Gisoo, the last-born human in the New Dark Ages

Photo by Elliott Engelmann on Unsplash

Please sit and bear with me as you read this. In an immense amount of time from now. Not millions of years or billions of years from now. But two times ten to the power 36 amount of years. That’s a two undecillion years or 2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years. A point when the stars will shine no more. The new dark ages of the universe.

During the new dark ages, the final black holes evaporate, the last of the iron stars float in the void, the galaxies have all fallen apart, and proton decay threatens to dissolve the universe into elemental particles.

Now there are just a mere four thousand humans left, but humanity’s life span is on the order of undecillion years. At this point humans age normally until our twenties, and then that’s it. Because of proton decay we must take quantum reinforcement showers to keep our atoms from decaying. This is the only form of death humanity now knows.

Despite the size of the universe and against the probability of the Drake equation, humanity discovered eons ago that we were the only intelligent life. By this point there are now only two other forms of known life. Both made by human hands. Cryptales, which are creatures that evolved from living spaceships that now roam freely about the universe sucking up energy wherever they can find it, and the AbSent, a nasty group of artificially intelligent life that evolved from humanity’s attempt to create a sentient slave species.

So, Gisoo was the last human to be born, and she had just discovered a small field of intact rocky bodies. This is odd because rocky bodies are rare. She was also in command of a bio-mechanized living ship called the Dream Vision that uses a captured supermassive black hole as its main power source.

“Gisoo, there are about two hundred metric tons of proton stable matter in the boulder field.”

“Dream Vision, prepare for capture.” Gisoo ran down the corridor towards the main control center.

“Gisoo, I’m detecting artificial intelligence.”

“AbSent! Damn I hate the AbSent!” Gisoo entered the main control center as the two intersecting doors rolled open.

“Gisoo, please advise a course of action.”

“We’re going to use the engine’s gravity-well and try to hold them at the event horizon for now. I don’t want to lose that much formed matter.”

“Starting gravity-well capture. Graviton shielding being opened. Super massive black hole exposure should occur soon.”

“Keep the lateral quantum sensors on the AbSent. I don’t want them to board us.”

“Yes, Gisoo.”

“Dream Vision, watch the Hawking radiation levels. We can’t afford to lose too much and I’m already seeing a spike.”

“Gisoo, AbSent has launched a nanite swarm.”

“Rip them apart proton by proton Dream Vision!”

“Starting cascading nuclear decay.” The nanite swarm dissolved into subatomic particles as Dream Vision blasted them with a decaying quantum nuclear wave.

“Dream Vision, can you confirm the boulder field has smeared across the event horizon?”

“Confirmed. We’ve successfully captured the boulder field, along with remaining AbSent.”

“Close up the graviton shielding, and scan for any remaining AbSent in the area. Once clear prepare for ether leap.”

“Gisoo, what is the final destination for the ether leap?”

“Head for Panagiotis the Elder at the boundary edge of the Universe. He wanted to see me in person according to his last transmission.”

Now two undecillion years is just enough time for the randomness of the quantum state to make something odd happen. This odd thing was the creation of what humanity called the ether. The ether was not some form of a hyperspace or dimensional rift, but a stable pocket universe intersecting with our own. No exotic particles were known to naturally leak out from the ether. Only the non-usable Kirsyn particles were emitted when black holes travelled through it. This is because the graviton shielding didn’t work normally in the ether, and Hawking radiation would leak out. Crossing over and through didn’t require as much energy as one would think, but then again no one understood the ether because its physics was unlike anything we understood. For all people knew the ether didn’t exist and yet it did. It had no dimensions or time-space. You were in the ether, but not at all in the ether either. All we knew is that it was a recent addition to the multiverse that developed before the current age. It made space travel easy along with interstellar communications. A spaceship would blink out from existence from one point in our universe and then pop into existence at its destination. The same with message beacons.

Now Gisoo was about to see an old friend at the actual boundary edge of the universe. The boundary edge was like the other side of a black hole’s event horizon, in that it was the very end of the actual universe’s expansion point.

They had arrived at a point along the boundary edge. As Dream Vision was coming into a docking position, in the far distance Gisoo could see the dark forms of Cryptales dotting the boundary edge. Dream Vision docked with the older Dragonsoul and Gisoo disembarked. The Dragonsoul had a musty smell to it as Gisoo walked about its cluttered corridors looking for Panagiotis the Elder, the oldest human alive.

“Elder! Where are you Elder?!”

Gismo heard a raspy voice call out to her. “Gisoo, is that you?”

After walking through the mess, she came upon a man tinkering with various pieces of ancient equipment.

“You wanted to see me.”

“Oh. Yes. That’s right. Something of great importance has come up.” The man got up from his seat.

“Did you finally figure out what’s on the other side of the boundary edge?” Gisoo picked up a piece of old machinery and looked at it.

