Space Travel (an acrostic poem)

Stars stare without blinking

Putting me ill at ease as I float here

And wonder if I will ever feel solid ground beneath my feet again

Can’t believe those brilliant blue skies are so long gone

Everything out there is so black

 

To be an interstellar adventurer

Really should be so much more exciting

And it was two years ago, but now?

Viewing the infinite from inside my craft

Everything just seems so small and too large at the same time

Leaving me to wonder why I booked this flight

 

Image: universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ESO_-_The_Milky_Way_panorama_by.jpg

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Curiosity ( a short story)

Mavis looked at the data and she was amazed at what she saw.  “Bob, have you accurately summarized the numbers?”

Bob looked up from the display.  “The numbers have been correlated and verified.  The data is as accurate as the instruments doing the analysis.”

“Bob, this is extremely improbable.”

“Improbable it may be, but the data is the data.”  Bob returned to looking at his display.

“Which sample does this characterize?” Mavis asked.

“Sample 3245A.  That was the one that…”

“…that we discarded the rest of the genetic material,” Mavis interrupted.

Bob turned to Mavis.  He gave her a critical look.  “Mavis, that was very unprofessional.”

Mavis looked at the floor.  “My apologies, Bob.”  She returned her gaze to Bob, but it took on a look of wonder crossed with hunger.  “It is just the ramifications of this data means we might have cultivated a new intelligent lifeform.”

Bob shrugged his shoulders.  “That is why I have called for the sterilization of the sample.”

“What?”

Bob shut off his display and stood up without a word.  He walked towards the door before continuing.  “The experiment was a success.  You did your job.  You will be hailed as the greatest scientist of the times.”

Mavis followed his progress across the room.  She tried to find words.  “Then why destroy the sample?”

“You did your job,” he said again.  “My job is to make sure we do not do something that would cause the destruction of our kind.  I am not taking any chances that this lifeform might compete with us.  The sample will be destroyed.”  He punctuated his statement by closing the door after himself.

Mavis stared at the closed door, her mind racing.  What could she do to save that which she created?  She opened back up the display.  The fourth planet was slated for sterilization within the traditional period of rotation.  Bob had even slated the planet for magnetic field reduction.  He would see that any life that lived through the initial destruction would slowly mutate and die out from the solar radiation.

She altered the display to look at other planets nearby.  There was another planet, the third one from the sun, where her lifeforms might yet live.  It would be harder than the idyllic fourth planet, but the equatorial region might be hospitable enough.  She would have to not even show interest in the third planet, or Bob might suspect something and check there.  No, she would have to show constraint and fortitude to pull this off.

A few commands later and she put her plan in motion.  Now all she could do was wait and scheme for when she could effectively check on her new experiment.

 


The accolades and praise had been amazing, but the nagging desire to confirm her attempt to save her creation kept her from truly savoring the experience.  Bob finally took a promotion to a new scientist who was working on the next new thing.  The new Bob was not as proper and did not focus on her, for which Mavis was happy.  She eventually managed to secure a ship to visit the place of her scientific triumph as a way of closing out her career.  She claimed she wanted to verify that all traces of her discovery were gone, so she loaded her vessel with numerous probes.  The new Bob did not care and signed off it.  He seemed happy to be rid of her for a while.  Mavis laughed at the irony there.

 


The fourth plant was a desolate crimson brown wasteland.  She let the grains of the dead soil drift through her grasp and fall to the ground.  There really was nothing left, though the technology she did see there gave her hope.  Something had sent the artificial lifeforms here, and she had hoped it was her creations.  If so this was her second generation.  She felt the hubris of pride, and she enjoyed the feeling.  Still, she was nervous.  What if these beings were not from her lifeforms.  Maybe another race had come here to try to learn her secrets?

She purposely had avoided the third planet on her way into the system, but the return trip would take her right past it.  Mavis had done so to limit exposing what she had done from the original Bob back home.  The current Bob would probably not check on her, but it was not statistically impossible.  Still, there was nothing more to be gained by delaying on Sample 3245A.  She returned her craft and began the journey home.  She would either be victorious or defeated.  There was only one way to find out.

As she approached the third planet she released a series of probes.  They started to inundate her displays and she felt vindicated.  Those were her lifeforms.  She had been right.  They had grown faster than she had predicted.  The data kept pouring in as she completed her flyby.  She was sad to watch the planet get smaller and smaller, but the data coming in kept accumulating.

