Nemesis: Chapter One
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Fifty Million Years Past
The ship understood the cold, but that only meant she understood the cold. Time was…nonessential; when one floats through space as long as she had, counting millennia becomes a futile exercise. Even the cold, which had once been so strange to the ship, and thus to her, was now as familiar to her as the companion she traveled with. She had time to think. If nothing else, she had that—and in the beginning her thoughts went to her past, to the reasons behind this voyage, and to her companion. She found herself thinking about him constantly in the beginning, briefly wondering if she had made the right choice and then banning that thought forever from her mind. As time moved on, she quit contemplating her past so much, understanding that it was over. Completely. Indeed, her past had probably forgotten about her, relegated her to its own history, and a piece it wasn’t proud of.
She thought of the cold for a long time, about how long it had been since any light passed over the area she now propelled through. Her home had been a warm place, a habitable place, and yet surrounding it was a place of death and silence. How life ever stemmed from such a cold, dead universe, she didn’t truly understand. The Makers had a plan when they began it all; she had no doubt about that. The Makers. She wondered if she, a Var, floating out in space, nearly alone, was part of their plan. If they had figured her plight into it all, or if The Makers merely started this experiment and let the universe proceed as it wanted. These were the debates of philosophers from her past, and they had no bearing on her current predicament, but what else was she to consider while floating further into nothingness? Was the universe in charge or were The Makers? Or was it an accident stemming from those original creators? Everything occurring after They stepped away only random misfires?
The thoughts went around and around, but there would be no answer. The Makers existed and that was all anyone could be sure of. As for why they did it and where they went? No one knew, and the philosophers could debate their ideas until The Makers returned; it mattered not.
During the million years of her travel, hope died. She had made her choice out of desperation and now she would deal with the consequences. Which were these—unable to die, unable to live, and unable to simply shut her mind down. Millions of years to go, and she would still be here when The Makers returned. Maybe then she could ask them the answers to all those meaningless questions.
She felt the wave roll across the ship, jarring her mind away from its ceaseless thoughts. The ship tumbled, turning over and over, breaking from the smooth path she set it on. She felt herself rolling in space, trying to calculate what was happening, what in the hell was causing such a disturbance.
And then her mind settled as she understood.
That was her past. The thing she left behind so long ago, finally catching up to her, and then moving forward, leaving her behind now. For a long time her past had been allowed to live, and now, the wave showed it was the same as her. Just a wave in space, unable to live and unable to die.
She wondered what it must have looked like, to watch it happen? A thing of monstrous beauty, without doubt. And even now, after all this time, she was saddened at the knowledge of what it meant. Her people were gone. No more. She was the last of them, not even the being she traveled with could claim the blood that flowed through her veins. The wave meant everything she had fought for, everything she had wanted, was finally over. Her past had ended and the future only a bleak, cold, and lonesome place.
The wave meant that her home, her planet, had finally detonated.