Giant. “There is so much we do not know yet.”

 

I smiled at Achebe. Yet. That confidence that there was nothing that was beyond us. I could see it on his face. There is nothing we cannot do, cannot achieve. We would stay here in this system for another twenty-five million years if that's what it took to squeeze every last secret out of Giant. And then add them to our own. Because we are humans, the top of the class, able to do anything we want to. The greatest, most powerful species in the universe, the Empire that would know no end.

 

And yet…

 

The beings who made the ship must have felt the same way. Had the same ego. You'd have to when you roamed the empty void in a ship so massive its very presence shifted the gravity of solar systems.

 

But as mighty and powerful a ship as it was, strong enough to fly through stars, to shatter planets, something else even greater came along and destroyed it.

 

And they were nowhere to be found.

The End

A.T. Sayre.jpg

A.T. Sayre has been writing in some form or other ever since he was ten years old. From plays to poems, teleplays to comic books, he has tried his hand at pretty much every medium imaginable. His work has previously appeared in Analog Science Fiction and FactAndromeda Spaceways, and StarShipSofa. A more detailed list of his publications can be found at www.atsayre.com/fictionBorn in Kansas City, raised in New Hampshire, he lives in Brooklyn and likes to read in coffeehouses.

Fiction by A.T. Sayre:

"Giant" June 2021December 2021