Mavis worked on the data, and a troubling pattern began to emerge.  Her lifeforms had somehow kept their primitive sides while growing in technology and understanding of the universe.  No other lifeform that had developed sentience had ever managed to do so.  It was expected that once intraspecies cooperation developed that those base instincts would be bred out of society.  Her creations seemed to have somehow rejected the natural order of things for a more scavenger existence.  It was so alien to her sensibilities that she found herself becoming annoyed, then upset, till she passed horrified leaving that far behind.  Now she was glad that she couldn’t see the blue dot out the viewports.

She inserted some commands.  The blue orb, the third planet, would be scheduled for sterilization.  It could not be trusted to spread its viral thoughts through the rest of the universe.

The only question was how to deflect causation of such a viral existence from her.  She then smiled.  She would blame her original Bob for not being thorough enough.  That would work.  He deserved it.

That done, she wondered if she could salvage the second generation of lifeforms left behind on the red dust planet.

 

Image: downloops.com/wp-content/uploads/edd/2017/05/Starfield-Stars-Universe-FlyBy-Motion-Background-Video-Loop-Sample2-1.jpg

The Experiment

Walter looked down at his baby girl and felt pride at creating such a perfect little person.  She returned his stare, no comprehension on her face of the significance he would have in her life, but he knew how much she would change everything.  She would be his legacy; his gift unto the world.  The baby started to cry out, looking for succor, a wet diaper, or maybe even both.  Walter looked at his assistant.  “Well, are you going to take care of this?” he asked.

The assistant hurried over to take the child, almost dropping her in the process.  “You harm one hair on that child they will never find your remains,” Walter said.  The assistant fled the room with the crying infant.  The automatic doors closed, cutting off the annoying sound.  “It is going to be a long few years,” Walter said to himself.  He turned his attention to the monitors showing every room in his domain.  He traced the path of the assistant as the assistant searched for the wet nurse.  This experiment would take years, but Walter was a patient man, at least when it came to his research.

Making a human being is ridiculously easy for most of the population.  Just insert tab A into slot B and leave behind a bit of genetic residue.  If slot B is compatible, ovulating, and able to bring to term, bam you have a human being.  The big problem is that human being is a misplaced mishmash of human material that randomly wins the genetic lottery to have the possibility to spread half of its genes in some random encounter later on.  There has to be a better way, and many scientists took it upon themselves to find it.

Once Walter had been one of those poor fools.  Dolly the sheep was first cloned in 1996.  After that people were in a race to clone a human, which was illegal in so many countries that it caused researchers to find hiding spots in some of the more backwater parts of the globe to try their hand at immortality.  Experiment after experiment met with failure, or worse, abominations of genetic flotsam.

Walter had found a small spot in a third world country that had a friendly dictator who worshiped money much more than any god.  He had sold the man a bunch of beans, promising that a clone would be the perfect way to keep the palace in the family so to speak.  The buffoon ate the whole thing, even allowing him a choice of hosts for his pet project.  Walter liked that one.  It was always hard to find volunteers.  Still, cloning a person was such a stupid idea.  Cloning flawed beings just continued the madness.  This is where Walter’s genius had taken over.  If you want to move closer to perfection, you choose what matters to do so.

Walter brought up his chart and marveled at his brilliance.  You take the heart from a world class cyclist, the lungs from a deep sea free diver, the liver from a man who drank heavily well into his nineties and never developed sclerosis, and of course his own brain.  You clone the best parts and put them together.  It had taken years to get all the pieces to work and transplanted into this baby.  Of course that part had been fun as well.  He enjoyed playing insert tab A, but of course it was all for science.

Valentine’s Day Encounter

Gary wiped his nose on the left sleeve of his t-shirt as he carried his twelve pack of Milwaukee’s Beast in one hand and smoked his off off brand of the week cigarette in the other.  The twelve pack would have been getting heavy, but Gary had decided it was easier to carry a few of them beers on the inside, saving his arms.  This was turning out to be a real crummy Valentine’s Day.  Even the prostitute he usually used was busy doing some free lance work on the holiday.  Gary couldn’t wait to get so stupid drunk that he wouldn’t wake up until Valentine’s was over.

Gary was about to lighten his load again when suddenly he heard that noise.  He has heard it on and off for the past year, but he always blamed it on the beer.  He began looking around, trying to see what could be making such a weird noise.  It always happened when he was alone.

