Introduction: Today’s story is a rare attempt at sci-fi a genre that, much like fantasy, I grew up adoring, but rarely write in. Why? No idea, although some might feel they can tell me after reading this story, enjoy.
‘There is something you should see out there, sir.’
‘Put it on the main screen.’
An image flared up in-front of Captain Williams’ face, making him flinch back despite himself.
‘What the hell is that?’
‘Honestly sir, I don’t have a clue.’
‘Have we scanned it?’
‘Yes, sir, and it’s, well, it’s alive.’
‘Alive?’ Williams couldn’t stop his mouth falling open in shock, the massive purple mass was unlike anything he’d ever seen. All tubes and wiggly bits, like the demented dreams of someone who’d watched too many late-night horror films.
‘The ship registers brave waves, and if you watch closely, you can, em, see it’s breathing, sir.’
Sure enough, Williams sat for a second and watched the giant purple mass swell up and down, breathing slowly, but regularly.
‘How big is it, Brians?’
‘About the size of The Moon, sir.’
‘Mother of God, you’re telling us we’ve stumbled upon a living, purple thing that’s the size of the fucking Moon?’
The rest of the crew was silent, staring at the image in shock. A lot of them had been travelling space for most of their adult lives, but they’d never seen anything like this.
‘Have we tried talking to it?’ Williams put his head in his hands even as he said it, knowing that this could go in ways he had no way of dealing with.
‘Officer, you know the protocol, if we discover new life we try to engage it in conversation, have you tried?’
‘No, sir, but I can send a message now if you wish.’
‘I do indeed wish, Brians. Start with the languages of Earth, and we’ll take it from there.’
The ordinarily bustling control room sat in silence as the messages were beamed towards the creature. They were all on edge, not entirely sure how they wanted this encounter to end. Engaging with something the size of a planet was not high on most of their to-do lists.
‘Any response, Brians?’ Williams asked after five minutes, knowing that it was a stupid question. His second in command was unlikely to sit on a message from this creature, hoarding it like some stolen treasure.
‘No, sir. However, there was a flicker in its brain waves, so it presumably heard the messages.’
‘It might have heard them, but it doesn’t mean it comprehended them. It might be like the Vernaplitudes. Try music next, officer.’
Once again, the room lapsed into silence, everyone sitting still as Brians sent some of Earth’s greatest compositions towards the creature.
Then, it moved.
Watching on the screen, it took Williams a minute to realise what was happening. The thing was so massive that its movement started tiny, a shifting of continents, not the waving of an arm. However, as it built up momentum, it became apparent that the creature was turning towards them.
‘Prepare the weapons, just in case.’ Captain Williams was not a violent man and in his years of travelling the galaxy had never once engaged in a firefight. However, he wasn’t an idiot either, and he was prepared to defend his ship.
Before the crew could carry out his order, though, something swept over them. At least that’s what it felt like. There was no sign that the creature had done anything or even a physical change to the crew itself, but every single one of them was wrenched to somewhere else. They were wrenched into the darkness of space and made to watch as what could only be described as time itself spooled out in front of them.
Every single person on-board that ship would later try to describe what they had seen, usually after a few stiff drinks. However, they could never get close. They couldn’t even tell you whether it had been a second or an eternity, all they knew was that when they were dropped back into their bodies, everything felt different. The creature had shown them something, and it changed theit universe.
After a second’s silence, it was Brians who spoke up. ‘Captain, what now?’
‘Plot a course away from her, Brians.’
‘Do you not want to collect more data on the creature, sir?’ Brians knew the answer, but she asked the question anyway, it was the thing to do.
‘No, officer. We leave it be, and we delete everything we do have. This interaction happened on-board this ship, and it will stay on-board this ship, understood?’