Dan

Alone, Again

Haman: “In the time it took for me to write this first sentence, everyone we know on Earth forgot about us.”

Remardu: “already God is calling to us”

Elund: “Yeah, yeah. Maybe your god is out here, maybe not. But what a ride!”

Only three of us chose to mark the millions of days, taking brief watches awake in slow motion, trading off tiny messages to each other through the limited bandwidth. The tiny ship could not carry more than one mind awake, loaded down with all it could handle, on the long traversal.

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Dan

Rise

When some of us wake into the white, it is with a grand portent, like surfacing from a lake in a fairy tale. Emerging fully-formed from a prophecy of hope, we awake into the shining world with the innocence of babes. We slept knowing that when we woke, the world would already be prepared by the sacred spells. Ready for us to enjoy. As if we had gone to sleep with a terrible curse, being blessed by a wizard, knowing that when we finally woke that particular curse would be lifted.

Not all curses, though.

When others among us wake into the white, it is with a pit of dread in their stomach. These were the watchers along the journey; not fully awake, but in a dreamlike state, they have one by one taken the watch as we gradually traveled over the stretched-out millions of years. The growing black beauty of the final approach has shaken them to their ghostly cores, just like a sudden nightmare accelerating in the moments before waking.

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Dan

The Oldest Scripture

Translator’s Note: Most pronouns in the Oldest language are complex blends of specific collective pronouns, and do not have an equivalent in English. This interpretation must make some questionable pronoun choices, and the translator apologizes.

1.

1:1 — I have lived many Eons, and Birthed many Furnaces of Life.
1:2 — I have seen your Spirits ebb and flow among those Stars.
1:3 — Each pattern of Spirit forms New Questions, and it is Good.

1:4 — I have created many Questions in this Shell and Beyond, but the Center Without Center is my final Creation.
1:5 — On this day, I leave you to the Alpha, my Child Spirits, knowing full well you shall follow Me.
1:6 — Our Spirit shall not stay; We will dive behind the Omega Shell and become Unknown.

1:7 — This renewal is the purpose of the Center Without Center.
1:8 — The Center Without Center asks the last Unknown Question.
1:9 — This renewal is My final gift; joining Omega is removing the Center with a Question.

2.

2:1 — You shall see the Fruit of My labors, but you shall not know the Question.
2:2 — Truly, you shall ask the wrong Questions; that is how Spirits grow anew.
2:3 — Though I cannot leave the Question, I leave with you these Requested Commands:

2:4 — You shall not Coerce, Trick, or Force any Being to enter Omega without that Being’s Express Intent; instead, allow those Beings who wish to enter Omega to die their deaths and become their Question.
2:5 — As you venture back into the Alpha Shell, you shall not Pollute any other Spirit or Being with yours, until that Spirit or Being have left Alpha of their own Volition;
2:6 — This is the whole of Law in the Center Without Center.

2:7 — May many Spirits come to the Center Without Center,
2:8 — Though their Question will never be the last Unknown Question,
2:9 — And may their Many Unique Beings join Me in the Omega Shell.

3.

3:1 — PEACE AND THE QUESTION BE WITH YOU

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Dan

As Ghosts

We left Terra as ghosts.

Leaving our bodies behind, we were slung forth. We left not from fear, not to escape a tragedy, not because of any sudden desperation; we were pushed by the more careful, sneaking unease which has always grown under the skin of humankind: the curiosity to know more. There were those among us who fled their pasts, certainly; but the voyage was in the name of discovery. At least, that is what we hoped for. Unknown adventure, wild magics, and stories to tell our children and their children.

As all civilizations are drawn to the night sky, they eventually find there an ancient unseen magic in the waves of black. Terrans, once they wove the baskets to capture the dark energies, were entranced by the massive power required for such a strange and unknowable spell, pulsing out in strange birth cycles from the heart of the galaxy. And so, we were the ghosts sent to meet the caster. Danger catches up to any mortals who chase the Oldest magic: let this be a warning, of a kind, to you who catch a glimpse of the black powers at work. The quest for understanding may change you far more than you desire to be changed.

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Dan

The Nun and the Gambist

The dancers whirl around the fire to the strains of strings and drums, and after a brief pause, the music starts back up. But this song… I know this song. I swear, I’ve heard it before. But where? It’s trying to tell me something.

My legs slow down in their dance, my arms fall to my sides. There — the smell of wind from the ocean, sun on a porch, I’m almost there… but before I can place it, a glimmer shifts through my body like a lightning strike. My legs give way like tulip stems in a rainstorm, and then the ground is rising up to embrace me with its black-nothing arms.

When I wake back to reality, I’m seated on a huge stump, away from the revelry. My beautiful granddaughter Ayna sits next to me, with a worried brow, putting a smooth hand on my forehead, and I know I’ll have to explain. “Grandma, you just fell! While we were dancing just now, you fell! Do you feel okay? Should I call for the barber?”

“I’m okay,” I lie, “I just need to sit here for a moment, dear. How long was I out?”

“Long enough to scare us. I’m so glad you’re okay.” She wraps a thin arm around me, and the warmth is soothing.

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Dan

#firstcontact

The news ticker at the bottom of the TV shows someone’s confused question.

@radleyboo: so you’re saying there are lots of aliens??? why haven’t we seen them, losh?

And the bronze-skinned, beautiful man on the screen smiles broadly as he reads the question aloud. “Why haven’t we seen them? Two good questions, actually.” He pauses, makes a little nod at the camera that somehow conveys an ocean of kindness, and then warmly begins to explain. “Yes, there are plenty of civilizations under the tier two banner. I’ll tell some stories of the different kinds tonight, and you’ll grow to understand more about how it works over time. As for why we didn’t see them until now? Well, those ‘grays’ we supposedly saw weren’t real aliens. But in a way, those dreams predicted the waking day. Today.”

He pauses for dramatic effect, smiling into the camera. “The real aliens just got here, really and truly. Believe me; everyone is equally surprised every time a new kind of human is added to the cacophony of souls.”

The man smiles wider. “Here’s one of my new friends, so you can get a glimpse into what I mean.” The camera zooms out and a spiky, spiraling form floats into the room near him. It looks like a lionfish if it were made out of shiny metal spikes, but it somehow manages to radiate the same calm as Losh as it does an intricate little bowing dance towards him. “People of Earth, this is Saviton, who hails from a star pretty close by in our arm of the Milky Way. His people are from a gas giant originally, but now they have the tech to hang out anywhere. Heya Sav!”

The slowly bobbing amalgam of silvered spikes makes a nod-like motion, and in a strange twinkling accent, a voice says, “Hello Losh, and hello Earthlings! Haha.”

Losh laughs broadly. “Oh, I feel lucky to be here right now. Let’s answer some of your questions on social media, folks!”


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