Death is supposed to be the end of life as we know it, or could it be the starting point of a new life?
Professor Drysdale was mocked by fellow scientists in his beliefs, so much so that he left instructions that he was to be dispatched into space within his specially built rocket, upon his death.
In the depths of space, some twenty thousand kilometres from Earth, black in colour this metallic rocket, his new home, measuring two and a half metres in length, and one metre in diameter, contained the professor’s body.
As far back as the Pharaoh’s, man had sought a means that might preserve the dead against the ravages of time.
In his need to retain his body whole, the art of embalming, which came by way of the Egyptians, was a possibility. Time was the problem. How long would he be floating in space. The idea was dismissed, as bodies disintegrate into dust over time.
It was then, he reasoned it out logically, that any material substance, whether organic or inorganic origin, cast into the depths of space would exist indefinitely. In his mind, he visualised his dead body, floating in Earth’s atmosphere. He would remain in perfect preservation, until the day … the start of his new life!
Never would his body undergo decay, and never would his bones return to the dust of Earth from which all men originally came.
Would humanity cease to survive, and other life forms occupy our planet, until they too became extinct?
The once raging sun, had been reduced to a dull red ball covering a large expanse of space, edging nearer and nearer towards Earth. One day soon the two were destined to collide.
After all this time, would Drysdale’s body be preserved intact or merely a crumbled mound of dust?
Entering Earth’s solar system came a force of entities, as they did so Drysdale floated up from his tombed craft to join them. Eons had passed since the entities had visited this system.
The energy-based entities gathered around, the ruins of a gravity mine in this sector of space. Hundreds had descended upon the great structure, as they loomed in on the core. Here the central black hole’s gravity was so strong that light itself curved in closed orbits.
Other’s rushed past him, a dazzling storm orbiting the exhausted black hole.
After waking all these years later, only to find he had become an entity, left many questions to be answered.
Living out an indefinite life lasting millions of years; these explorers of the universe. This offered them a never-ending source of interest and discovery, on the various planets and systems on which they came upon.
The aged professor was now becoming more astute as to his condition. At first, it was only a mild, passive wonderment at his helplessness and the strange thoughts, which raced through his mind. Now he attempted to arouse himself from the lethargic state he found himself.
Quite suddenly his sight cleared, and what a surprise! Then it dawned on him, success; rescued from the clutches of death, itself.
However, he had not really died after all; only in the physical sense. It was then a horrible thought struck him! Was this life after death? On the other hand, was it an illusion of the mind?
One of the entities was asking him about the place whence he had come from. He did not know; his mind was in such turmoil. He found himself gazing out from the boundless depths of space across the cosmic void to a huge deathly looking planet. He Now he was sure that the planet could not be Earth – well not of the past, his times. None of the familiar continents, lay before his very eyes. Then he saw the great dull red ball of the dying sun. That was not the sun of his Earth. It had been brilliant during his life-time.
“Did you come from that planet?” the thought impulse came from the entity by his side.
“No,” he replied. “It could not be so.”
“So I died in the earthly sense; now my new life begins!” exclaimed Drysadale. “I have now attained unrivalled success.”
He then turned towards the entity. “How long have I been floating in space?”
“This being our first visit to your system in many eons, we can deduce it must have been over a million years ago, when you died.”
“So that was my earth at which I gazed upon,” mused Drysdale. “It is no wonder I did not recognise it. The topography has changed so much.”
“Many millions,” suggested the entity. “Suns of such size as this one do not cool in such a short time.”
“So who are you?” he suddenly asked, as more entities joined them.
“We are entities; we come from a universe many light years from here.”
“In our world we evolved, as in your world you gave birth to your young.”
“Is it now a dead world, as the planet has ceased rotating,” asked Drysdale.
“Of course, time has come to mean nothing to us, especially when we float from one system to the next,” observed one. “We never keep track of it on our expeditions.”
Landrax, considered to be the oldest of all entities, moved in on the professor, the newcomer who had attracted much attention.
Landrax reached for him, and Drysdale sensed the warm depths of companionship, and memory, and shared joy that lay beyond him. Depths waiting to swallow him up, to obliterate his questions.
He floated into the gravity well, passing through the thin walls of the tunnel, soon he found he was rising through the layers of the structure, and eventually emerging into space, where Landrax was there to greet him.
“What do you see now?” asked Landrax.
“Look harder,” he showed him how.
“There be a scattering of red and blue pinpoints, in space,” replied Drysdale.
“They be the remnants of stars,” replied Landrax.
Landrax told him about the Afterglow: that brief brilliant period when matter gathered briefly in clumps and burned by fusion light. It was in that era that humans rose to join us.
“This is the first gravity mine, built on the ruins of the primeval galaxy – the galaxy from which humans first emerged,” stated Landrax.
“The first ever galaxy?” asked Drysdale.
“But it was all a long time ago. The mine has become exhausted, and soon it will evaporate completely.” Suggested Landrax. “We come to see the mine for the last time, and you are the last human to be retrieved. According to our history – the last human retrieved, from the solar system containing the first gravity mine, would bring stability among the entities,” Landrax stated.
“Your future and our future is stretched out before you. Our minds will flow together in great rivers of consciousness. There is immortality to be had.”
As he gazed into the depths of space, he could make out the faintest of patterns: orange on black, in a mesh of neat triangles covering every area of space. It was a structure that spanned the universe.
“Is that what I see and understand when our minds flow together, Landrax?” asked Drysadle.
“What we see, and what we understand will be passed through our conscious thoughts, one to another as we travel from one system to another.
Landrax indicated to Drysdale. “As you will see when many are massed together, they produce a multi-coloured display of energy, soon you will learn how, if you stay with us.
A great loneliness seized him. Would he be happy among these entities from a far off world? They were kind and thoughtful towards his welfare. What better fate could he expect? Still a longing for, his own kind arose in him – the call of humanity. Nevertheless, humanity had long disappeared from Earth – millions of years ago.
Was it possible when he had been sent into outer space, that space had slowed down the decomposition of his body? Would it have been better to die than the existence that is now on offer to him?
“Free your mind, and come with us to visit other worlds – many of them are beautiful. You will then feel a great difference,” stated Landrax.
“Will you come?”
“I shall come. I shall come,” replied Drysdale with conviction in his voice.
Drysdale gazed into the depths of space, remembering the past, present and what lay before him – what path his life would be taking. An unbelievable chain of events had taken place. His new life with these alien life forms from space, offered him a life of eternity and boundless adventure.
A vague memory flashed into his perception. Earth had been full of life when he grew up, now all that remains is a dying planet.
He turned and studied what was left of Earth. The dying sun licked at the molten surface with flares igniting fires in the Northern Hemisphere. Flames leaped from the Earth to the Sun, and the Sun to the Earth.
Gravitational forces pulled the Earth apart, one piece at a time, after a while, Earth disappeared, consumed by the dying sun.
The entities bonded together with him for travel out of this system, heading for the stars and beyond.
“We have witnessed a death. Let us now witness a birth. A new universe awaits,” stated Landrax, as they sped out of the solar system.