My finger traced invisible lines on her skin. "What happened to your fire?" I asked.
"You don't need me to tell you how fire fades."
"I was sent away from the Land of the Fire-Blessed."
"Where, indeed. It was as black and cold as space itself."
"How did you escape? And do you ever think of going back home?"
"Escape is easy, my love. But coming back is always the hardest. This little fantasy is my only reprieve. I have no place to return to. No place except with you."
"If you had a chance to rekindle your fire, would you take it?"
She brought her hand down the length of my torso. Her eyes gleamed with the tragic desperation of twin supernovae, her smile, like the blade of a waning moon. "I already have."
In the year 16 of the (14 × 109)th era of the 143rd Incarnation of the Cosmos, a dark energy wave carrying the genomes of 10 sapiens-sapiens and an assortment of 50 other members of the homo genus began its maiden voyage across the universe. The wave, codenamed "Sabado 16," and aimed from the Capital of the Virgo Supercluster at 0° latitude and 137.37° longitude, traveled for half a quantum day before it was intercepted by Magnadisc's parabolic receptors. Likewise known as the Capital of the Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster, Magnadisc was a colossal waveport whose breadth equalled that of the Sol System. After the waveport had printed the genomes into corporeal form, I stepped out of my incubation pod, wet and naked, into a gigantic port, feeling like barely an hour had passed since our departure from Virgo. Fellow sapiens-sapiens acknowledged my presence and waved. I shyly nodded back. The silvery, bowl-shaped port, littered with thousands of incubation pods, was my first glimpse of a sector of space-time not limited to the Milky Way. Under the glare of the incalculable floodlights, I peered further into space, attempting to pinpoint home—a decidedly futile venture, for a single star, bigger and brighter than the rest, drowned out all other magnitudes with its impressive burning blue. That star, or rather, a tiny planetoid orbiting that very star, was the reason the passengers of the Sabado 16 were on this voyage.
As we waited for our luggage's molecular data to arrive, the port attendants, members of a different homo genus and therefore still humanoid, gifted us with new clothing. I knew not the local terminology for such apparel but they reminded me of traditional balukas back home, only decorated in the signature style of this region: weaved with threads of light to form patterns that varied in hue and luminosity depending on the gazer's proximity.
Once everyone's belongings had been downloaded and accounted for, we were then led to a bird that zoomed us out of the port's glittering enclosure and into an even more spacious area that looked to be as boundless as the plains of a verdant planet. Over moors, lakes, and towns, and under an artificial daytime we flew, before reaching an upright vessel, tall as any tower, poised like an ancient power line on a patch of dirt in a wide, grassy plain. Contrary to what I was expecting, the vessel's structure was sleek and spindly. This vessel would be the one to take us all the way to The Lover of Ma-Biru, the rocky globe orbiting the eponymous blue supergiant star Ma-Biru. The Lover and its host star were a lightyear away from Magnadisc in classical mechanics, but this gigantic quantum vessel perched lithely in front of us would need a day at most to travel anywhere within that distance.
YOU ARE READING
The Lover of Ma-BiruScience Fiction
"Yes, a sabbatical. That was what brought me here, though for not the same reasons as everyone else. Excitement was the least of my concerns, inevitable it may be. I have embarked on this journey to one of the most dangerous habitable places in the...