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Clint Wilson

Short Stories
- The Future Man.
- The Dig
- The Year-Rounders
- The Asylum
- Walking Foster
- Grave Robbery
- Labyrinth

Labyrinth
         by Clint Wilson
Page 11 of 20
The vehicles turned together. The larger one pointed out over the blackness; the smaller one attached by the sturdy docking tube followed. Then, with a quick thrust, they were gone. The humans finally began their crossing of The Deadheart Sea.

They would travel for nearly twenty sleeps straight into the nothingness before completely losing site of the wall they had left behind.

"Is it a pillar?" asked Tik.

"I would have to guess yes," replied Oranesh.

They were now near the middle of the Deadheart. They had been enveloped in the blackness for many sleeps; and had of course, encountered nothing but more blackness. The void seemed absolute, and made them feel tiny and vulnerable. Now however, the warp drive scanner had picked up a possible obstacle ahead.

"At either rate," continued the woman, "I'm going to slow down so we can have a look." With that, she shut down the warp engines on both vehicles and began reducing their speed. Flying at full warp required room; room to travel in, because you were exceeding the speed of light and would obviously move great distances; but also it required room for slowing down. There were not many places in the enclosed labyrinth, where one could fly at full warp for very long. Tunnels in the maze always- eventually turned. There were many great long travel-ways though. The Bimini Road in the Kalduch Bohagas sector for example, had been over a light-year in length, and was as wide as a small community in several sections where life-forms had carved out space over the eons.

They waited, and then eventually the obstacle came into view. "There," he said pointing out the cockpit windows.

It started out thin. It was like a silver thread in the distance, running up and down with both ends disappearing from sight. They could make out no bottom or top. Something was not right.

Their sensors showed that the thing was still a long way away. Their small flood-lights could not possibly be illuminating the object. It would still take almost two minutes for any light from them to even reach the thread.

As they drew closer, the thread turned into a piece of rope. Eventually, it grew into the shining metallic pillar.

"It's absolutely massive," said Oranesh. "Sensors say it's over a million and a half klicks long. But the strange thing is its luminescence. I've never seen anything like it."

Challyobite pillars were known to emit some light, and it was known that the larger the pillar, the brighter the light would be. This was something they had never seen before. It was as big around as the planet that had once spawned their race. They did not know of the planet's existence, or even what a planet was for that matter. They only knew that the pillar was unimaginably huge.

As they slowly drifted past the behemoth strand in the middle of the sea, the extreme brightness of the brilliant object caused them to turn their windows to dark tint. It shone liquid silver. The two small vessels were merely a dot on the glowing face of the presence that lit up their entire sky. A sky was something else that they knew nothing of. They continued to study the pillar; their jaws hanging agape in wonderment.

It was staggering to think of how many infinite trillions of microscopic Challyobites were writhing around in the mass.

Together the humans ate a meal, looking out the starboard and aft windows as they passed the pillar by.

As time went on, they slowly built up to warp drive speed again. Still, they watched for a very long while as the pillar faded from a silver rope, to a piece of thread, to a wisp of almost nothing, and then disappeared entirely. The darkness ahead loomed through the cockpit windows. The red numbers on the orientametre showed the same coordinate that they almost always showed- Thirty-two.

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