Savage Taurus has taken on the epic challenge of a short story series: Hyperspatial Saudade.
We're happy to feature the first chapter today! More to come ... we promised!
* Chapter 1 ~ Saturn *
by Savage Taurus
(c) May 2017
"We just passed the oort cloud. Get ready to transition from N^6 space to N^3 space," the Navigator said as she looked over at her shipmate. "Ready?" she asked.
"Ready," he responded.
The Navigator tapped the glowing holographic console and they were overwhelmed with the unsettling sensation of being twisted and turned inside out. It only lasted a few seconds, but it left aftershocks that reverberated through their bodies.
The Navigator shuddered uncontrollably and said, "That always gives me the willies."
Her colleague, the Translator, chuckled. "So this is the system the message came from?" he asked.
"Yes," she answered, "These are the coordinates. Though it could be any planet in the system. Where was it detected?"
"Preterclor-82hz13," the Translator told her.
"Oh, is that the extragalactic rogue planet they discovered a while back?" she asked with a bit of interest.
"Yea, it's above the plane of the galaxy, looking down on it. Just floating out there in the middle of nothing," said the Translator. "You can see the entire galaxy. It fills the sky. And there's no dust to obscure anything. You can see things impossible to perceive from inside the galaxy."
"Like this message," the Navigator said.
"Yes, exactly. And the stars are so vibrant and beautiful. You really have to see it to believe it."
"Wait. So, you've been there?" she asked.
"Yea, I took the wife there for our anniversary. It's really romantic," he said.
"Oh I bet she really appreciated the...uh...scenery..." the Navigator said suggestively with a sly little lilt.
The Translator grinned. "Well, we did enjoy the view for the entire planetary rotation."
"Oh, yow! Hubba-hubba!" she exclaimed as she nudged him playfully.
He laughed. "I'm sure you don't want to hear all the sordid details," he said.
"I think I could handle a few more," she said with a grin.
"Heh, you perv," he teased his comrade.
"Haha, you know it!" she replied. "So, where should we start our search? We've got an inner belt of asteroids and an outer belt of micro-planetoids. Eight singular planets, with scores of moons." The Navigator brought up images of each of the major celestial bodies, slowly rotating in mid air.
"Hmmm, maybe one of the bigger ones?" the Translator suggested.
"Ooh, let's do the one with the pretty rings!" the Navigator suggested. "About 0.4 lightseconds across the equator and roughly 80 lightminutes from the star, with 62 moons."
"Sure, that's as good a place to start as any," the Translator replied.
The Navigator tapped a few keys on the console and the ship shot off in a new direction. After a little while, a shining speck appeared in the forward display and quickly grew to a large cream colored sphere, surrounded by a prominent series of rings.
"I'll just park us over the rings while you collect the data," she said as she tapped a few more buttons. The display showed them moving to hover just above the rings.
"Is it safe to be this close?" the Translator asked.
"What are you afraid of? Live a little! Look at this spectacular view," she replied.
"It really is gorgeous," he admitted as he scanned the readout. "It's mostly gas, and no indication of any artificial structures on the planet or any of the moons." He kept analyzing the data. "Hold on, this is interesting. The sensors are picking up readings of high energy radiation in N^7 space."
"N^7 space? My Gam calls that the dream plane," the Navigator said.
"That's pretty accurate, though its more a vector than a plane."
"Yes, instead of a wide open field, its more like roads and pathways; circuitry," the Translator explained.
"So, its like the power and plumbing conduits behind the walls of reality," she said.
"Exactly. It's the dimension in which unconscious thought germinates and propagates. We still don't know much about it yet."
"Well, lets see what the sensors have picked up," she suggested.
The Translator pressed some keys on the console and some very odd images appeared in the air before them. There were rectangles and cylinders of various shapes, all standing upright. At first, it was unclear what the two were looking at. "The rectangles appear to be sheets of transparent silica, framed in rigid organic plant fibers. The cylinders are made of insectoid excretions, each with a combustible core, mounted on a metallic base."
"How strange," was the only comment the Navigator could make.
"The computer detected some phonemes as well. Translating them..." he added.
"Ok, let's hear them."
"Glass...wood...wax..." the computer said. The words echoed in the cavity of the ship. "More phonemes coming in," the computer continued, "window...candle."
"Ah ok, I see now. Very strange design, extremely rustic. What does it mean?" the Navigator asked.
"Don't know. Probably nothing. Just dreams," the Translator told her.
"What sort of civilization would dream of such things?" she wondered out loud.
The Translator tapped on the keys and scanned through the readouts. "Not enough info. Too fragmented to deduce."
The Navigator was quiet for a few moments. Then she said, "I'm starting to get some impressions."
"From the planet?" he asked.
"Yes. I just get these inklings sometimes."
"I'm supposed to be the Translator here," he joked. "So, what are you sensing?"
She was still for a couple heartbeats, and said, "A celebration...of abundance...and prosperity..."
"What does that have to do with windows and candles?"
"No clue. Too faded and fractured to make any sense of it, like a corrupted file," she said. "I wonder what happened to them. Where did they go? Why did they leave?"
"Good question," he said, looking at his sensors. "I don't see anything that even resembles a building down there."
"So, did the message come from here?" she asked.
"Checking readings...I can't find that energy signature anywhere on the planet or any of its moons. Nope, the message didn't come from this planet," said the Translator.
"Ok, which planet to we do try next?" The Navigator punched some keys and brought up the images of the planets once more.
"How about a small one?" suggested the Translator.
"Sure, the smallest major planet is also the closest to the star. I'll plot a course and we can relax until we get there," she replied.
"Great. I'm gonna take a little nap until then," he said.
"Sleep well, Translator Mawplawv," she said, using his full name and title in mock formality, belying the close working relationship they have.
"Drive well, Navigator Ohmlohmff," he replied, then pulled his head and arms into his pearlescent shell and hunkered down onto the side of the ship's hull.
She chittered with amusement at his joke as she input the coordinates into the luminous holographic console. One does not 'drive' an Exploration Craft. There is a reason her title is Navigator, and not Pilot. As the ship shot off to its next destination, she sat back and pondered for a while, and then started to write a poem about the thoughts and feelings the planet inspired in her.
To look out or look in?
Through what obstacle were you peering?
At what spectacle were you leering?
All scattered and dim
What darkness were you holding back?
What worry taunts you in the black?
So many windows,
Yet the landscape of your intent is clouded.
So many candles,
Yet the pathway to your heart is shrouded.
Your windows are opaque with the dust of eons.
Your candles, snuffed out, will never burn again.
Poems and stories (2000w or less) can be submitted at the drop boxes on LEA 4, or by emailing them to caledoniaskytower at g mail (dot) com. And YES, feel free to illustrate your submissions!