Suddenly a light appeared to be falling from the sky.  As it got closer Gary began blinking his eyes rapidly.  He knew his eyes, or the beer combined with those awful cigarettes must be playing tricks on him.  At least that’s what he kept telling himself as what he could only describe as a spaceship hovered twenty feet overhead.  The worst part about the whole thing was that Gary was having a déjà vu feeling.  He ran for the forest, but the craft moved impossibly fast, cutting him off.  Gary slowly backed up, his beer and cigarette held in front of him as charms to ward off this evil spirit.  The spaceship was about the size of an eighteen wheeler and glowed faintly green.  The hairs on his arm stood on end, the world turned blue, and then suddenly Gary blacked out.

When Gary came to, he was naked with a box on his lap.  The empties from what had once been his twelve pack were scattered around him in a circle that faintly reminded Gary of that Stonehenge place he had watched on the Discovery Channel a couple of years back.  The thought of missing out on drinking all those beers almost made Gary cry.  Gary opened the box hoping that maybe there would be a beer or two that had survived.  Unfortunately he revealed only an array of chocolates, a single red rose, slightly smooshed from being inside the box, and a folded note.  The note read, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day.  You were so good, we thought we should buy you chocolates and a rose.  Love, GRA$@G34q’

Gary began to cry.  At least someone loved him.

The Trial of Adam part 8

Adam came out of the lab building and was heading for the mess hall when he noticed Eve talking to an older man in a military uniform.  Actually, Eve was the only one talking.  The man was yelling his part of the conversation, and Adam could tell Eve was not happy to be on the receiving end.  Adam decided food could wait and headed over to see if he could help bail Eve out.

Eve was definitely at a physical disadvantage.  Not only was the man loud, he was tall, wide, and looked hard.  That impressed Adam.  Too often military lifers let themselves go.  Admittedly not as much as Adam had let himself before coming here, but still for a military man a potbelly would slowly crawl out of its muscular cocoon and those arm muscles would begin to droop a bit to for the wings.  This guy could still military press a platoon or two at once.  As Adam got closer it was easier to make out what the man was yelling.

“You need to just follow orders and not think!  No matter what your designation is, at the end this is a penal colony under my jurisdiction,” the man said trying to beat Eve back with the force of their delivery.

While Eve did cringe a bit, she did not give too much ground.  “Your jurisdiction is on that side of the wall,” she said pointing at the offending wall.  “Over here is FBC territory and I call the shots.”

That sounded like a perfect introduction for Adam.  As he covered the remaining ground quickly and stuck out his hand in the direction of the man and put on his billion credit smile.  “Adam Durst at your service, and you are?” Adam asked.  Eve rolled her eyes so far back Adam was worried she was about to pass out.  Mr. Military though never skipped a beat.  As a matter of fact he even kicked his voice up a notch, which Adam didn’t think was humanly possible.

“Did I talk to you?” Mr. Military asked.

“Well, not exactly, but I thought” Adam began, but the man cut him off.

“Then shut the hell up and let me finish!” the man practically screamed at Adam.  Mr. Military turned back to Eve.  “You may think you have authority over here, but I still call the shots.”

Eve stood up a little straighter.  “You can go visit your space on the other side of the wall, or you can go back through the portal, but I think this meeting is done.”

Mr. Military was obviously not done.  “Did I say this meeting was done?  You will sit your ass right here until I say this meeting is done.  You FBC idiots need to realize this isn’t Federation space.”

Eve was about to speak, when Mr. Military cut her off.  “Complain all you want, but this world is a penal colony in the end.  That makes you being here a favor, and I can work to remove that problem sooner rather than later if you keep pushing me.”

Eve seemed to take this last threat as an almost physical blow.  She started to slouch and divert her eyes.  The man could sense her about to cave in.  A smirk spread on his rugged face, and it was light of a sun coming over the horizon on some hellish asteroid spinning in the cold of space.

Adam didn’t like what he saw.  “Or she can push how much this planet is a resource.  As a matter of fact this place is one in a billion with respect to almost everything, including possible expansion in this galaxy.  You know what that means?  They’ll have to remove this piece of crap penal colony,” Adam said.

The man never too his eyes off of Eve.  “Keep this idiot under control,” he said.  “I won’t ask again.”

Adam shook his head in disbelief.  “Did you just call me an idiot?” he asked.

“Adam,” Eve said with an edge to her tone.

“I most certainly did,” the man said as he turned to Adam.    The sunlight in the man’s expression was gone and the darkest, coldest expression pummeled Adam.  Mr. Military continued.  “I almost had the men scatter your worthless atoms anyhow when you crossed over, but I was told I would pretty much lose the coordinates on the jump gate”.

