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Sitting on the edge of the abyss by James Kitson
SUMMARY: A story about the end of the universe. Will it end in light or darkness?
I was sitting on the edge of the abyss, on the edge of one of the mammoth monsters that had consumed the universe. Darkness had consumed everything so long ago that I couldn't even remember a time when the outside world was ever more than an endless black void. Even now the only light I could see was the dim controls of my ship as they guided me into place.
It was over, for the universe anyway. Life was resilient, even after stars had gone black and planets had been destroyed life thrived, stealing power from the monsters that had consumed everything around them. Sentience did not surrender to the universe easily, but entropy could not be fought. The massive ships that rode the magnetic tides of the black holes slowly suffered the fate of all machines, over millennia of use, even the best designs and best repairs failed. More were built, but each time they would fall again, and each time fewer would be built to replace them.
I could never be certain, but I might be in the very last power ship, on its last mission. I had not seen another ship in over a year, and the last outpost I knew had recently collapsed. The universe was dying, and I slowly reached over to touch the one bright button in my cockpit. It was time to end it all.
Or begin it again. The trio of scientists that I had rescued only a week ago had been excited about it. I could not remember seeing such excitement in nearly my entire life. The bleak and dimming universe laid its claim to our minds long ago. We were all fighting inevitable. Our stubbornness was keeping us alive, and little else. Hope was almost gone. Every visit of a power ship brought news of another lost outpost or colony, dying from lack of power or system failure. Hope was a forgotten thing, something we didn't even dare dream about.
These scientists were different. They tried to explain their theories, about the fabric of the universe and the structure of black holes, but it was too much for me. I was well educated; a necessity for a power ship driver, but the level of physics they were discussing was more than I could hope to comprehend. In the end, they resolved it to a simple point, they wanted to break down the very fabric of the universe and release all the energy stored in the black holes back into the universe. They explained that it would be much like the beginning of the universe, perhaps even a recreation.
They set about adjusting my ship to make their plans possible. I did not object. Even though their plans seemed far-fetched I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. I could survive off of the power stored in my ship and the food processors for the rest of my life, but I would be alone, or stuck with these three scientists and neither prospect seemed better than the strange idea they had planned.
Surprisingly, it did not take them long to make their adjustments. They had planned for this for a long time, with a power ship as their basis of their new device. With a full load of power and the push of a button I would certainly be ending my life, and possibly end the universe as well.
So now I sit.