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Journey to the Other Side
by Gordon Rowlinson
Wild and crazy! Rod Cash said.
What? replied Smith.
You can stop worrying. I'm wild and crazy and the wild and crazy ones never get caught, he bragged as he increased the small ship's speed to 20xlight speed. He knew the pirate ship's FTL engines couldn't maintain 20xlight speed long without overheating.
The Alliance frigate can out run and out gun us! George Smith said.
Shut up and we'll lose em. We have enough stolen loot in the cargo bay to be rich for the rest of our lives.
They just matched our speed increase, said Smith. They'll be within their weapons system range in ten minutes! You said they'd never follow us to deep space. How do plan on getting away?
Rod didn't answer but quickly punched some new coordinates into the computer of the small two man ship.
How do you plan on getting away? Smith repeated.
We're going straight into the middle of the Cygnus X-1 black hole. They'll never follow us there.
What? The black hole gravity will crush us like a tin can! Smith's outburst was deafening in the small, cramped two-man control room.
Not if we fly through at light speed. We'll find out what is on the other side. No one has tried that yet. Scientists have only tried sending probes through at slower than light speed.
That is suicide you maniac! Smith said. What makes you think there is anything on the other side of a black hole? If they catch us, I only get 10 years in a penal colony. You're the one who murdered those two people on Space Station #5.
You forgot the 4 people I bumped off on Europa. Europa still has a death penalty. Rod said with a laugh.
Carter quickly unbuckled his safety harness. He stood up to grab the controls, but Rod had already had his electric sidearm out and pointed it at Carter.
Smile buddy, Rod said. Then he hit the course change engage button.
George Smith didn't smile. He was too busy screaming as the small pirate ship dove into the heart of the deadly Cygnus X-1 black hole. The ship immediately zipped through to an unknown side of the black hole.
We're still alive. Is the ship OK? Rod said as he dropped the ship out of light speed.
We're in one piece and the ship is in one piece, replied Smith as he scanned the region. But this space looks exactly like where we came from. Wait the Alliance ship is here on the other side of the black hole! They are sending us a message.
The message downloaded to the video monitor: This is the planet group militia. You are ordered to surrender.
Rod franticly punched in new coordinates and turned the ship around.
That is weird, Smith said. They called themselves the Planet Group not the Planetary Alliance. He scanned the militia ship and found that the strange cigar shaped ship was twice the size of an Alliance frigate.
They certainly weren't the welcome wagon, said Rod as he hit the light speed switch and piloted the ship back into the black hole.
The small craft rocketed safely to another side of the black hole. As Rod dropped the ship out of light speed, he was dismayed at the sight of two pursuing ships waiting for him.
They have two ships now, Rod said as he deftly maneuvered a 180 degree turn.
It isn't our enemies chasing us anymore' said Smith.
What do you mean?
We discovered what happens if you go through a black hole. Black holes are like a portal to an alternate universe or realm. Theoretically there are an infinite number of alternate universes. Each one is just slightly different. Each time we go through the black hole we travel to another alternate universe that is slightly different than ours.
Lets get out of here and try again until we find an alternate universe that doesn't have the law trying to catch us, Rod yelled as the ship plunged back into the black hole.
The ship shot out to the other side to another alternate universe. Rod dropped the ship out of light speed to find three pursuit ships waiting for them. The dark box-shaped vessels did not look like any earth ship he had ever seen before.
Oh no! Look at the video monitor, said Smith. The creature on the video screen was not entirely human. There definitely were two arms, a head and hair. However the face had one eye in the middle of the forehead.
On the monitor a message in a strange language was downloaded: #FHvJfg@URm&jM#VvV+@Gg.
A quick check on translator showed that the computer did not recognize the language as any of the major languages on Earth. They had entered an alternate universe where man had evolved very differently.
We're never going to find the way back to our universe! Smith said. What kind of special hell is this?
We have to try again.
No you fool! Every time we try, we keep getting farther and farther from reality and our universe! He jumped up to grab the controls. But Rod pulled the trigger before Smith realized the gun was out. The electric charge instantly tore apart the Smith's central nervous system and left a sickening smell of burned flesh in the small control room.
Then you get your wish and don't have to come with me. Rod said with disgust.
He steered a 180 turn and dove into the black hole again. As he came out the other side into a new universe, he was relieved to find no ships waiting to arrest him. He scanned the system and found no sign of pursuit ships. He was alone.
Jackpot. I took a chance and I'm a free man he said.
He dragged George Smith's limp, lifeless body to the airlock and stashed it inside. Without remorse or hesitation, he hit eject and jettisoned his former partner into the cold, black tomb of space.
You bugged out a little too soon buddy, he mumbled.
Rod set a long range course for earth. Let's see if I can finally stop running and sell some cargo on Earth, he thought. He hit engage and fired the FTL engines.
12 months later, Rod dropped his ship out of FTL and moved to a high Earth orbit. He was surprised to find no radio messages from his home planet. Orbiting around the night side of the planet, he was dismayed to see no lights from modern populated cities. He refused to think the worst and speculated that the black hole had dropped him into a universe in which mankind was slow in building civilization.
It seemed logical to use the shuttle-lander to get a closer look. Powering up the shuttle, he started to feel slightly optimistic. After all, a life of on an uncivilized Earth would still be better deal than facing a death sentence. As the shuttle dropped out of the clouds, he had his first glimpse of a vastly different earth. The vegetation looked unfamiliar and there was no sign of villages or human life. He set the shuttle down on a grassy plain of what should be Western United States.
As he stepped down the shuttle's steel stairs to his mother planet, he found himself in a strange, alien world. The mid-day temperature was a hot 100 degrees and the air was seemed to be strangely acidic. The plant life looked alien to him. In the distance were several flying reptiles.
Searching for answers, his mind thought of the theory of a giant, cataclysmic asteroid crashing into the earth in prehistoric times. He reasoned that in this alternative universe, an asteroid never crashed into the earth drove the dinosaurs into extinction. On this earth, the mammals never rose to prominence and human beings never came into existence
Wild and crazy, Rod said to himself. This place was too wild and crazy to live in. In a daze, he sat down on a large rock and looked around in equal amounts of amazement and disgust. He considered another trip back to the black hole to try another alternative universe. But each time he tried the black hole, he seemed to get further and further from reality. He realized that he was probably doomed to a life sentence of never finding his way home. All his life, his quick thinking and resourcefulness had given him and edge and kept him ahead of the game. For the first time in his life, Rod Cash didn't know what to do.
The 20 foot tall Tyrannosaurs Rex dinosaur that was lazily dozing in the sun, smelled and heard something. It quickly stood up. Then it leisurely jogged over, opened it's jaws and scooped up the strange, little two legged creature.
|Time Wars & other SciFi Tales|
by Gordon Rowlinson