Adam realized he was in big trouble now, but that never stopped him from going all the way.  “That would have been the stupidest thing you ever had done.  Good thing you have someone with some smarts around you, or else…”

Adam hadn’t even seen the man move, but Adam found himself on his behind in the grass, his jaw felt dislocated.  The man towered over him, blocking out the sun.  He looked like he was about to explode again when Eve placed a hand on the guy’s arm.  That seemed to calm him down some.  “If you ever disrespect me again I will kill you with my bare hands.  You have rights lower than a piece of shit here, do you understand me?” Mr. Military said.  He didn’t wait for an answer that wouldn’t have come anyway due to Adam’s dazed state.  The man just turned and walked back towards the portal.

Eve bent down and gently touched the rising swelling in the shape of the man’s fist.  “You fool!  That’s General Haden Marks.  You are technically his.  He really could kill you, and there isn’t a thing I can do about it.”

Adam mumbled something along the line of thanks, or maybe I couldn’t let him treat you like that, or maybe the rain was purple with puppies last night.  It was hard to tell from the fog of a concussion and the rapidly swelling shut right side of his face.  Still Eve took it as a sign of some sort of encouragement.  At least that’s how Adam took it as he laid back down on the grass.

Eve spoke into her comm link.  “I need a medic in the common square by the gate.  We have an idiot down.”   Adam thought her words had such a nice ring to them.

The Trial of Adam part 4

The feeling walking through a teleportation gate never quite left you, but luckily it was so foreign to the human mind that you quickly forgot most of the particulars.  At least that’s how Adam justified it to himself as he set foot on his new home.  The disorientation of traveling one meter and yet in reality millions of light years with that same step made you appreciate the awesomeness of the technology, but Adam always preferred to be in a spaceship going through a wormhole.  Something about the vessel doing the same thing while you stayed still spoke to Adam’s sensibilities.

Ruckblau’s gravity hit him a bit harder than he had expected.  Weighing one fifth more would take some getting used to.  Adam had lived on some higher gravity planets, but it was always a struggle in that first week.  Adam looked over at Liam just in time to catch Liam tripping over his own feet.  Adam caught Liam and managed to not fall over himself.  “Watch that first step.  It’s always a doozy,” Adam said.

Liam stood on his own and gave Adam a quick nod.  Adam let him go and breathed in deep.  The air smelled of peat and an organic wetness that promised agricultural gold.  Adam loved that new planet smell.  There was so much you could tell just from a quick sniff.  The gravity might suck here, but the air was wonderfully not sterile unlike his cell for the past five months.

The gate was situated in the center of a small compound.  There were a number of small buildings that immediately surrounding the teleportation gate’s landing zone.  They were the type of portable building that was easily disassembled, moved through a gate, and then reassembled.  As a matter of fact Adam would be willing to bet these buildings had been moved to numerous worlds so far in their lifetime.  He wondered if he looked close enough he would find his name on one or more of them.  Adam liked to leave his autograph on each world he worked on.  It was always a thrill for the lesser xenobiologists who followed to find.  At least the ones he had had to interact with while they were doing follow up verification of his work, or so they had told him.  Lucky fools.

Low walls could be seen in distance on three sides.   The fourth wall to their left was much taller.  Adam pointed at it.  “The prison?” he asked.

Liam shrugged his shoulders.  “Probably?  They usually don’t put up big walls on penal worlds,” Liam said.  He pointed his thumb back where they had walked through.  “That gate is the only wall that really matters.  If someone tried to go back without permission they would be shot on sight.  Not many people try to escape.”

A female voice came from one of the small buildings that had an open door.  “Yeah, but that threat of death doesn’t stop those murders marooned here.”  A blond woman dressed in the uniform of the FBC walked out of the building and toward the two of them.

Adam noticed that she walked like she owned the place, so she must be some sort of higher ranking official.  He also noticed her green eyes and how they glittered in the sunlight.  They reminded him of this species of lizard he had found on Maximi-4.  That lizard was a high level predator who used its ability to change color quickly to this emerald green color to mesmerize its prey before quickly making the killing strike.

“That is the wall that keeps the general population out of our hair,” she said.  “Otherwise rape and pillage would be a full time endeavor.  Those idiots haven’t figured out that they need to start working on building something here, since they are not going back there.”  She pointed at the gate.

“How many of them are lifers?” asked Adam.