“No, my dear. If only I could discover what lies on the other side. But it has only given me alas crumbs of subatomic particles randomly appearing on our side. What’s ever on the other side must be far larger than our current universe.” The man sighed.

Gisoo leaned on a piece of equipment. “Okay old man, what do you want to tell me?”

Sitting down again, he said, “Giles the Monk has finally solved the Rebirth Equation.”

Gisoo stood up and turned to the Elder. Her eyes became wide with surprise. “Impossible! That equation was unsolvable!”

“He did it. It took him nine quintillion years. Now the Tao Emperor has already constructed the device to use the equation. He plans to make a universe of everlasting light from stars. Endless power.”

“That’s insane. He would need a tremendous energy source for that equation. Where’s the Tao Emperor getting so much power?”

“The Obsidian Grip.”

“No way! Konishi hid it deep in the ether.”

“It’s true Konishi feared someday the Emperor would try to use the Obsidian Grip and the single largest supermassive black hole of the entire universe for some evil purpose. So, she figured out how to stop mid-leap in the ether. The only human to do so. No one else has ever tried since.”

This wasn’t the first time Panagiotis the Elder had asked Gisoo to go out on some adventure to fetch an ancient piece of technology. She had been doing this work since she was a teen. She wasn’t even six billion yet, and she had seen more of the known universe than the rest of humanity. Except for a few souls like the Elder and Gisoo, most of the four thousand humans all lived in a single floating colony powered by gathered decaying black holes. Even with graviton shielding a black hole would still leak the occasional Hawking particle.

Now the Tao Emperor had gathered a vast amount of technological and human knowledge to the point humanity considered him transcendent. He was responsible for the construction of the great colony ship, the Auku. So, Gisoo knew the stakes were high. The Emperor would use all he had to search the Ether so he could restart the stars again. Gathering energy from randomly appearing and disappearing Quantum Bubble Universes (QBUs or pocket universes) wasn’t enough power for him.

Gisoo picked up a metal part and began to twirl it around like a baton. “So, let’s say I go out into the Ether and search for the Obsidian Grip. Then what?”

“Well, you’d bring it back here.”

“Assuming I find it, and assuming the supermassive black hole hasn’t dissipated, why would I give you the most powerful known ship of all time?”

“Because I plan to use it to open a stable wormhole to the other side of the boundary edge.”

“You’re joking right?! Worm hole technology is ancient and unreliable. Humans couldn’t get them to work right long ago, and no one today would bother with it. What makes you think a wormhole can punch through the boundary edge to the other side?”

“For the last half a billion years I’ve been reworking Zamafuthi’s math for worm hole prospects. All I need is another few million years, and I know we can get through.”

“And then what? What will we find there?”

“A whole new universe to explore.”

Gisoo was still twirling the metal part about. “That’s a big assumption on your part.”

“Based on billions of years of observations that comes to us from the other side.”

She tossed the part into a bin and Gisoo began to leave the Elder. “Even if we crossed over, we don’t even know the physics on the other side. We all could die in an instant. I’ll tell you my decision if I find the Obsidian Grip.”

“Gisoo, come back here, impetuous brat! This is the single most important mission of all time! You can’t let the Tao Emperor have the Obsidian Grip to reignite the universe! There could be incalculable damage if he built the device wrong or Giles the Monk made a simple math error!”

Gisoo knew she could find the Obsidian Grip in the Ether. She had traveled through the Ether so much that she almost understood it. Finding the Obsidian Grip had an immense appeal to her. Giving it away to either the Tao Emperor or the Elder wasn’t even a consideration. She was more enthralled with having that much power in her hands. The rest of humanity would finally have to pay attention to her. No longer to be thought of as a by-product of an unknown union forced upon the people. For you see Gisoo was raised by all of humanity.

What you need to understand is that when creatures live long lives, they reproduce very little, and the same was true for humanity by now. For an unplanned child to come along was a social abomination. Not that people were not caring or loving, but there was plenty of social contempt for Gisoo’s existence. With a universe falling apart power was scarce and another human could disturb the balance. Therefore, Gisoo was the last human born. All of humanity swore never to have any more and made sure of that through their science and technology. The problem was Gisoo never knew her parents. When she was young, she imagined about her parents, but gave up all those dreams when she became a teen.

Now the Tao Emperor was the second to last child born. Never far from Gisoo’s thoughts was that the guy who was born 63 sextillion years before her was now worshiped, while society saw her as a pariah. It blew her mind that the remnants of humanity would let some kid dominate over them like he was the ultimate human.

Now while in an ordinary part of space Gisoo was taking a quantum reinforcement shower. Dream Vision was going to tell her about some abnormal Cryptale behavior.

“What do you mean a cluster of Cryptales? There should be none here.”

“Gisoo, there’s at least twenty Cryptales in a spherical pattern two hundred parsecs laterally.”

“That makes no sense. What are the scanners showing?”

“The presence of Kirsyn particles.”

“There must be a supermassive black hole in the Ether. How much?”

“The levels are at the point where QBUs may form.”

“No way! It must be the Obsidian Grip. That’s the only thing with a black hole big enough to create QBUs from Kirsyn particles.”

Gisoo could hardly contain herself. By sheer luck she had stumbled across the Obsidian Grip in just a million years of traveling the known universe in a random search pattern. She knew the Tao Emperor was still out there looking for it, but it could easily take him another billion years before they came across it. The bigger problem was trying to figure out how to get into the Ether and stop at the Obsidian Grip’s position. The math equation needed was straightforward as she understood it. The issue was reconfiguring the drive to work with the math. It’s one thing to have math, and it’s another thing to make it work. This was complex physical engineering. Physical engineering wasn’t her best subject, but she had no choice but take the time if she wanted to get to the Obsidian Grip before anyone else. The whole reconfiguration would take Gisoo a mere 12 thousand years to complete.

She hit the ether controls. “By Faythe’s ghost I did it! It’s massive! Larger than any bio-mechanized ship I’ve ever seen! What’s the state of the supermassive black hole?”

“Undeterminable. Quantum sensors are not working.”

“Pull us into a docking position.”

The Dream Vision pulled into an open docking bay along the underbelly. The Dream Vision was a fraction of the size of the Obsidian Grip. At least forty Dream Visions could have easily docked inside. The Obsidian Grip wasn’t a bio-mechanized ship, it was designed as a living citadel for humanity not unlike Auku. It had more power than Auku could ever have. And all that power would now be under Gisoo’s command. Gisoo could be the savior of humanity.

“Sensors are working again. There’s atmosphere and normal gravity outside. I’m still trying to access the main systems, but I’m having difficulty. There appears to be a different form of coding preventing access. It’s not normal bio-mechanized coding.”

Gisoo exited the Dream Vision, and as she did, she was greeted by a woman’s voice.

“Hello, I’ve been waiting for you.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m your mother.”

“The human mothership?”

“No, silly. I’m your actual mother. I was human, but I merged my existence into this ship to keep it here. Away from the Tao Emperor.”

Standing on the landing deck, Gisoo crossed her legs together in discomfort at what she was hearing. “I have no parents! No one was my mother or father!”

“While you had no father, I’m your mother. I’m Konishi, and my womb birthed you. I had to leave you behind, so I could hide the Obsidian Grip.”

“So, you cloned me?”

“No, nothing so primitive. My womb spontaneously created you. A product of random quantum fluctuations.”

“Are you saying the universe is my father?”

“I suppose so.”

Gisoo uncrossed her legs and began to goose step about the deck. “Assuming all that you’ve said is true. Why should I not turn you over to the Tao Emperor?”

“Because I’m your mother, and I know you wouldn’t do that.”

Gisoo stopped goose stepping and then stomped her feet as hard as she could. “How could you know me?! You haven’t even been around for my entire life! You abandoned me to a bunch of people who didn’t care about me!”

“Not true. They cared enough to teach you and loved you enough to allow you to become the adult you are today. You are exactly what I knew you would be like. You remind me of myself when I was your age.”

Gisoo calmed down and sat down cross-legged on the deck. She began to trace out math formulas with her finger. “Why didn’t you just leave the Obsidian Grip and return to Auku?”

“The only way to maintain the Obsidian Grip this long in the ether was to graft myself to the ship. There was no other way to prevent a supermassive black hole this size from decaying even in the ether.”

“For all this time you’ve been using your own willpower to keep the Hawking radiation from leaking out instead of the graviton shielding?”

“Yes.”

“So now what? It’s not like I can hug a spaceship.”

“We restart again.”

“So, you want me to give you over to the Tao Emperor so he can use the Rebirth Equation and ignite the stars again?”

“No. We restart everything. So, I can hold my child in the flesh once more.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You will. Did you know I named you for the word ‘hello’ in an ancient human tongue? That was the first word I said when I found out I was pregnant with you.”

Gisoo always wondered what her name meant. There was no database that contained it or person who knew. Now that she knew she sort of thought it was peculiar. Couldn’t mom come up with something a little cooler sounding? Something like Fhaertala Inana. Now that sounded cool.

You see what Gisoo didn’t know was her name was the very word that both ended everything and began everything. One word that ended all time and restarted it. A word that allowed Konishi to nakedly expose the Obsidian Grips’ supermassive black hole to the unreality of the ether. In doing so, it set into motion something that dwarfed what the Tao Emperor wanted to do, or Panagiotis the Elder. For Konishi had both mathematically determined and mechanically built how to reset the universe’s clock, so once more she could hold her child.

Originally published at https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/.

From the Reedsy.com provided prompt- “Write a story about an adventure in space.”

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Seth Underwood

54+ autistic, undiagnosed dyslexic, sufferer of chronic migraines, writer of dark science fiction, player of Genshin Impact and Mike Pondsmith Fan. Race- Human.