“All of you,” she said.  Adam flinched at the remark.  The woman smiled at that flinch.  “But you get to live on this side of the wall.  At least until you screw it up.  Then I’ll be there when they throw you over the wall.  For now I’ll let you play in my little garden here.  Now what brings you planetside Liam?  This isn’t your normal operating procedure.”

Liam smiled and held out his hand, which the woman took and shook professionally.  “I needed to get out and stretch my legs.  I’ve been behind a desk too long.  A real xenobiologist gets out in the field,” Liam said.  He looked at Adam.  “Or at least that’s what I’ve been told.  I figured why not.”

“So you’re staying?” asked Adam.

Liam laughed.  “Oh hell no.  I’m just getting a taste of it.  Beside, this far away, the gate can’t be too stable.”

“Thanks for reminding me of that,” Adam said.

“Well you don’t have to worry about that Dr. Durst since you are now a permanent resident,” she said.

Adam held out his hand.  “Please call me Adam.  And your name is?” Adam asked.

The woman ignored his hand and began walking away from the gate.  Liam and Adam had to hurry to catch up.  “I am Dr. Eve Kaztner, the head of the scientific detail and defacto governor of this little pocket of hell,” Eve said.  “I am your boss and your jailer.  As long as you remember your place we will be okay.”

Adam hurried to get in front of her and stopped, forcing Eve to momentarily slow before she ran into him.  “And where exactly is my place?” he asked.

“Currently on my shit list for getting in my way,” Eve said.  She then pointed at the small building they were closest to.  “That is your lab.  Do your job, don’t get in my way, and keep your nose clean and you might get to like this dump.  Cross any line and you will find yourself so quickly on the other side of that wall that you will think walking through the teleport gate took forever.”  She turned to Liam.  “Enjoy your visit, but I will assume you are going back tonight.”

Liam nodded.  “That’s the plan.  I will be visiting every standard week instead of waiting for data transmissions.  This is an awesome opportunity and I plan to learn from the best.”

“Yeah, we’ll see about that.  Enjoy the rest of your day, gentlemen.  I have too much work to do to waste anymore time today,” Eve said as she turned on her heel and walked away without waiting for a response.

“She is a force of nature,” Liam said, “but she has a reputation of being fair.”

“Then why is she out here then?” asked Adam.  “It doesn’t sound like she begged for the assignment.”

“Don’t know.  Maybe you should ask her that,” Liam said.

Adam opened the door to the lab and looked inside.  “Yeah, I’m sure that will be a pleasant conversation.  I’m sure it will end with me on the other side of the wall,” he said.

“If you want I suppose I could ask.  She can’t do that to me,” Liam said.

Adam walked into the lab and shook his head.  “You won’t have time.  You need to go back right now.  There is no time to lose,” he said.

“Why do you say that?” Liam asked.  “Are you worried about the gate collapsing?”

“No, I’m worried about this equipment,” Adam said.  “You promised to try and get me something I can work with.  This,” he said as he gestured around at the packed lab, “is not that.  Go to work young man.  Show me you are an equal partner in this endeavor.”

The Trial of Adam part 3

Adam was pretty sore the next day.  He really needed to stop tripping into the bars and stopping the fall with his face.  It was a bad habit to get into.  At least he had made sure that bastard Wendell had a good chance of never procreating.  Wendell had been even more pissed when Henry told him no tattling.  Henry sure was old school.

The hearing went by in a blur.  Adam had signed numerous forms and been inoculated with fifty different antibodies for a planet they had no clue what would kill you.  Soon he was in another waiting room.  He had no clue what was coming next, but he realized that Alice had been right.  The judge had told Adam he would be planetside in less than ten hours.

Justice never moved quickly unless the Federation needed to make the problem disappear.  There had been another riot on one of the homeworlds one of the idiot colonists had come from.  The guy had been a minor noble in a merchant house.  Adam could barely remember the guy’s face.  He did remember the guy had broken into a sobbing fool and had to be restrained when Adam had called from the ship with his plans.  Adam was sure that guy was the first out the door when they had run out of food, and probably not because he wanted to take the chance.

A young man dressed in the formal blue uniform of the Federation Biogenesis Corps entered the room carrying all the world’s problems on his back.  Adam would have laughed if he hadn’t been so worried about what this meant.  Adam had worked with most of the upper management of the FBC, but he had never seen this guy before.  The man didn’t make eye contact and immediately sat down at the sole table in the room and opened his tablet computer.  The holographic display awoke and a blue orb popped into existence.

“Dr. Durst, my name is Liam Harvadash.  I am your off world coordinator.  All your research will go through me for validation and conformation before being added to the master databases,” Liam said.  “The planet here is designated Penal AS-379 and colloquially named Ruckblau.  You will stationed there with three other scientists and a group of roughly one hundred thirty two inmates.”

Adam couldn’t believe his ears.  “Wait, there must be some mistake.  Where is Dr. Guy?  Dr. Antonowitz?”

Liam finally met Adam’s gaze.  “They don’t deal with isolated penal colonies,” Liam said.  Adam’s eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped.  Liam continued.  “You will still get the best equipment I can locate.  This research means a lot to me.”

Adam laughed bitterly.  “Of course it does.  A peon like you would never get work with a scientist of my caliber.  This will make your career.”

“Dr. Durst, I am a scientist in my own right.  Everyone must start someplace,” Liam said.

Adam got up and stormed to the other side of the room.  He then turned back towards Liam and jabbed his finger at him.  “You have to start somewhere?” asked Adam.  “I catalogued my first life world when I was an undergraduate.  My advisor died on the trip, but I had already surpassed the woman.  How many times have you been off world, Liam?”

“Twice,” Liam said, almost drawing his shoulders into himself.

Adam quickly crossed back to the table, but he didn’t sit down.  Instead he bent over Liam, his shadow seemingly making Liam shrink back even more.  “Let me guess,” Adam said.  “once only to orbit as a grade school student and the second when you went to university.”

Liam developed a bit of a backbone and straightened back up a bit.  “We went to Fios in grade school,” he said.

Adam did a flourish with his arms and turned back around.  He began to pace back and forth feeling his new mental cage grow smaller with each step.  “Well you have so much experience.  You will be a director in no time.  Of course I turned that position down at least twelve times because it is a desk job and a xenobiologist should be in the field.”  Suddenly Adam stopped his pacing.  “And that is where I will be stuck from now to eternity.  Okay Liam, earn your keep.  What am I in for?”  With that Adam walked back to the desk, spun the chair backwards and he sat down, staring at the blue orb hanging in space in front of him.

Liam looked ta Adam, dumbstruck.  Adam motioned with his hands to have Liam continue.  “Come on Liam.  I’m done pouting for now.  If you wait too long I will move on to pissed, and you never want to see that.  You are in the calm before the storm.  Please don’t waste your opportunity.”

Liam woke from his stupor and dropped his gaze from Adam and back to the blue dot hanging between the two of them.  With a gesture of Liam’s hand the blue dot expanded and green brown continents came into view.  Liam began to narrate as the virtual planet began to rotate.  “Ruckblau has a gravity that is one point two times normal with a solar year of eleven point three three standard years.”

Adam interrupted.  “Wait, it takes a little over eleven standard years to make one solar rotation?  And yet it supports our type of life?”

Liam looked up from the hologram.  “It is a bit colder than what we would find comfortable, except in its more tolerable regions, especially near the equator.  Do not worry though, it is habitable for most of its regions.”

“When was it discovered?  I hadn’t heard of a planet like this.  And why a penal colony?  This sounds like a likely colonization site,” Adam said.

Liam zoomed out showing the planetary system with its white star anchoring the planets in its gravity well.  Laim then zoomed out even more.  The sun hung in the outer spiral arm of a nondescript galaxy.  “It was detected just a few weeks ago.  As you can see it is in the middle of nowhere, at least for now.  We managed to dial in its coordinates and set up a transport gate that seems to be stable for now.  If that gate collapses, well you know how hard it would be to get people offworld Dr. Durst,” Liam said.

Adam waved off the partial slight.  “Still, this might unlock a whole new part of the universe to explore,” Adam said.  Adam took control of the image and zoomed back in, bringing the planet back into focus.  He zoomed in to see the landmasses and selected an area off a large see where a major river dumped its water into a larger body of water.  “Oh and call me Adam.  I hate my last name.  I almost changed it to White a long time ago.”

“Why didn’t you?” asked Liam.

“Too long a story.  We can discuss it once I’m planetside,” said Adam.  “So when do I go through the gate?”

“We go through in two more hours,” said Liam.  This caused Adam to raise an eyebrow.  “Like you sarcastically pointed out, I need more experience.  And besides, I’m intrigued as well.”

Adam put his hand through the display.  “The let’s shake to commemorate a wonderful adventure,” Adam said.

Liam took Adam’s hand and shook.  “You have an amazing way of redefining exile,” Liam said.

“I know how to be delusional,” Adam said.  “It’s the only way I could live with myself.”